Hardwood floors have a very timeless and elegant look to them and often, add value to a home.  While style and color trends tend to change for hardwood, the use of it still carries a lot of cache.  If you’re looking to install wood floors in your home, you might find that there are so many options available that it can be overwhelming!  And it used to be that if you wanted hardwood floors you had to buy, well….hardwood floors, of course!  Not true these days!  There are several different types of flooring that can give you the look of hardwood without actually using wood, so we’ll take a look at each one below.




Solid Hardwood

{via GoHaus}
{via GoHaus}

Solid hardwood is pretty much exactly what it sounds like.  The boards are made from a single, solid piece of lumber typically ranging from 3/4″ to 7/16″.  Solid hardwood is available as both pre-finished or raw.  Additionally, given its thickness, it can be refinished after years of wear and tear, giving it a very long life. Since it is a natural wood product, it expands and contracts with humidity and as such, room for movement needs to be accounted for when installing.  Additionally, it is generally not recommended for areas that attract moisture, such as bathrooms, basements, or even concrete subfloors.


Engineered Wood

{via GoHaus}
{via GoHaus}

Engineered wood is also considered real hardwood because the top layer of the floor IS real wood.  It is made up of three of more layers of either high-density fiberboard {HDF} or medium-density fiberboard {MDF} with a veneer of real wood bonded to the top.  Each manufacturer of engineered floors has their own method for creating the individual planks that they feel gives their boards maximum strength and durability.  Additionally, manufacturers have different thicknesses of the veneer, some of which can tolerate one refinishing and others that cannot be refinished at all for risk of sanding down to the MDF core.  Since the top layer is a veneer, engineered floors are only available pre-finished, but because of the way in which they are manufactured, they are more heat and moisture resistant than solid hardwood,, and thus can be installed in a wider variety of rooms.  Additionally, they are less expensive than solid hardwood.


Laminate Wood Floor

{via Pergo}
{via Pergo}

Laminate flooring is a synthetic material designed to look like real wood with a non-resilient {or hard} top surface.  What’s interesting is that one of the layers is actually a picture layer designed to look like whatever species of wood it is replicating!  Underneath the photograph layer is the inner core, constructed of HDF.  Laminate {Pergo is a well-known example} can often have a hollow sound when you walked on it though, but whereas laminate used to look very fake, but modern laminate has become quite sophisticated and stylish.  Given its synthetic composition, it is more durable than real wood {both solid and engineered} and a fraction of the price, although it still isn’t suitable for wet areas and doesn’t quite carry the same cache as real wood.


Luxury Vinyl

Luxurary Plank Vinyl via Armstrong
{Empire Walnut Raven via Armstrong}

Luxury vinyl is basically an upgraded, thicker version of vinyl flooring that comes in “planks” to help mimic real wood.  It is very cost-effective and is also waterproof and therefore, suitable for damp areas, unlike wood or laminate flooring.  Vinyl is a resilient surface, meaning that it has some give when you walk on it but the downside is that as such, it can be dinged and is not able to be repaired or filled like wood can be.



{Wood tile via Mannington}
{Wood tile via Mannington}

You can now get the look of wood in a highly durable ceramic or porcelain tile suitable for all areas of the home.  It is the most durable of the wood floor options, but can be cold on the feet given that its composition.  It is also more time-consuming to install and so installation costs can often be more expensive than they are for laminate or vinyl.


Modern technology has given us lots of great options for every price range and every room.  So, if you want the look of wood in your home, consider all the options before making your decision and choose the one that best meets your aesthetic, location, durability, & price needs!


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  1. Thanks for the great share about Home Design! It is much more convenient if you have a home more energy efficient, comfortable and safe to live in.

  2. Philip Nance says:

    Good post! Choosing the right floor can make the appearance of a room. Color, pattern and construction of floor must be considered when choosing hardwood flooring. You can measure a floor for yourself or seek the assistance of a professional hardwood supplier form https://plus.google.com/106323115684925403520 who can advise on the best type of carpet to use.

  3. I love hardwood floors. So much easier to maintain and so much cleaner and germ-free than old fashioned carpets. I would never go back to rugs again. They feel nice on a winter’s day, but that’s it.

  4. Wood like to suggest one, Kebony Wood from kebony, engineered hardwood and a sustainable environment-friendly alternative to tropical hardwood. Hope I am not too late to give suggestion, it will be a best option.

  5. sisi lalala says:

    Thanks for your sharing! Good post!

  6. Linda Nowlin says:

    I really appreciate this information. I used to have real wood floors and just bought a new home and installed engineered wood. I am so frustrated with my engineered wood floor. It was the most expensive floor ever! It came with a bad finish and now it is scratching and chipping. Before it was installed it was very, very sticky. They tried mopping it, but that just smeared the stickiness. They cleaned it with mineral oil and it is not sticky, but it is not wearing well. We never wear shoes in our home and it is just the two of us. So disappointing. The manufacturer and the person who sold this to us refuse to do anything about it. Anyone have any ideas? I am ready to call a lawyer and this will cost us even more money.

    1. User Avatar Tidbits&Twine says:

      Hi Linda – I’m sorry for the delay in responding and SO SORRY to hear of the trouble you’ve had! I don’t think your situation is typical and I’m disappointed to hear that neither the manufacturer nor the store will replace your floor for you. Do you know if your floor has a residential warranty? If so, they need to honor it! Did you call the manufacturer yourself? If not and you had the store call, try calling them yourself and see if you can get a customer service representative to help you. That’s just a horribly disappointing situation!!

  7. I have 3/4″ red oak wood floors, they have been installed for the 34 years we’ve been in our home and they have been refinished 2 times. They look and wear well. Our installer laid a layer of vinyl moisture barrier and we’ve never had trouble with cupping. I love the alternatives though. If we ever move we may not find hard wood in the budget! :-)

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