Choices for your new floors

Wood vs. Laminate

Wood and laminate happen to be the two of the most popular types of flooring among builders and homeowners. Sometimes the difference between the two can be rather hard to spot. While wood flooring is so named because it is actual wood, laminate is actually a type of technology that makes floors look like real wood. Based on their manner of manufacture, there are advantages and disadvantages of going with either one.

Price and Aesthetics:

The look and feel of wood on the floor reminds people of the natural wonders that comprise the forest. Moreover, there is a variety of floors to choose from, since wood comprises a wide range of species. It is a look and feel that laminate flooring—comprising multiple wood layers of material covered by a plastic film that has an image of hardwood—cannot quite replicate. In fact, in some cases—where the material is really cheap and has artificial looking wood grain textures—the lamination looks ugly. Even though laminate is not as “natural” as wood, it is considerably less expensive. Since wood flooring is made of actual wood, it tends to be twice as expensive as laminate.

Durability:

Over time, floors show wear and tear due to the traffic load from people walking on them. Laminate flooring has the advantage here, since it consists of compressed wood. The pressed layers make it less susceptible to moisture, scratching, and wear and tear. On the other hand, wood flooring is not as resistant to heavy traffic; the more feet it receives, the quicker it deteriorates. Also, wood can easily get scratched, and it is not a good absorber of moisture.

Maintenance and Repair:

To keep it in the best shape possible over time, floors need to be cleaned regularly. Laminate flooring is comparatively easy to clean; all that is needed are basic cleaning tools: brooms, mops, wipes, and cloths. Wood flooring, on the other hand, requires a little more delicate care. Homeowners must buy cleaning agents that are specifically manufactured for hardwood cleaning. Using just any cleaning product—such as detergent, universal cleaners or furniture polish—can damage, scratch or dull the floor, thus shortening its lifespan. However, when it comes to repairs, wood flooring can be restored with sanding and refinishing out perfections. In fact, wood flooring is known to last for up to 80 years without repair or replacement. Laminate floors do not repair as easily, since it consists of different layers kept together; the lifespan is generally half of that of wood flooring.

http://freshome.com/2010/11/01/the-pros-and-cons-of-hardwood-vs-laminate-wood-flooring/

Deciding Between Hardwood and Laminate Flooring: Which Is Better?

Subfloor/Concrete preparation…. why is it so important

Installing hardwood flooring in your home has a lot of advantages. Not only is it durable and easy to clean, but it has a classy, almost rustic look that carpeted surfaces seem to lack. A lot of people might say that installing hardwood floor is an easy task as well. In some ways, they’re right. The process of installing a hardwood floor or any kind of tiled flooring usually involves laying boards or tiles on top of a subfloor. A subfloor is usually plywood or concrete, and it makes for a good solid foundation for your new hardwood or tiled floor. It does need to be prepared however, a task that some homeowners don’t realize is very important.

Why Preparing Your Subfloor is Important

As durable and versatile as a concrete subfloor can be, it can cause a lot of problems if it is damaged or is otherwise unprepared for hardwood flooring. Cracks, spilled paint and even dust and debris can all mar your new flooring and give it an uneven appearance. Any kind of damage will also become worse over time, and it will be a lot harder to fix it if you’ve already layered what is supposed to be a beautiful hardwood floor on top of it. A hardwood floor can increase the value of your home, but unsightly cracks or bulges will only have the opposite effect.

Tips for Preparing Your Subfloor

Preparing your subfloor should be a major part of any remodeling project that has to do with new flooring. Fortunately, it shouldn’t be as difficult as you might think. Most of your prep time will be spent cleaning the concrete and keeping it free of any dirt and debris. This can be done with a simple broom and dustpan, but you may want to use a vacuum capable of cleaning dust from a hard surface to make sure you catch everything. Any cracks you see will have to be filled in and leveled out. In fact, you should check to make sure that your subfloor is completely level before you proceed with putting down any kind of flooring. Any surfaces that aren’t level may call for more extensive remodeling than a new floor. You should have no more than 3/16 of an inch in height variation before you proceed.

Finally, if you aren’t completely sure your subfloor is worthy of a new layer of hardwood, contact a professional contractor to take a look at it. A flooring contractor will have the necessary tools and expertise to determine if a new hardwood floor is right for your home.