*Laminate Flooring: The Best Hardwood Alternative?

December 5, 2010
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There is no doubt hardwood is one of the most beautiful floorings for any home.  Even commercial establishments who opt for hardwood flooring want to evoke the deepest feelings of comfort and home from its visitors and tenants.  Unfortunately, hardwood floors come with a steep price.  Aside from being expensive, current global concerns on environmental degradation and the decimation of forests make it an unpopular choice for those who believe in saving the planet.

Due to these possible limitations, several viable alternatives are available for those who want the same look and elegance of hardwood flooring.  Bamboo flooring is considered the green product alternative to hardwood which looks similar and is just as durable.  But unlike hardwood coming from trees that takes several years to mature, bamboo is a grass maturing in only 3-5 years.  Moreover, harvesting bamboo stalks does not kill the grass, making it a highly sustainable resource.

A cheaper option would be vinyl sheets or tiles mimicing the look of wood.  Of course, these will not have the same quality and feel of wood but will serve the purpose of having a wood-designed floor for those with a limited budget.  Vinyl can come in all possible shades and surface grains of wood.  And since it is cheaper, replacement is quite easy if any damage occurs.

However, one of the best alternatives to hardwood flooring with a reasonable price is wood laminate flooring.  Though it appears to be wood with its grains and color, it is a thin layer of a photographic image  under a durable protective film that is pressed to a high-density backing board.  Due to the high-density backing board, wood laminate flooring is resistant to gouges and the high-pressure laminate coating makes it resistant to scratches and scuffs.  With its durability, it is much more resilient to high traffic than hardwood.

Unlike hardwood, laminate flooring can be installed floating and can be place over any type of existing flooring.  Cleaning and maintenance is easy because it only requires a vacuum and a damp mop with no sanding and resealing required after several years.

And since the surface is made from a photo image, laminate flooring comes in almost every shade and every grain of wood possible.  It can resemble any type of timber and even the most exotic wood in the market.  With this type of flexibility, matching a laminate flooring with any interior design would not be a problem.

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