Example of solid hardwood flooring.

Wood or Wood-Like? Which Flooring Should I Choose?


If you’re a homeowner, chances are you have had the great debate about tearing out your old flooring and putting in wood. Most major remodeling projects are an undertaking, to say the least, but the topic of wood flooring can cause your mind to go into a tailspin. There aren’t just wood products to choose from either. Now you can have engineered wood, wood-like or wood-look tile, laminate, or even vinyl flooring for your abode, all at reasonable and not-so-reasonable pricing. And, just when you think choosing from the variety of products was tough enough, add in color, species, and finish to the mix and all of the sudden your old carpeting doesn’t seem so bad after all.

Fear not Dziners! Dzinesteps is here to give you a little background about wood and wood-like flooring as well as a way to see how the finish you choose will look in your home BEFORE you buy!

Before we tear into the Pros, Cons, and other applicable information you need to make an informed decision, DzineSteps invites you to preview our quick wood-flooring guide we made just for you.

DzineSteps Wood Flooring Comparison Table

Wood and wood-like flooring comparisons.
Wood and Wood-like Flooring Comparisons. Image courtesy of uhousebuild.com.

Solid/Real Wood

There is no doubt that installing wood flooring will increase your home’s value. It adds color, warmth, and character to any space that it’s applied. Your color and texture options vary according to the available species of wood and the stains and finishes applied to the product. When the wood begins to look too distressed, the flooring can be refinished many times before it ever has to be replaced. However, despite its beauty and return on investment, there are things to take into consideration before making a commitment.

Example of solid hardwood flooring.
Solid, hardwood flooring. Image courtesy of trendsfloor.com.

Installing solid wood flooring can be a major project since, not only do you have to rip out your old flooring, but also have to remove any and all bumps, protrusions, nails, staples, and any other items that compromises the surface of your sub-flooring.

Installing solid, hardwood flooring
Installing Solid, Hardwood Flooring. Image courtesy of pidzackwoodfloorinstallation.blogspot.com.

Some climates are not ideal for solid wood flooring. Humidity and sun exposure can warp and crack the wood, which could cost quite a bit to repair.

This kind of project requires skill and is tedious  and it is highly recommended that you hire a professional to do the installation.





Engineered Wood

Engineered wood is a fantastic alternative to solid wood. It’s a wood-flooring product designed with multiple types of wood to create a look and feel exactly like it’s solid counterpart only stronger. Engineered wood is designed using layers of wood with alternating grain patterns to form stronger, more durable flooring. Therefore, you can install engineered wood in those humid environments where solid wood typically buckles or warps.

Comparing Solid and Engineered Wood Flooring Compositions.
Comparing Solid and Engineered Wood Flooring Compositions. Image courtesy of norcalfloordesign.com.

This wood competitor behaves much in the same way that solid wood flooring does, providing warmth, character, and increasing home value. You even have similar color and texture options as solid wood products. However, engineered wood cannot be refinished more than once or twice before it has to be replaced.

Example of engineered wood flooring.
Engineered Wood Flooring. Image courtesy of fashion-daily.com.

The price point is similar to and may be a little more expensive than solid wood since it utilizes many layers of wood in its design. The tradeoff, though, is getting a real wood product that is durable and useful in everyone room in your home.

Like solid wood flooring, it is highly recommended that you hire a professional to do the installation.



Laminate Wood-like Flooring

If you want the wood look but don’t want to invest a fortune in your flooring, laminate may just be the solution. Laminate flooring is made of many layers with a wood image sandwiched in the middle. The product is more durable and doesn’t wear down like solid or engineered wood does, thereby eliminating the need to refinish or replace warping boards. You can even install the laminate flooring yourself since the product uses a tongue and groove, interlocking design that eliminates nailing the pieces to the sub-floor.

Example of laminate wood flooring.
Laminate wood flooring. Image courtesy of decozt.com.

The major drawback of this kind of flooring is that it’s not real wood. Installing laminate wood-like flooring won’t necessarily boost your home value and has, in the past, had a reputation of looking too fake to be mistaken for real wood. However, new molding and image processing techniques have been substantially improved the product resulting in flooring that is very difficult to distinguish from real wood.


Vinyl Wood-look Flooring

Vinyl is not wood and doesn’t come close to the increased value or aesthetic appeal that wood flooring can bring to your home. But, vinyl is an easy, cost effective flooring that can be used virtually anywhere, especially where real wood flooring may be an issue (think mudroom, kitchen, and bathrooms).

Vinyl Wood Flooring Example.
Vinyl Wood Flooring Example. Image courtesy of imgbuddy.com.










The best part of vinyl, wood-look flooring, is that it’s easy to clean, easy to install, and comes in a large variety of textures, colors, and styles.

Installing vinyl flooring.
Installing Vinyl Wood-look Flooring. Image courtesy of trendsfloor.com.








Wood-look Tile Flooring

Tile has an unmatched durability that we’ve used in kitchens and bathrooms for years. Now tile design has become so versatile that you could use it throughout your entire home, oftentimes for far less than that of wood flooring. You can purchase tile that is molded with texture and patterns that rival solid wood, which can be highly useful in maintaining consistent colors and patterns of your décor.

Porcelain Wood-look Tile Example.
Porcelain Wood-look Tile Example. Image courtesy of beautystyleaddicted.com.

The drawbacks that come from applying tile wood-look flooring are the same as applying any tile to your home; noise, cold-feel, and grout. Tile flooring doesn’t have that underlying cushion to reduce noise, so every step is audible.





Installing ceramic, wood-look tile.
Installing Ceramic, Wood-look Tile. Image courtesy of learn.builddirect.com.

Unless you have radiant heat, your tile will always be cool to the touch. This can be favorable in warmer climates but you’ll probably want to invest in rugs for those times when you want to go barefoot.

Grout, some may say is a necessary evil with tile since it is the only way to seal the floor and bond the tile pieces together. It can be unsightly and hard to clean as it catches the dirt and muck from everyday traffic on your floors. Fortunately, there are plenty of tile design options to add to your wood-look, tile flooring that can diminish the appearance of grout and add a splash of creativity and individuality to every room.

Wood Flooring Dzine

Now that we’ve armed you with information, let’s apply some wood patterns to your living space. Here are a few examples of how you can use DzineSteps to see how that wood pattern will look on your floors.

Dzine application of Wood-look vinyl.
Dzine application of Wood-look vinyl. Original image courtesy of trendecoration.com.
Dzine application of porcelain, wood-look tile.
Dzine application of porcelain, wood-look tile. Original image courtesy of doitgreencarpetcleaning.com.

Happy Dzining!

– Your DzineSteps Team



Need a little more reading material about wood and wood-like flooring? Check out these sites and blogs.

Realtor.comResale Value: Hardwood vs. Carpet

Woodfloors.orgTop Ten

Daltile.comInspiration and DIY blog

Houzz.com — Wood-look Tile vs. Hardwood Flooring

Lowes.comHardwood Flooring Buying Guide

WFCA.orgFlooring Comparison Chart



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