Today there are so many options to choose from when it comes to flooring and technology is only making the choices better. We’re all familiar with engineered hardwood and tile, but laminate has come a long way in the past few years. Now, laminates can replicate the same hardwood floor your neighbor has- but at a much lower price.
Laminate is made with real wood: Wood fibers are used to create a core board. Then the core board is backed with melamine to provide stability and moisture resistance, and topped with the “decorative layer.” The decorative layer gives the laminate its beautiful, natural-hardwood look. It’s essentially a high definition photo of beautiful hardwood.
One of the major benefits of laminate is the cost. It’s considerably less expensive than engineered hardwood. It’s also very durable and versatile, coming in a variety of colors and styles.
And now there’s another new kid on the block: luxury vinyl.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to tour a vinyl flooring manufacturing facility. Boy, what a great experience! It’s the same sheet vinyl we’re all familiar with, but with the amazing advances in technology, manufacturers can literally print high-definition images onto the vinyl. They can even emboss it to add texture, giving it the look and feel of hardwood with the moisture resistance of vinyl. I was able to watch a sheet vinyl being produced from beginning to end. It’s rolled out on huge rollers and sent through multiple print and embossing stations before having the wear layer applied and going through a rigorous inspection process. Thousands of feet of sheet vinyl rolled by on our tour. It was truly amazing to witness.
Sheet vinyl is fiberglass cushion-backed sheet flooring that is glued directly to the sub-floor. These days, designs are amazingly sophisticated—grouted tile, wood plank, stone—with their trendy colors and styling, they look beautiful as well as functional.
Luxury vinyl comes in tile or planks. LVT is a luxury vinyl product that looks like stone or ceramic tile, complete with gorgeous natural colors and surface texture that feels like the real thing. Some styles are even made to be installed with grout. LVP is luxury vinyl flooring that looks like wood planks, with gorgeous coloring from a variety of different types of wood. Surface textures are often included to create the look of hand scraping or embossing, which only heightens the realism.
One benefit of vinyl is that it can be installed in areas where moisture may be an issue. It’s also very durable while providing a warmth that you may not achieve with the very popular wood-look tiles. Some people say that laminate has a hollow sound which is not the case for luxury tile.
So if you have been considering wood but have concerns regarding cost, your active family and pets, or the locations you want to install it, a laminate or luxury vinyl product may be a great solution for your lifestyle.