Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Hardwood Flooring and Alternatives that could Save you Money

Do you love the natural look and the visual warmth of wood flooring ? Let's view some alternatives before making that next big purchase ! 

Those of us familiar with hardwood, know how this natural flooring concept can truly add a whole other dimension and texture to your flooring. The truth is, when it comes to design and decor ideas, what was once considered old and antiquated is now emerging once again as the trend in " Home Design ". 

With that been said, if you are looking into renovating your flooring and you currently have well kept carpeting in the home that you may have inherited from your parents and or grandparents per say ! you may first want to take a good look at what may be hiding beneath

Many homeowners of whom have made decisions to renovate and or remodel their homes, have found pleasant hidden surprises of hardwood flooring lying beneath their dingy old carpets. Now that you have unveiled this current home trend treasure, you will have to look into refinishing and bringing it back to life. Nevertheless this is a topic for another post at another time. 

In this short post we will simply show you some of the hardwood flooring alternatives that could save you money and what you may expect to find when you visit your nearest local home improvement store. 

Note: When considering these alternatives and moisture and or water damage is a concern, you need to pay close attention to the overall structure and built of these options. Knowing this will be of great aid in making the best informed decision, hence saving you money in the long run. 

Below we will now introduce to you some styles that are commonly found

Example of laminate wood-look tile
Example of laminate wood-look tile joint
Above are some examples of some laminate options.Laminate is very durable and is a very affordable option to real wood. The pieces are digitally recreated to imitate the real wood grain images, therefore delivering a great alternative.

The Anatomy of the Flooring

Laminate options are more realistic and durable today as to when they first were introduced to the market. 
The top layer of each slab is coated with resin and aluminum oxide, both of which when cured properly deliver are very durable,strong and  scratch resistant surface. 

Laminate films are usually attached to a backboard, mainly particle board of 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. 

Keep in Mind   

Laminates are engineered materials used to cover the particle board backing.
Particle boards may well indeed be very strong in structure when uncompromised, nevertheless extreme moisture may cause the board to swell and lose its integrity. 

Examples of hardwood tiles
Examples of hardwood tiles grain
Examples of hardwood tiles joint

Above are options for your good old hardwood flooring.Hardwood flooring are more aesthetically natural and or more organically appealing to the eye. As you can see here, the 1/2 inch planks are more fibrous than that of the former laminates mentioned prior. Think of a sheet of Plywood that you'll normally find at the home improvement store. 

These sheets are roughly 1/16 of an inch in thickness and are glued to each other creating the desired overall width of the planks.     

Two types of Hardwood seen today
Natural hardwood of distinct varieties have long been used and come from traditional solid species of trees such as oak,cherry,maple,walnut among other.

Most of the hardwood you see in today's markets are Engineered Hardwood.These type of options allow for more versatility, innovative colors and surface texture. Keeping this is mind, such process allow the consumer to worry less about moisture and severe temperature fluctuations in your space.   

Keep in Mind 

If you are placing your flooring in an area of possible moisture, dampness, or prone to these possibilities, you may want to steer clear and consider the alternative. 

Example of Vinyl wood-look tiles
Example of Vinyl wood-look tiles joint area

Above are some vinyl flooring options. Vinyl plank is a synthetic cousin of linoleum and is a great viable option if you are looking for a product that would resist moisture areas, not to mention cost effective. 
Luxury vinyl floors are durable and scratch resistant, installs easily and requires little maintenance. 

Because of its synthetic engineered materials, vinyl is versatile comes very close to having the feel and subtle texture of real hardwood flooring.

Keep in Mind

Great alternative for below-grade installations - basements, where dampness is usually common. Also a great for areas where over radiant heating systems which tend to dry out real wood, causing the boards to     

Example of wood-look porcelain tiles
Example of wood-look porcelain tiles grain and rings
Example of wood-look porcelain tiles backing

Above is another great viable option in ceramic wood look hardwood tiles. This closeup look, give you an idea of how well engineered these tiles are, demonstrating the wood grains and even the rings you will normally find in the natural wood.

Not all wood-like tiles are equal 

Graphical Repeat
Each wood-look tile has a picture printed on its surface. Hence, most tiles only carry a few printed variants which means after every fews tiles you will end up with a repeat of the previous pattern. 
This lack of variation will tend to diminish the natural and or organic look and feel of real wood knots,grains or rings in more detail. 
However, when considering this option and you truly are looking for an impacting organic effect, consider a high end option of the wood look tiles. A high end option will give you upwards of 100 variants in screens-faces and pictures,hence giving you a more effortless natural look and feel to the real thing.  

Wood-Look tiles-Ceramic Vs. Porcelain
If you are choosing to go with tiles, get acquainted with the variations in quality.To make a long story short as they say, porcelain wood-look tiles are quickly becoming the norm and most popular option out there. 

Tipping Points 
High level porcelain tiles have much higher breakage point, this makes it very desirable.
when dropping something on porcelain, it's not the porcelain you will need to worry about!
Porcelain is denser and much more impervious, which makes it better for high traffic areas and more resistant to fluid passing through it. This is sure to save you money in the long run, in the case there was to be one of those misfortunes in life with a water heater malfunction and or any water infiltration of some sort.   

Price per square foot is also quite less than that of your natural hardwood. This point alone is one of my personal favorites !  
Keep in Mind 
Please beware of companies that advertise tiles as porcelain when in actuality it is simply a white body ceramic. This is an unethical practice, but it happens quite often.

Note: One of the important things to know is that all porcelain is ceramic but not all ceramic is porcelain. Conversely, porcelain is ceramic with a low water absorption rate due to a much denser body. 

If this statement just opened up a whole new can of worms per say !  
We have placed a great article by BuildDirect [source:non-sponsored]that should give you a better insight on how are porcelain and ceramic tiles made    

Below we have placed a short video of our trip to the local home improvements store for a little up close and personal look at these wood-look tiles. Hope this will give you some insight as to what to expect when making the best choice for "YOUR" Space Made Perfect...

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