Wood Flooring Choices: Laminate, Natural and Engineered

December 7, 2021

A home’s flooring is one of its defining features and while carpeting can be lush and inviting, hardwoods are warm and appealing in a completely different way. And if you’re buying a new home with flooring options, or refinishing a basement and wondering what to consider, here are a few facts about the many wood flooring choices.

 Laminate Wood Floors

Laminate and vinyl flooring imitates real wood. It is made from composite wood pressed together at high temperatures. The image of hardwood is place on the composite to form the laminate. The materials themselves cost $3 to $7 per square foot, including installation. The average lifespan for laminate flooring is between 10 and 30 years, and unlike engineered hardwoods depends on the quality of the flooring, whether it was properly installed and the amount of traffic it receives.

The benefits of laminate flooring are that it is more scratch-resistant than real wood, and if a plank does become damaged, you can easily replace that board without ruining the rest of your floor in the process. Laminates also resist wear and tear and moisture and are easier to clean.

If you’re finishing your basement and want to look over some of the best choices for flooring that can be installed over concrete, check out these recommendations made by the independent researchers at The Spruce. The array of textures, colors and look-alike is plentiful, and lots of these options are available at the nearby Home Depot and Lowe’s stores, or through Lumber Liquidators, where we secured many of these blog images.

Engineered-Wood Floors

Engineered flooring has a consistent finish with no knots, bubbles or blemishes and you can walk on them the same day as the installation. And more often than not, the average consumer cannot tell the difference by looking at a finished floor. With lots of benefits there is much to like about them:

Installs over concrete
Multiple installation methods
Less sensitive to moisture
Improves a home’s value
Easy to finish and can be refinished
Radiant-heating compatible

Engineered hardwoods last 10 to 50 years, and there are only a few cons, and a lot of those downsides depend on the construction quality of the engineered hardwoods. If the flooring is thick enough, you can refinish your engineered floors when they start to look scratched or dull or change colors. Choose wisely!

 Natural Hardwood Floors

Hardwoods come in all sorts of beautiful grain patterns, plank sizes, textures and types. Today’s solid wood floors are constructed of planks made from a single piece of wood with tongue and groove edges and can be delivered pre-finished or unfinished for the floor installer to sand and stain. And while hardwoods have drawbacks and cost a bit more than say engineered wood flooring (and a lot more than laminates!), they look and feel like the upgrade they are.

Hardwood flooring works with all styles of decorating, from traditional and industrial to rustic and modern and is available in several types of woods of varying hardness and varieties. Narrowest are strip (1.5 to 2.75 inches), then plank (3 to 8 inches) and finally parquet – individual pieces laid down in a geometric pattern. Parquet was popular in the 60s and 70s, and some designers say it’s making a comeback. We’re not 100 percent convinced. It reminds us of the flooring in mid-century apartments in Manhattan, along with their radiators, mini-kitchens and noisy neighbors.

Hardwood materials can run from $3 a square foot for unfinished planks at a home improvement store (oak, cherry hickory and walnut to name a few), to more than $12 a square foot for exotic woods like (Australian Cypress, Brazilian Cumaru and Ipe and Siberian Tigerwood). Refinishing wood floors – no matter which variety of wood, is eventually necessary can cost between $2 and $4 per square foot. And short of laying down area rugs on every inch refinishing is just a fact of life after a few to several years of scuffing and scratching, especially in high-traffic areas. You can expect to refinish your hardwoods at some point over the life of the floor – and remember it takes three to five days for refinishing, and another four days before you can put down rugs and furniture.

Floors and More in Southshore

The builders crafting new homes in the master-planned community of master-planned community of Southshore offer a variety of styles, materials and choices in new-home construction. Check out the brand new homes from Taylor Morrison, Richmond American Homes and Toll Brothers – and coming soon — Century Communities. Life at the Lake is not just exclusive and packed with amenities – you’ll find the perfect ranch or two-story design, priced between the $400s and the $700s.