Hardwood, Laminate, or Tile?
In honor of #LookAlikeDay we thought we’d shine a spotlight on some of our favorite flooring look alikes. So, to mark the occasion of this doppelganger day, we’re comparing the many wood-looks of hardwood, laminate, and even tile to help you decide which flooring option is the right choice for your home.
New Looks for Wood Flooring
For years, the only way to get the look of wood flooring was to go with real hardwood floors. While real hardwood floors are certainly still a popular option, more wood flooring choices are now available thanks to tile and laminate. More specifically, advances in printing for tile and laminate enable these flooring materials to look more like real wood. These floors can also feel more like wood due to improvements in texture and finishing technology.
While having more options to achieve the same look is great, homeowners need to do more research to determine the differences between each material.
Harwood is the classic option for wood flooring. After all, it’s made from wood itself, so the appearance is 100 percent authentic. You’ll typically find hardwood floors throughout older homes.
Working with hardwood has several benefits. This flooring type has the genuine look and feel of real wood, which is impossible to perfectly copy, even if other options come close. The flooring also has natural insulating properties and can withstand harsh impacts well. You can sand and refinish hardwood floors, so they are easy to repair and have exceptional durability. In fact, hardwood floors can last a lifetime and beyond, which also helps with a home’s resale value.
As great as they might look, drawbacks to hardwood floors exist. First, hardwood is expensive and typically requires the help of professionals to install. Even though this material holds up well against impacts, hardwood is prone to scratches and excessive moisture exposure can damage it.
Laminate Wood Flooring
Laminate flooring can come in a range of styles, allowing it to mimic other flooring options such as stone or metal making it an excellent choice for a flooring look alike. However, the most popular type of laminate is laminate wood flooring. This flooring features compressed layers topped with images that simulate real wood’s appearance. Some laminate flooring manufacturers also offer finishing technology that adds the texture of real wood as well.
After it debuted in the 1970s, laminate flooring developed a bit of a bad rap. While homeowners loved that it was less expensive than real hardwood, the image technology wasn’t refined yet, so the wood looked fake. But if you compare today’s most advanced laminate wood flooring with real hardwood floors, you may not be able to tell the difference between the two.
Laminate wood flooring offers a number of benefits, including more affordable prices when compared to real hardwood flooring. Most owners can install laminate flooring on their own since no glue or special tools are typically required. Laminate flooring is also incredibly durable and easy to clean, making it the flooring of choice in many homes with active kids and pets.
But laminate flooring isn’t without some drawbacks. You need to replace laminate flooring when it’s damaged since you can’t repair it. In addition, the resale value isn’t as high as hardwood flooring.
Wood-Look Tile Flooring
One of the trendy flooring look alike options available today is wood-grain tile flooring. It’s sleek and sophisticated, yet the wood grain images applied to the tiles still look like real wood. This distinctive flooring choice blends the modern look of tile with the classic, vintage look of hardwood.
When installed properly, wood-grain tile can look almost exactly the same as hardwood flooring. You’ll want to pay attention to a few key points, which may be easier to achieve with the help of professional installers. First, make the grout lines as thin as possible. Second, you’ll want to choose a grout color that has little or no contrast with the wood grain color. When you use these tips for installation, you’ll achieve a much more realistic hardwood flooring look.
Tile has many benefits compared to hardwood and laminate flooring. It’s incredibly durable and is by far the best when it comes to dealing with excessive moisture. Unlike hardwood and laminate, spilled water could sit on the surface of tile flooring for days with no negative side effects. Tile is also more affordable than hardwood flooring, and it’s typically comparable in price to laminate. Like laminate, you can upgrade to a higher quality wood-grain tile that also features a wood-like texture on the surface.
However, tile is typically cooler to the touch, so some homeowners choose to install tile flooring over radiant subfloor heating. In addition, caring for tiles can be a little more time-consuming since you need to clean the thin grout lines regularly.
Choose Your ‘Wood’ Flooring
Not sure which one is the right choice for you? In general, spring for real hardwood flooring if you can. Hardwood is the best choice if you’re concerned with resale value. However, homeowners on a budget have two excellent alternatives in laminate wood flooring and wood-grain tile flooring, both of which are excellent hardwood look-alikes.
While both can mimic hardwood’s look and feel, the styles vary slightly, so you should look at different examples. Check out some photos or visit a flooring showroom in your area to see which option appeals more to your style and your budget. After all, some of the best design ideas come from the blogs we read, the TV shows we watch, and the homes of our friends and family members. There’s no better excuse than to take inspiration from other sources than on #LookAlikeDay.