Raising a family is a challenge in itself, never mind the thought of ‘familyproofing’ your home. But the time will inevitably come when you’ll need to replace your flooring. Whether you’ve moved in to a new property or are looking to update your current one, choosing a flooring that can handle to wear and tear of family life as much as you do can seem overwhelming. That’s why we’ve pulled together a list of all the pros and cons that come with the different types of wood flooring to hopefully make your floor search a little easier.
The flooring that is most commonly sought after is solid wood. Undeniably, solid wood flooring is stunning and can really help in adding value to your home, something to consider when redecorating any part of your house. With its timeless look, solid wood flooring will definitely make your home look beautiful but it’s not just a pretty face, solid wood flooring is also extremely practical too. Solid wood flooring is a long-lasting material that can last a lifetime. It isn’t uncommon to visit hundreds of year-old houses that still have their original wood flooring. That’s because solid wood is incredibly durable and can withstand significant more wear than other floor types. Because of its ability to endure high traffic, you wouldn’t have to worry about your solid wood flooring losing its quality, no matter how many times the kids or pets wreak havoc. Solid wood flooring is also able to offer a hygienic benefit too as it is resistant to dust and allergens that would get trapped in other materials such as carpets for example. This is great considering how much kids like pick things up off the floor and then put said things their mouths when they think we’re not looking. Because it’s so easy to clean, it also means you would spend less time scrubbing the various food and drinks spillages that your kids so lovingly provide you with.
However, while solid wood flooring may sound ideal at a glance, there are a few drawbacks to consider. Most notably the price. Solid wood flooring isn’t cheap and will cost you more upfront than other floors. While it should pay this back to you in time and quality, it isn’t always an option for everyone. Solid wood floors are also prone to natural movement when exposed to temperatures and humidity. Natural wood floorings essentially breathe, expanding when hot and contracting when cold. Because of this solid wood flooring cannot be used with underfloor heating, something to be wary of if your house comes pre-set with underfloor heating or if it’s something you are looking to install. It’s also not indestructible. Although it is durable, solid wood flooring can still be damaged and scratch at the mercy of pets nails for example, and refinishing your wood flooring will require an additional cost.
Engineered wood, unlike solid wood, is made up of layers of plywood stuck together and finished with a lamella top layer to appear identical to the real thing. The main thing that an engineered floor can offer you that a solid wood couldn’t is the ability to withstand fluctuations in temperatures, making it ideal for use with underfloor heating. As with any wood flooring, engineered wood flooring is able to circulate and retain heat, leaving your rooms warmer, for longer. This can be especially helpful with a family as you’re inevitably looking to cut back money where you can. Something else an engineered wood flooring can offer you is the ability to reduce the moisture problems typically associated with a wood flooring. Unlike solid wood floors, engineered wood floors don’t absorb the moisture meaning that spillages are instantly able to be wiped away. The most important thing to note about engineered wood flooring is that it is cheaper than solid wood and although you’re less likely to break your bank, you won’t skip out on the quality look of a real wood floor.
The main negative of engineered wood flooring is that if it becomes damaged, you cannot refinish it as with a solid wood floor. This means that once engineered floor is installed you won’t be able to change it without replacing the flooring itself. If engineered wood needs repairing you would have to either dismantle half your floor or damage the surrounding floor attempting to get it up again if glued down.
Vinyl flooring has a lot to offer in terms of practicality. Made from chippings of PVC, the same stuff your pipes and guttering are made from, vinyl flooring can make the maintenance of your home so much easier. As its made from plastic, vinyl flooring is totally waterproof, meaning it is ideal of being laid in kitchens or bathrooms where your floor is most likely to suffer at the hands of kids and or pets. It is therefore that bit easier to clean, requiring no special cleaning products besides a sponge or a mop. It is also a strong conductor of heat and can help to keep your house warmer for longer, this makes it nicer to walk around on too. While vinyl flooring is compatible with underfloor heating, it is imperative to never expose your vinyl flooring to temperatures above 27°C, as this will cause the material to warp. Vinyl’s plastic makeup allows it to be easily printed on, meaning that there are thousands of looks to choose from and you’d struggle to not find a look you like.
Unlike wood flooring which can be sustainably resources nowadays, vinyl flooring can be quite damaging. Unfortunately, the biodegradable properties of vinyl have not yet been discovered, meaning that your vinyl flooring will end up in landfills once removed. Similarly, because of its plastic nature, vinyl floor can be prone to subfloor damage. Any tiny grains on the subfloor can over time cause the material to wear down and eventually split, therefore needing replacing. The longevity of a vinyl floor is definitely less than that of engineered wood or solid wood and that is something to seriously consider in relation to what you pay for.
Laminate flooring is made of four layers consisting of the backing, core, image and wear layer. The top layer, the wear layer, is made of wood on a vinyl board with the protective laminate layer on top. With its tongue and groove system, laminate flooring is quick and easy to install, meaning you won’t have the hassle and stress of trying to cook the family meal with planks and equipment all over the place. Like real wood, laminate wood flooring doesn’t harbour dust or allergens, so makes for a cleaner home environment. It is also resistant to stains, impacts and scratches, so it can pretty much tackle anything your family can throw at it. One of the best things about a laminate flooring however is its ability to retain its colour over time, even when exposed to sunlight.
Similar to engineered flooring, laminate flooring cannot be refinished when it has seen a harsh number of years. If you struggle to maintain the finish of your laminate floor it will become worn, scratched or grooved and can never be sanded, it must be replaced. Although water resistant, it is not totally waterproof, so if excessive water is found on a laminate flooring you would risk the water seeping in between boards, causing the laminate floor to swell.
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