By Meghan Belnap
Innovation in construction materials means there are a number of flooring alternatives that can give your home the hardwood look without the high price tag. Laminate and engineered wood are two popular choices that offer the beauty of hardwood at a fraction of the cost. Let's take a look at some of the alternatives that will fit into a tight budget.
Laminate is a synthetic product made to look like wood. It is composed of several layers of pressed wood that are fused together with a synthetic resin. The top layer is a photograph of wood grain that is protected by a wear-resistant clear coating. Laminate is much less expensive than hardwood and can be installed over almost any type of subflooring. Installation of laminate can be a do-it-yourself project that will save you even more money, but if you choose, a professional installer can do the job quickly and reasonably.
Engineered wood is a product made from real wood that has been shredded and reconstituted with a binding agent. The top layer is a hardwood veneer that can be stained and finished to look like almost any type of wood. Engineered wood is more expensive than laminate, and comes in a variety of colors and grain patterns, such as engineered oak flooring. Engineered wood is more expensive than laminate but less expensive than hardwood. Installation is similar to laminate and can be done by a do-it-yourselfer or professional installer.
Vinyl has come a long way in recent years and can now be made to look like almost any type of flooring, including hardwood. Vinyl is made from PVC plastic and is waterproof, making it a good choice for areas that are prone to moisture, such as kitchens and bathrooms. Vinyl is less expensive than engineered wood and can be installed by the do-it-yourselfer or professional installer.
Bamboo is grass that is harvested and made into flooring. Bamboo is a sustainable and renewable resource that is becoming more popular as a flooring alternative. Bamboo is harder than oak and can be stained or finished to look like almost any type of wood. Bamboo is more expensive than laminate but less expensive than hardwood and is a favorite option among those who are seeking to build a green home due to its sustainability.
These are just a few of the many flooring alternatives that can give your home the hardwood look without the high price tag. With so many choices available, you are sure to find one that fits both your budget and your style.