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 Home Services offers many options in engineered hardwood, wood-look plank tiles and luxury vinyl tile (LVT).
1. Engineered Hardwood
Engineered flooring has the look of real wood at a smaller price tag, and is designed to withstand normal wear and tear.
It’s manufactured from many layers of wood, topped with an attractive veneer available in different wood grains and colors. Because the grain in each layer runs perpendicular to the next layer, engineered hardwood doesn’t expand and contract as the humidity changes.
“Sears Home Services offers engineered hardwood flooring that has a water-resistant core and a sealant on the surface, so it resists damage from spills and is easy to clean,” says Dave Lincon, a remodeling product expert with Sears Home Services. “It also has an attached pad to reduce noise and add cushioning.”
Because engineered hardwood resists shrinking and expanding, and because it has a waterproof core, it can be installed in moisture-prone basements — solid hardwoods cannot.
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.
“The installers first glue it down, mortar it and then apply 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’s easier 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.”