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Today's best hardwood alternatives

Hardwood flooring has universal appeal, but the price doesn’t fit every budget. Fortunately, today there are more flooring options than ever, and hardwood alternatives are in high demand. In this post we’re going over some of the latest and greatest options that look like wood but cost much less.

The latest laminate products

Laminate wood flooring quickly became a popular choice when it first hit the market, and it has continued to improve over the years. Today’s laminate floors now have texture and a more natural wood look with patterns embossed in the laminate. In addition to the improved appearance, homeowners enjoy the durability and easy maintenance of laminate flooring. This flooring option is also very easy to install, and when a pad is used it smoothes out the surface while providing a sound barrier.

Where to install: Living rooms, offices, bedrooms

Ceramic/porcelain wood tiles

Tiles can be crafted to have a variety of looks, which makes it one of the most versatile flooring products in terms of the appearance. Now some ceramic and porcelain tiles have wood grain finishes that look and feel like the real thing right down to the wood grain. How are manufacturers able to achieve such a spot-on imitation of wood? The answer is digital imagery. It has gotten so sharp and finely detailed in recent years that tiles can trick the eye into thinking the ceramic surface is wood.

Not only do wood tiles come in every finish imaginable, but they are also extremely durable. Plus, you won’t have to worry about refinishing them. The long planks help homeowners avoid a tiled look, however, installation needs to be perfect to pull off a wood appearance.

Where to install: Kitchens, entryways, hallways, high traffic areas

Luxury vinyl tiles

This isn’t your typical vinyl floor that many people would rather replace than install. Just as with ceramic tiles, new luxury vinyl tiles are offering homeowners a more affordable way to incorporate the look of wood. High-definition imagery of wood is used to give these high-end vinyl tiles a variety of wood finishes. You can select either plank tiles or go with standard tiles that replicate a wood parquet appearance.

Where to install: Bathrooms, kitchens, mudrooms, laundry rooms

Engineered wood flooring

Engineered wood flooring is an excellent selection for someone that wants the most authentic look possible. There is a thin layer of real wood on top with wood plies (similar to plywood) beneath the surface. The planks are thinner than traditional hardwood, but the price is also much lower. The veneer on top comes in nearly all wood finishes so your options won’t be limited, and you can also choose unfinished floors then match it with the rest of your decor. Another benefit is the engineered wood planks can be installed over concrete.

Where to install: Living areas, bedrooms

Cork flooring

This byproduct of oak is now high on homeowners’ lists of hardwood alternatives. Previously the finishes were limited, but today you can now find cork flooring in a variety of colors, or it can be stained. Cork offers numerous benefits including a softer surface, sound dampening and additional insulation. However, a protective varnish should be used to prevent staining and fading.

Where to Install: Bedrooms, bathrooms, kids playrooms
CRT Flooring Concepts offers a number of affordable wood flooring alternatives. Come by one of our flooring showrooms to see the latest in-stock and special order flooring products that will give your home the look of wood for less.