Wood and laminate floors are gaining popularity in home remodeling for their appearance, durability and ease of maintenance along with adding value, according to local experts.
“People are replacing carpet and vinyl and some people have went with (wood and laminate flooring) in the whole house,” said Richard Adams Jr., co-owner of Adams Roofing located in Spraggs, Greene County.
Adams said one advantage of installing wood and laminate is that it is stain resistant and spills are easy to clean. “You can just grab your swiffer and wipe it up,” said Adams.
Adams said although laminate is primarily used in kitchens and bathrooms, it can be installed in just about any room.
“The big thing that’s happening in flooring is the movement toward hard surfaces, whether it’s wood, ceramic tile or laminate,” says Santiago Montero, editor-in-chief and publisher of Floor Covering Weekly.
Most noted for beauty and warmth, hardwood floors give a house the look of luxury, but are also more costly. Hardwoods are mainly found in living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms.
For consumers looking for realistic looks on a fixed budget, laminate or engineered wood has become a popular alternative. It’s also a good choice for high-traffic areas.
Laminate floors are made of synthetic layers with an inner core of fiber board or resin.
According to the World Floor Covering Association, the cost for laminate ranges between $3 and $7 per square-foot installed versus between $6 and $15 for wood.
Floor Trends magazine noted that consumers often want natural-looking products that cost less than the real thing.
“About 65 percent of the homes we put flooring in have wood and laminate,” said Adams.
Adams said unlike hardwood that needs to be nailed, laminate is easy to install because it snaps together.
Mike Rogers, co-owner of Stoney Point Kitchens and Bath on Route 40 in Uniontown, said about 95 percent of flooring the company installs in homes is either bamboo or tile. He said in addition to cost, a downside of traditional hardwood flooring is a tougher installation process.
“Not too many people are putting down hardwood floors,” said Rogers.
Rogers said bamboo floors are eco-friendly and resemble a more traditional hardwood, making them durable. “It’s pretty popular in kitchens,” he added.
“There’s lots of styles and colors that attract more people and a lot of people want to go green,” said Rogers.
According to Rogers, bamboo floors, like laminate, are considered to be floating floors making them easier for the homeowner to install themselves.
Tom Sullivan, founder and chairman of Lumber Liquidators said the number of options associated with wood floors is growing.
“People aren’t just looking for solid hardwood anymore,” said Sullivan. “Pre-finished hardwood is huge, so is cork and bamboo.”
Laminate floors also come in different shapes and colors, offering limitless design possibilities.
Fabulous Floors Magazine stated that laminates combine the warmth and beauty of hardwood with the durability of resilient flooring.
Similar to a kitchen countertop, laminate flooring offers excellent resistance to staining, fading, abrasions and even cigarette burns.
These performance features make laminate flooring an excellent choice for rooms that gets lots of use and areas where people spend the most time.
According to the magazine, a laminate floor is great for allergy sufferers, because the surface does not trap pollen, dust, or other allergy-producing particles.
The product also does not fade from sun exposure, which means you can reposition your furniture without worrying about color variations in the floor.
While its high performance is a major selling point, abrasive materials can still scratch a laminate surface, the experts warn.
Most laminates are available in natural-looking wood grains.
But builders and remodelers also find a wide variety of faux marble, granite and stone looks, which reflect a home decorating trend towards designs resembling natural materials.
Because laminates come in various sizes such as strips, planks, squares and panels, it enables homeowners to create a custom flooring design with different shapes and colors.
Laminate flooring manufacturers say that consumers are also looking at more traditional colors, veering toward grays and browns and away from the reds that have been popular for the last few years.
“Customers want options,” said Roger Farabee, senior vice president of marketing for Unilin Flooring/Mohawk Hard Surfaces. “Everyone wants value at every price point.
Farabee said that laminate flooring is ideal for budget-minded consumers because it offers a wide range of looks that might be too expensive in other mediums, such as whitewashed hardwood, wire-brushed finishes and other high-end looks.
“To a retailer, it’s an asset to be able to show customers products that look nearly alike, and what’s different is the dollars per square foot,” he said.