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WOOD LOOK FLOORING: HARDWOOD, LAMINATE OR LVT?

Once upon a time, if you wanted the look of wood floors you had to either buy the real stuff or settle for a cheap, plastic-looking vinyl floor that vaguely resembled wood. Luckily, times have changed! There are more choices in realistic wood patterns than ever before. So, how do you decide what type of floor to buy?
Here is a brief overview of some of the most popular types of floors that provide a wood look:

HARDWOOD
What: The original wood floor that started it all! Hardwood is made from natural wood, and is available in either solid hardwood (a solid piece of wood) or engineered hardwood (layers of wood bonded together).
Pros: Longevity, able to be sanded and refinished to remove damage or change colour, “true hardwood beauty”
Cons: Absorbs moisture, expensive, solid hardwood is more difficult to install and cannot be installed over concrete (although engineered can), requires controlled humidity and temperature levels
Great for: Family rooms, bedrooms
Avoid in: Excessively wet areas such as bathrooms and laundry rooms, solid wood should not be used in basements

LAMINATE
What: A laminated surface designed to look like wood, over a core made of HDF (high-density fiberboard).
Pros: Durable, highly scratch resistant, usually less expensive than hardwood, easily installs without nailing or gluing, can be installed over concrete
Cons: Absorbs moisture, can give a “hollow” sound
Great for: Basements, condos, family rooms, kitchens, bedrooms
Avoid in: Excessively wet areas such as bathrooms and laundry rooms

LVT
What: LVT stands for Luxury Vinyl Tile, although when replicating the look of wood, the product comes in rectangular planks instead of square tiles. LVT is nothing like the old “peel-and-stick” tiles; it is more like that orange and brown vinyl floor your parents/grandparents had in their kitchen for 30 years (except prettier).
Pros: Great for areas prone to moisture such as kitchens and bathrooms, can usually be installed over an existing floor, thinner profile means it can be installed without adding floor height, some can be easily installed without gluing, usually less expensive than hardwood
Cons: Slightly less realism than laminate (although some are better than others)
Great for: Kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, entry ways, basements, bedrooms
Avoid in: Showers