Hardwood flooring is a popular choice in this country, mainly for its aesthetic appeal and beautiful luster. However, hardwood can be difficult to keep up with its beautiful sheen, and may not resist dings and scratches as well as other materials. In addition, it can also be costly, time consuming to install, and prone to warping due to moisture over time. That’s why many contractors are turning to other materials to satisfy the home improvement needs of their customers. From wood laminate and bamboo to cork and leather, you can replicate the look of hardwood with different materials. Plus, installation is generally less involved than it is with hardwood, another benefit for contractors who are already taxed for time and resources.
Let’s take a look at flooring materials that can be used in place of hardwood.
A popular alternative to hardwood, laminate is ideal because it mimics the look of real wood, so much so that many people can’t tell the difference. There are four layers to wood laminate flooring:
As you may know, lamination is the process that fuses all the layers together into one cohesive unit. A photographic applique on the surface of the laminate is what gives the product the look of hardwood; or, in other cases, a very thin veneer is applied. A clear coat is applied on top to give off that shiny look. Laminate comes in a variety of qualities and performance levels, which affects the thickness and durability of the final product. Thanks to their tongue and groove application, installation is easy because they click into place without the need for nails or messy glue.
Bamboo is another customer favorite that achieves the classic look of plank wood flooring. It comes in a range of shades, from beech to oak to any shade of stain you want. Bamboo, like wood laminate, can be difficult to differentiate from hardwood. It’s available in vertical or flat graining; the one your client chooses will depend on how much of a noticeable pattern they want. Just like laminate, the planks lock together, making for easy assembly. This type of flooring is created when the bamboo plant is split, flattened, dried and laminated. With a higher durability than maple and oak, bamboo is a good choice for long-lasting quality. It’s also easy to clean, doesn’t warp, resists termites and rot, and is less costly than hardwood flooring.
Rubber flooring is durable, resilient, lasts up to 20 years, and is easy to clean. This material is also resistant to water and is comfortable to walk and play on, making it ideal for indoor and outdoor playgrounds and in-home gyms.
With a distinct pattern, many homeowners prefer cork because it is great for noise reduction and has a slight cushioning effect. This naturally insulative material is available in any natural color or stain, plus it’s dent resistant. Crafted from the cast-offs of cork wine-stopper manufacturing, cork originates from the bark of the cork oak tree which grows in Portugal and Spain, says Bob Vila.
A more expensive option is recycled leather, created from cowhides that were once used in the furniture, auto upholstery, clothing and food production industries. This highly resilient material doesn’t require a lot of maintenance and doesn’t contain high amounts of VOCs thanks to its water base and all-natural dyes. The planks are secured with a water-based glue and can even be used on walls in addition to floors.
To learn more about hardwood flooring and its alternatives, as well as how you can best meet your customers’ needs, contact Adleta Corporation, one of the most trusted hard surface flooring distributors in the country. Our innovative flooring products and customer service commitment are legendary in the business.
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