And it’s so much more than hardwood or tile!
When we say “hard-surface flooring,” many people immediately think of hardwood or tile. But hard-surface flooring is comprised of much more than those two floor types. In this blog post, we’ll take a moment to discuss all that “hard-surface” has to offer—including hardwood and tile, as well as laminate, luxury vinyl, and green flooring options.
Hardwood comes in two basic varieties: solid hardwood and engineered hardwood. Solid hardwood is 100% wood, milled from lumber whereas engineered hardwood is built up with anywhere from three to ten layers of wood that are glued together.
All hardwood is susceptible to moisture and extreme temperatures, but engineered hardwood’s multi-ply structure provides superior resistance to environmental conditions.
Check out our glossary of Hardwood Terminology, or learn what’s important to look for when you’re choosing hardwood on the Carpetland USA website.
Tile flooring also comes in two basic varieties: natural stone and ceramic tile, which encompasses a number of more-specific tile types like porcelain and monocottura. Tile flooring is popular for variety it affords, for its durability and for its low maintenance requirements. Customers’ concerns about tile usually have to do with its temperature, which can be a bit chilly underfoot, but many of those concerns are easily addressed by installing low-cost, radiant heat.
Laminate flooring is a popular choice among homeowners for its ability to mimic the look of hardwood and tile. It’s constructed of four layers: a backing layer, an inner core layer, a design layer, and a wear layer that protects the floor from stains and fading.
The design layer contains a photographic rendering of either wood or tile, depending on the floor, and that image is projected through the wear layer to create the desired look. The backing layer creates a moisture barrier that protects the floor from warping, and for that reason, laminate is an excellent, low-cost choice for areas, like basements, which appeals to active families and cost-conscious trend-setters alike.
Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring
Luxury vinyl tile is the fastest-growing segment in the hard-surface flooring market, thanks to it’s incredibly realistic wood and stone looks, its comfort underfoot, and its ease of maintenance and installation. Luxury vinyl tile can be installed with grout, giving it a truly authentic tile feel, and many homeowners even take on the installation themselves.
The design benefits of dramatic high-end stone visuals and classic hardwood textures with performance and price advantages that make low-cost luxury vinyl tile flooring hard to beat.
Green Flooring Options
Green flooring options, like cork and bamboo present still more options for homeowners interested in hard-surface flooring products.
Cork floors are constructed from the bark of cork trees, which can be extracted every eight to ten years. When extracted at this regular interval, the process is actually beneficial to the health of the tree, making cork flooring an excellent choice for the environmentally conscious. Cork is available in a wide variety of colors and styles, and it provides excellent insulation and sound absorption qualities.
Bamboo floors, constructed of the fast-growing grass found in tropical, sub-tropical, and temperate zones across the world, now afford finer detail and darker shades than ever before. High quality bamboo floors are actually harder than hardwood, and offer superior resistance to insects and moisture, making bamboo an excellent choice for those that enjoy the hardwood look.
Carpetland USA’s Hard-Surface Flooring Recap
Remember, if it’s not carpet, it’s hard surface flooring—and that includes more floor types than you can count on two hands. So when you’re looking for flooring, and want something hard surface, take some time to really explore your options.