Decoding wooden flooring

by Darren
Top Carpets decoding wood Jnl 1 16

Seek out quality products from quality suppliers when chosing wood and wood-look flooring.

There’s a myriad of options in wood and wood-look flooring, and it’s not always easy to know which one to choose. It’s not just a matter of aesthetics although that, and price, may be the most compelling factors in the decision-making process. As with all flooring, the practical issues matter – some products are better suited to certain applications than others.

Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors have a very distinct appeal. Solid wood provides a warm, luxurious ambience and looks good for years. Hardwood floors can be resanded and refinished when they begin to show signs of wear, giving them an extended lifespan with a renewed high-quality finish.

Hardwood floors are, however, susceptible to scratches and marks, and need regular polishing and maintenance to preserve their appearance. They’re also susceptible to water damage which can spoil the look of the flooring significantly and a simple polish won’t be sufficient to repair it.

The biggest downside of hardwood flooring is price, which is a particular obstacle in large-scale commercial installations. Clearly, if redesigning for a large hotel or office facility, the premium for hardwood can be prohibitive.

Engineered wood

Engineered wood is still real wood, but it’s not solid. The surface is a veneer of high-quality wood that is bonded to layers of cheaper wood or solid pressboard, giving the look and feel of hardwood.

Engineered wood is a high-quality, premium-priced option. In domestic installations, this could be a good choice. It provides a luxury finish of hardwood at a slightly lower price point, and would no doubt add to the value of an upmarket residential property.  

Laminate flooring

These floorcoverings are often called wood laminates or wood laminate flooring, but the word wood is used loosely. Laminate floors are manufactured using wood products.

Laminates have four layers. Each layer has its purpose, but only the core and print layers are made with wood products. The core is made of compressed wood fibres, and the print or pattern layer is printed to create the high-quality wood look that makes laminate flooring so attractive. The surface layer is a protective layer that gives the final texture and, more importantly, makes it an extremely durable option.  

Wood-look laminate flooring comes in a range of qualities and styles. They’re easy to clean, easy to maintain and easy to repair if something goes wrong.


Luxury vinyl tiles are a relative newcomer to the wood-look flooring market. These vinyl tiles also come in planks that look like wood – and, just like hardwood, engineered wood and laminates, they come in a range of colours and wood textures. They’re easy to install and maintain and don’t have any problems with moisture. They’re also softer and warmer than the other wood-look options.

Vinyl sheeting

Like LVT, vinyl sheeting has many advantages. In keeping with current décor trends, it comes in a range of finishes, including wood-look. It is resilient, easy to clean and imperious to spillage and water damage. In a commercial environment, it’s ideal for training centres, pause areas and everything from tea kitchens and canteens to executive dining rooms.  

It’s a competitive market

Wooden flooring is in a highly competitive market space. There is a host of manufacturers offering a wide range of substrates, colours, texture and finishes, and, of course, a wide range of price points. It is advisable to seek out quality products from quality suppliers.

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