Hardwood flooring is often a generic term that could apply to any type of wood flooring. Hardwood trees (oak, maple, cherry, walnut, elm, chestnut) are generally trees that had leaves which fall off in the winter. Softwood trees (pine, fir) have needles that may stay on all year and usually they produce cones. Hardwoods are usually more dense and more durable than softwoods. Of course, there are exceptions to these generalities. In our product line the hardwoods cost more than the softwoods.
Another good flooring for wet areas is the vinyl tile. Typically it is manufactured in much the same way as sheet vinyl, but is much more rigid and comes as 12"x12" square units. They are installed in the much the same way, but require skilled tradesmen, familiar with proper installation. A good installer will start from the middle of the room to ensure that all cut tiles are equal in width at opposing walls. One advantage to this type of flooring, over sheet vinyl, is that it is can be installed, without danger of joint separation, over large areas. For this reason, it is often used in commercial buildings where large rooms are the norm. Vinyl tile can also be easily installed directly to concrete floors. Like vinyl sheets, it too is resistant to water, and tends to be installed in the areas of a building, prone to water accumulations. Tile, can be easily cleaned, is relatively maintenance free, and one of the cheaper finished floors to install.
So, a top quality oak engineered flooring will look the same but will it actually last as long?. How long a floor will last is mostly down to something called its `wear layer`. The part of the floor that is classed as the wear layer is from the surface of the board down to the tongue and on a solid oak board this would be around 5-6mm. Now, the wear layer on engineered wood flooring is the top layer of oak. So if you purchase an engineered oak flooring which has a 5-6mm solid oak top layer it will result in the flooring lasting just as long. In conclusion if you want an engineered flooring that is going to last as long as a traditional solid oak floor then make sure it has a nice thick top layer of wood, ideally 5mm+.
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