Hardwood floors are beautiful, warm and timeless, but they can also be expensive and require a good amount of maintenance (think scratches from pets, kid traffic and water damage).
If you don’t want to splurge on real hardwood floors or you just want something a little different, the new alternatives to wood floors are hard to beat in price, maintenance and looks.
Sears carries options in laminate, wood-look plank tiles and luxury vinyl tile (LVT).
1. Low-Cost Laminate
At the entry level for price, laminate is a great way to go.
“It’s the introduction to wood-look floors without the cost,” says Dave Lincon, a kitchen and bath expert for Sears Home Services.
This type of flooring has come a long way, Lincon says, “and with new manufacturing processes in place, there are also higher-end laminate choices with deep embossing, texture and lots of character in colors ranging from grays to cherry to mahogany.”
Laminate wears well (warranties can run from five to 25 years or longer), but you don’t want to use it in wet areas because it’s a wood product. Lincon suggests installing laminate floors in a family room, for example.
2. Wood-Look Tile
One of the hottest options on the market today is wood-look ceramic or porcelain tile. It is also known as faux bois (French for “fake wood”).
It’s incredibly durable, Lincon says. “You can get a nice, sleek look with high-end planking patterns. It comes in large-format 6-by-48-inch planks and has about a 50-year life expectancy.”
The latest technology helps create colors and patterns that weren’t possible a few years ago, he adds.
While the product itself is less expensive than real wood, the labor costs for installation are about the same, Lincon explains.
“You’ve got to glue it down, mortar and then come back over it with a grout — there are more steps than you’d have in just nailing down wood planks,” he says.
But it’s very low maintenance and is perfect for rooms that might get wet, like the bathroom.
3. Luxury Vinyl Tile
When you hear the word “vinyl,” if you’re not thinking old-school records, you’re envisioning grandma’s kitchen.
LVT is a whole different story, though, Lincon says. It’s a bit more expensive than ceramic, but it takes less labor to install. It’s durable and good for wet areas.
“You don’t have to worry about LVT deteriorating,” he adds. “It’s considered a light commercial-grade product.”
The new flooring choices you have just might floor you.