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The 411 on Wood, Laminate and Vinyl Flooring

The 411 on Wood, Laminate and Vinyl Flooring

It’s that time of year when a lot of homeowners in San Antonio are faced with a choice. Do you crank up the A/C and pay the price with CPS later, or do you try to sweat it out?

Thankfully, you don’t have to do either.

Simple tricks like planting trees along your western walls or installing hard floors can help cool down your home and reduce your energy bills. The hard surfaces on hardwood, laminate and vinyl flooring do not absorb heat as readily as carpet, meaning that your home really will be cooler.

Aside from that, there are even more advantages to owning hardwood:

  • It’s easy to clean. If you spill something on a wood floor, it takes just a few seconds to clean up. Spill it on carpet? It’ll ruin your whole year.
  • It’s better than tile. Tile is a surefire ambiance-killer. It has hard, shiny surfaces, which can make a room feel cold, sterile and noisy. Wood has all of the benefits of tile, without making your home feel like a cafeteria.
  • It adds value. On average, hardwood floors live to be about 75. Carpets do not. That means if you plan to live in your home for a while, you won’t have to bother with replacing your carpets later on. If you plan to sell, you can ask for more.
  • It’s cleaner. Carpet is a magnet for all sorts of indoor allergens — everything from dirt to mold pollen and dust mites. These have nowhere to hide on hardwood.

If you’re ready to rip up that ratty old shag and install some new flooring, you need to know where to start. In addition to natural wood, there’s also laminate flooring and vinyl to consider.

Here’s the 411 on each.

Wood flooring

Wood Flooring

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You just can’t beat a genuine hardwood floor — its character, its feel and even how it smells. Other options might come close, but hardwood really is the best of the best. It comes at a price, though, and it’s a steep one.

If you’re worried about the environmental impact of wood flooring, we recommend checking out bamboo. It looks great, feels just like wood, and it’s environmentally friendly.

Note: Direct sunlight and moisture both damage hardwood. If you’re considering putting hardwood in a high-traffic room — especially one with pets and children — it might be better to opt for something sturdier, like laminate or vinyl flooring.

Laminate flooring

Laminate Flooring
Photo courtesy

Laminate flooring is a great option when hardwood is impractical. It’s not as expensive, for one, and it can hold up to the abuse a floor gets in a family room, bedroom or pet room.

Note: Sunlight doesn’t harm laminate flooring, but like hardwood, it reacts negatively to moisture. That makes it a bad option for anywhere you might have standing water — bathrooms, kitchens or basements.

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl Flooring

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If it just doesn’t make sense to plunk hardwood or laminate into an area (high humidity, lots of traffic, sunlight), vinyl might be ideal. The common misconception about vinyl flooring is that it looks a little too fake to pass off as hardwood.

However, Luxury Vinyl Flooring is changing all of that. Instead of coming in rolls, luxury vinyl is cut into tiles to mimic real wood. It’s flexible like vinyl but sturdier, giving you the durability you need with the wooden appearance.

Note: Vinyl is water-tight, so it can go in bathrooms, kitchens and basements. Be careful when moving furniture or appliances on vinyl, as it can scratch.