Floor Resurfacing? How to Choose Between Hardwood, Laminate, Engineered Wood and Tile

Your subfloor determines your flooring options

If you want new installed floors,  you have 3 main options:

1)  hardwood floors: if you have wood floor joists or plywood underneath

2)  laminate or engineered wood floors: if you have concrete subfloors

3)  tile: if you have concrete or backer boards underneath

tile-professionally-installed

Bryant's Floors is a professional tile installer

Solid hardwood Brazilian Cherry has an unusal brick-like layout

Solid hardwood Brazilian Cherry has an unusal brick-like layout

Engineered Maple in a condominium

Engineered Maple flooring in a condominium

Details on your 3 flooring options

1)  Solid Hardwood Is an Option When You Have Plywood or Wood Subfloors

If you want the warmth and quality of real solid hardwood flooring, and you have wood subfloors, you’re in luck. Hardwood flooring comes in strips or planks and is attached to the surface underneath with nails. That is why you need wood floor joists or plywood subflooring to enjoy a solid hardwood floor. You need a subfloor that works well with nails.

You don’t have to use solid hardwood – you can install laminates or tile on wood subfloors. You simply have the option of solid hardwood when your subfloor is wood.

2)  Choose Laminate or Engineered Wood to Install Over Concrete Subfloors

It is not ideal to install a hardwood floor over concrete. Because hardwood flooring is nailed down for stability, you will have the job of nailing into your concrete floor – perhaps drilling holes first. Hammering and drilling holes into concrete is not desirable. It can make the concrete less stable and more prone to cracking. For these reasons alone, installing hardwood over concrete should be avoided.

If you want the look of wood but can’t use solid hardwood flooring, two wood-like products can do the job: laminate flooring or engineered flooring.

Laminates and engineered floors are often snap-together boards that rest or float on your concrete surface. Laminates are man-made layers formed into boards that fit together tightly. The top layer looks like real wood – it typically uses a photo image of birch, oak, pine or maple wood, for example, depending on the wood species you pick.

Engineered floors have a thin top layer of real wood. Like laminates, the boards are layers of man-made materials that are solidified into boards that interlock together for installation. The top layer is a very thin piece of finished wood in the species you select – for example, oak, pine, cherry, maple, or other wood.

No stain or finish goes on laminates or engineered floors – these floors are pre-finished.

3)  Use tile for areas that get very wet or get heavy foot traffic

Are you resurfacing a kitchen, bathroom or mudroom? Ceramic tile or vinyl tile is a good choice if your floor is going to get wet or get heavy foot traffic, and you can’t use wood look-alikes.

Because it cleans up well after people track in mud, dirt and water, tile is a top choice for bathrooms, kitchens and mudrooms. Ceramic tile can be installed over plywood, backer boards or concrete. We recommend professional installation for tile: planning layouts, cutting tiles for an even, balanced look, and finishing evenly with grout requires great skill and experience. Bryant’s Floors does professional tile installations. We take pride in giving you a secure, even floor that will remain stable and look great for years.

Wondering which type of floor is best for your space? Contact us today with your questions and to get a free estimate.

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  • Bryant was very responsive… and patient in dealing with our numerous questions. We scheduled to get our floors refinished the same week the February snowstorms hit so we figured there would be some extraordinary issues. The floors turned out great. Bryant was able to work with us through the snowstorms and still make the floors look good…. I would definitely recommend Bryant’s Floors to others and have.” — Ernie ~ Rockville, MD

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