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Wood flooring choices revealed

Homeowners planning to update wood flooring throughout their home over the coming months have been advised they have three basic materials from which to choose.

Interior design expert Rosie Romero told the Arizona Daily Star that the decision of whether to use solid hardwood, engineered wood flooring or laminate can come down to a number of simple factors - budget, functionality and style.

Each of the three options has its benefits and drawbacks and therefore it is important for homeowners to fully understand the needs of their property before embarking on costly improvements.

Solid hardwood has the benefit of being extremely hardwearing and can be stylish to the eye, giving a classic and sophisticated look to a property.

However, this option can be more expensive and solid hardwood can also expand and contract depending upon the level of humidity in the room. Furthermore, the planks will need to be individually nailed down, meaning a sub-floor will have to be installed also.

Engineered wood flooring is the middle option in terms of cost and also has an excellent finish. It is also less likely to warp due to moisture in the air.

Finally, laminate flooring is the cheapest option for home improvers, but it does have the drawback of being difficult to repair, as a thin top layer of laminate masks a mixture of resins and processed wood chips underneath.

It can also have a hollow sound when walked on, as laminate floors are not fixed to the ground, but often "float".

Ms Romero's comments follow those of Tom Jennings, chairman of the World Floor Covering Association Services, who argued that the upkeep of wooden floors can be simple if people follow the right advice.

They should ensure abrasive materials are not used in wood floor areas, while spills should be cleaned up swiftly in order to avoid warping.

He commented: "It is always recommended that walk-off mats be used at any area where sand, soil and other abrasive particles can be tracked in and ground into the floor's finish." 

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