For many decades, hardwood has been the gold standard in flooring for homeowners and designers alike. But as lovely as wood floors are, they are not the most durable, and they are costly to install and maintain.
Laminate Flooring – Laminates are made from layers of particleboard wood with a sealed photographic layer on top. Installation is the same as wood floor installation, with each board joined through a tongue and groove joint. They are popular alternatives because they are similar to hardwood in how they look and how they feel underfoot. The price can vary from cost-effective to high-end, and you’ll typically get what you pay for.
Engineered Wood Flooring – Like laminate flooring, engineered wood flooring has multiple layers, typically of plywood. But instead of a photographic layer on top, there is a thin slice of real wood. It won’t last for generations, like the real thing, but it can be sanded a time or two, and if it’s well-cared-for, it won’t need to be replaced for at least 20 years. It needs to be cared for as you would care for wood floors.
Wood Tile Flooring – Wood tile flooring is exactly what it sounds like – tile that looks like wood—and it’s hugely popular because it is almost indistinguishable from real wood. It is durable, environmentally sustainable, and less expensive than hardwood, laminate, or engineered wood flooring. But it feels a bit different underfoot, and don’t drop anything heavy on it because tile can crack or chip, although it is much easier to replace a tile than a slat of hardwood.
Vinyl Wood Flooring – One of the most common types of fake wood flooring is vinyl—a synthetic material made of 100% plastic that can look just like wood. It is one of the most cost-effective types of flooring and is extremely resistant to moisture, making it ideal for bathrooms and laundry rooms.