There are only one-million options and you only have a week to select the one for you, to get it done before the holidays…am I right? I totally understand and I have several clients in the same predicament as we speak.
Let me help you out:
Real wood floors: Real wood floors used to require a wood subfloor to nail the wood into. If you do not have existing real wood floors these could be extensive to install. Recently, they have made a solid wood floor that is a glue down, it is pretty expensive though. However, you can select the type of wood grain you like, the stain, and you will get that real wood warmth and sound.
Pros: They will feel, sound, and look like real wood! You can really customize them to your personal liking as far as finish and color go.
Cons: Wood is a soft, absorbent material. Every day wear and tear will be inevitable, and water damage will be irreversible. It would be hard to replace a few boards to match the existing floors since they were all finished at the same time.
Engineered wood floors: These are very similar to real wood floors however they are much more cost-effective. You will just need to “float” the slab or make sure the sub floor is perfectly level. Then, you glue these floors down. They look most like real wood because the top layer is real wood, it is just pre-finished.
Pros: It is wood, so you are getting the real wood look with a bit more durability. There are one-million different options to choose from. They sound like wood floors when you walk on them. They are also easier to replace/ repair if there is damage than real wood floors.
Cons: They are still wood so you will see scratches and there can be water damage. However, the finish is more durable because is it “baked on” verses just being applied like a normal stain and poly.
Laminate wood-look floors: Laminate is actually a picture of wood. So they are not wood floors. They make a different sound when you walk on them. They can be glue down or they can be snap down floors. You would still need to float the floors to make sure the sub surface is perfectly level.
Pros: Sky is the limit when it comes to the finish. You can get a vintage reclaimed barn wood look, or you can get a shiny, formal finish. Laminates also come in different colors as well. Laminate flooring is versatile and extremely cost effective. It is very difficult to scratch these floors. They are easy to replace if they are damaged without having to replace the entire floor.
Cons: Water is a huge threat to laminate floors. They will bubble with water damage. Some people do not like the “clicking” sound they make when you walk on them. Laminate is not an absorbent material so sound does bounce off these floors more than wood.
Linoleum wood-look floors: Not to be confused with laminate, linoleum is a rubbery material. They are glue down floors that are very water resistant. These floors are glued directly to the sub-floor. They also come in many different colors and finishes. Historically, they have been installed in mostly commercial spaces, but lately with the flooding they are being installed in residential spaces as well.
Pros: They are cost effective, very versatile, and durable floors. They do not make a “clicking” sound when you walk on them. They make some pretty incredible wood-look linoleum floors these days.
Cons: Because they are mostly used for commercial spaces they don’t feel as homey at first. They have a texture that some people are not fond of because it does not resemble wood to the touch.
Tile wood-look floors: Lastly, but not least are the ceramic tile floors that they have made to look like wood. This floor has all the benefits of a tile floor. It installs just like tile as well.
Pros: It is the most durable wood-look there is. They are also very versatile and allow for many different styles to implemented. They cannot be scratched, and water damage is also not an issue.
Cons: There is a grout line, they do not sound like wood floors, they will bounce sound around more than wood, and some may say they are not as comfortable to live on.
There you have it! The fast, simplified version of the wood-look options.