New and Improved Options in Flooring

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020 by Starcom Intern

Hardwood has been a mainstay of flooring in customers’ homes for decades. Now customers have a wide variety of cheaper alternatives to the traditional hardwood flooring that still look like wood such as: engineered wood, laminate, improved vinyl, and wood-style tile.

Engineered Wood

If solid hardwood isn’t an option for the customer, then typically the first alternative they look at is engineered wood. Qualified Remodeler describes engineered wood as, “A top, veneer layer of solid wood attached to a base that is generally thin, crossed layers of plywood that has been fused together. This flooring is usually less expensive than regular hardwood because it uses mostly plywood.”

This flooring offers installation benefits as well. Engineered wood has more stability and the planks are shipped pre-finished, with a click-in installation system.



Laminate is another more affordable option than regular hardwood. Qualified Remodeler defines laminate as, “Layered products with a moisture-barrier base topped by a core of, typically, medium-density fiberboard. Then a high-resolution image creates the wood grain appearance and is fused together with a melamine resin. A clearcoat wear layer on top can include additional melamine resin for added protection.”

Over the last 10 to 15 years, manufacturers have made great strides with laminate flooring. The planks are now completely waterproof and have a click-to-assemble system similar to the engineered wood. The finished floors are more waterproof than the individual planks because when they are assembled, water doesn’t have any access to get in and create damage.



Vinyl has upgraded significantly within the last 15 years. It used to be used for builder-grade kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. Now, the material has been made into two categories: luxury and engineered vinyl. “Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) is comprised of a thin layer of virgin vinyl that’s topped with a high-resolution image and then covered with a wear layer that offers strong protection against damage. Engineered vinyl tile (EVT) adds a core layer that provides added strength to the flooring.”- Luxury vinyl tile is best used in gathering areas and any service areas in the home, while EVT is best used in dining room areas. Engineered vinyl tile is generally less expensive compared to luxury vinyl tile.

Vinyl is another affordable alternative to hardwood; their visual appeal has become very attractive to homeowners in recent years. This flooring option can blur the lines between materials such as vinyl, porcelain, and ceramic tile. It has similar design and wear layers to other vinyl products but the core is magnesium based. A magnesium base adds stability and durability, which is perfect for high-moisture areas application.


Wood-Style Tile

Ceramic and porcelain tile are inherently waterproof, which makes them resistant to mold, as well as a sustainable flooring option. Wood’s natural aesthetic is becoming more and more popular in ceramic and porcelain offerings. With the newest advances in digital printing and structural technologies, these floorings create a wood-like feel that is authentic, and it makes it hard for customers to tell the difference between installed tile and hardwood. The grout color should be a match or slightly darker color to go along with the tile. If you want to select a darker color, try to match the grout with the darkest vein in the wood.

Vinyl, porcelain and ceramic flooring have been recognized as best placed in bath, kitchens, and any other high-moisture areas. However, wood-style tile is making its way into areas of the home that used to only be used for carpet or hardwood. Wood-like planks are extremely visible in today’s trends. One of the more popular choices is light browns infused with grey, as well as time-worn, lightly weathered, or distressed hardwood. This tile comes in planks that emulate the look of real hardwood.

wood style tile

All of the options discussed are cheaper than traditional hardwood flooring. They will still add a great amount of resale value to your home, so don’t be afraid to stray away from hardwood. Engineered wood, laminate, vinyl, and wood-style have seen tremendous improvements which make them very viable alternatives.


Source: Qualified Remodeler, July/August 2020 Edition


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