Wood Flooring Choices Made Easy,
or at Least Easier

Wood flooring is so appealing that just about every remodeling project includes it in at least one room, and often in several. It creates a timeless, warm ambience that is irresistible. But, wood flooring's popularity has created a flood of marketing messages that can make it difficult to decide what type would be best for your home.

There are essentially three choices in wood flooring: hardwood, engineered wood, and laminates. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, and understanding them will help you determine the best choice for your particular project.


This is solid wood, the same as any piece of lumber that is cut from a tree. It typically comes in pieces that are unfinished or pre-finished. The former has the advantage of allowing you to stain it to your particular preference, but it must also be sealed before you can walk on it. That staining and sealing process adds to turnaround time. Pre-finished hardwood, on the other hand, can withstand foot traffic as soon as it is installed.

All hardwood flooring must be nailed to a wood sub-floor, which adds to the cost and installation time. It's usually a good idea to have hardwood flooring installed by professionals. Hardwood flooring can also be prone to scratches and denting, but because it is solid wood, that damage can be repaired by sanding and refinishing. Nonetheless, it is important to choose the wood species carefully for its hardness, to make it as compatible as possible with the use of the room in which it is installed. Though hardwood is more expensive than other wood flooring options, its ability to be sanded and refinished means it will last for decades and maintain its original beauty. Its main drawback is that it will not withstand moisture. There are some areas in which it should never be installed, such as basements or bathrooms.

Engineered Wood Flooring

This type of flooring comprises layers of plywood with a top layer of hardwood. The top layer is fairly thin, but it can be sanded, perhaps twice. However, deep scratches and dents cannot typically be sanded out.

Engineered flooring offers a variety of installations options. Thinner varieties can be nailed down and the thicker versions can be installed as floating flooring.

One of engineered flooring's advantages is that it can withstand applications in which it is subjected to light moisture. And engineered flooring may be less expensive than solid hardwoods.

Laminate Flooring

This flooring is not "real" wood in the same sense as hardwood or engineered wood, but it does contain some wood fibers and appears so realistic that it can fool you even when you look at it with a magnifying glass.

The typical laminate flooring material is made of resin-infused paper on top of a wood-chip composite. The top resin layer is an amazing simulation of wood, is scratch-resistant, and it works well in moist environments such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. Laminate is a great, cost-effective alternative to other wood flooring options. It is also very easy to install. Remember, though, it cannot be sanded and can be somewhat slippery when wet.

Choosing the right wood flooring for you is an important choice when it comes to remodeling and renovating your home. Be sure to select a professional flooring expert with years of experience. Find a company who is highly recommended and one which puts your needs and requirements first. Your new wood floor will beautify your home for the life of your home!

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