Hardwood and Laminates
Ecologically Friendly: Bamboo is made from natural vegetation. The bamboo plant is a highly renewable resource that is able to grow to maturity in as little as three to five years. This is much faster than hardwood trees which can take upwards of twenty years or more to reach maturity.
Easy Maintenance: Bamboo is relatively easy to maintain. You just have to sweep or vacuum it regularly to remove small particle debris. You can also occasional damp mop it, or clean it with a non wax, non-alkaline, hardwood or bamboo floor cleanser.
Water Resistant: This material is slightly more resistant to water damage, stains, and warping than hardwood materials, although it is still a concern.
Natural Material: The use of natural materials is an important trend in the construction industry right now. As people are becoming more ecologically conscious they are demanding products that reflect these values. They are also seeking materials and designs that reject the modern cookie cutter world and instead focus on individual personality and natural evolution.
Price: This material is priced at about the same level as most hardwood floors. You will often find bamboo ranging from about two dollars to eight dollars per square foot. You should avoid bargain basement materials as they are often lower quality castoffs.
Convenient Packaging: Natural hardwood flooring comes in planks that are 8 or 10 feet in length, and sometimes even longer. By contrast laminate planks that simulate hardwood are sold in convenient 4 foot strips. They are also available in tile form in varying sizes.
Versatility: Today laminate flooring can simulate the look of dozens of different natural hardwood materials. The printing process can also reproduce the appearance of a variety of natural stone, and ceramic flooring materials. With EIR embossed in register texturing they are even able to somewhat reproduce the surface texture of these natural materials.
Cleaning: The wear layer of a laminate floor protects the material from stains and some spills making cleaning and maintenance relatively easy. Typically the only regular requirement is sweeping or vacuuming of the floor to remove grit and dirt which can slowly erode the floors wear layer over time.
Installation: The installation of a laminate click together floor is one of the easiest do it yourself flooring projects you can undertake. New innovations in the manufacture of this material have made it so you do not even need to use adhesive. You just roll down a sheet of underlayment material, and then snap the planks or tiles of the floor into one another. An entire room can usually be finished in just a day or two.
Goes Anywhere: With the exception of carpet, laminate flooring can be installed over almost any existing floor in the home. As long as a moisture barrier is in place and water prevention measures are taken it can also be installed at any grade. This removes the hassle and expense of having to remove old flooring installations before installing new laminate materials.
The Elements: Laminate flooring is resistant to many of the outdoor agents that can discolor other flooring materials. The wear layer protects it from stains and smudges due to dirt and mud making it a great material for hallways and entryways. It also resists fading from UV light exposure making it popular in sun rooms.
Health: Laminate flooring is naturally resistant to the growth of mold and bacteria. It can also be treated with special allergen resistant and anti-bacterial coatings to make them even safer.
Expansion: The nature of the installation process means that the flooring material is not adhered directly to the subfloor. Rather all of the pieces of the floor are interlocked, or adhered one to another. That means that the material can expand, or contract, due to changes in pressure and temperature, without buckling and snapping against the subfloor.
Acclimation: Hardwood needs to sit in an environment for 3-6 weeks so that it can acclimate to the temperature and pressure of the area. Laminates can be installed in as little as 36 hours.