Types of Wood Flooring

by Lawton Brothers | Aug 24, 2021

Before installing a wood floor, its important to know the various types – laminate, solid hardwood, engineered hardwood, bamboo, and cork – and their pros and cons 

Laminate

Laminate is a cost-effective option that provides substantial durability. Made by compressing layers of fiberboard together and placing an image of wood grain (or tile or stone) overtop, these planks snap together and can even be laid over other flooring. 

Depending on the brand and style, you can find laminate to match the look of real wood. However, the areas where they connect will wear over time and moisture will permanently damage the planks. 

Solid Wood

As the name suggests, this flooring is made from a piece of wood and cut with grooves so the pieces can lay together. Typically, these planks will be 18-20 mm thick and, depending on the species of wood, will vary in hardness. Wood floors can be sanded and refinished several times to restore its original beauty – thicker floors having more depth to sand down and refinish. Harder floors are less susceptible to dings and scratches, meaning it will need to be refinished less often throughout the course of its lifetime. 

Solid wood can swell from moisture and shrink as it dries, which can cause problems and alter the appearance of the flooring. This is the most expensive option for wood flooring and is considerably complex and difficult to install. 

Engineered Wood

One of the most popular wood flooring options, engineered hardwood is made with 3-4 layers of wood pasted together with a real wood surface on the top layer allowing it to be sanded and refinished a number of times. Due to its combination of multiple layers, the construction of engineered wood produces a more stable product that is less prone to temperature fluctuations. 

Engineered wood flooring comes in a variety of styles and is more attractive than laminate, while significantly cheaper than solid wood floors. 

Bamboo

Bamboo flooring is technically not wood at all! Rather, bamboo is a grass that is common in tropical Asia. Due to its roots in the tropics, bamboo is extremely resistant to moisture and grows exponentially faster than traditional hardwood trees. Additionally, bamboo is softer than traditional wood, reducing noise and pain from walking on them. 

The only downsides to bamboo are its cost and durability. Since it comes from China, there are importing costs that significantly contribute to it being more expensive than solid wood. While it is a durable flooring option, it is more susceptible to scratches than other wood floors. 

Cork

Cork flooring comes from the bark of oak trees, which are grown throughout Spain, Portugal, Algeria, Italy, Morocco, and Tunisia. Being made from the bark rather than the wood itself, cork flooring is extremely environmentally friendly and sustainable. Cork is also soft, which absorbs shock and reduces noise. Additionally, cork is hypo-allergenic and resistant to insects. 

The main drawback to cork flooring is its cost. The cost of the material, import, and installation quickly adds up. 

We’ll Help Pave the Way

There’s a lot to consider when selecting the right wood flooring for your business. Knowing more about their characteristics and cost can help make the choice easier, but of course there are bound to be more questions. When those questions arise, give us a call at: 800.432.0813. One of our trained professionals will be happy to help!

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