A lot of people get different types of wood flooring mixed up. I hope that this article will give you a better understanding of the different types.

Solid hardwood flooring

As the name states, this type of flooring is solid wood all the way through. It is similar to any other stick of lumber that is sawn straight off the log. No other materials are added to it.

Solid hardwood comes in either unfinished or prefinished. Unfinished does tend to be a bit cheaper than prefinished but does require sanding, optional staining and sealing after installation.

Solid hardwood must be nailed down to a wooden subfloor. Because of this requirement, it is recommended that you hire a professional wood floor installer.

The advantage of unfinished solid wood is that you can stain and seal it to meet your desired look. The advantage of prefinished solid wood is that the turnaround time is much quicker. Solid hardwood flooring can be sanded numerous times. Whether it's damaged or you just want to change the color.

Engineered wood flooring

Engineered wood flooring has a top solid wood veneer layer that is typically between 2mm and 6 mm in thickness. Underneath that there are layers of wood backing that run perpendicular to its adjacent ply. Building the layers this way gives the finished plank more dimensional strength. There are usually between 3 and 9 ply layers in engineered wood.

Engineered wood flooring can be sanded if the veneer is more than 2mm thick. The thicker the veneer the more sandings can be done. Deep scratches and dent usually can not be sanded out.

Engineered wood flooring typically comes prefinished. There are many different types of finishes such as urethane, aluminum oxide, and oil finishes. You can also choose from different sheens, from matte to glossy.

You can Nail, Glue or Float most engineered wood floors. Check with your flooring dealer for different underlayments and glues to use. Engineered wood flooring can be used on all grade levels in your home as long as the moister levels aren’t to high.

Laminate flooring

Laminate flooring is a multi-layer synthetic flooring product that is fused together using a lamination process. The top layer is typically an acrylic layer that gives it protection from scratches. Underneath the top layer is a photographic layer that looks like hardwood. Some laminates will have a tile look to them. The inner core is usually made up of a high-density fiberboard made from wood chip composite. Last there is usually a balance paper that helps resist moister.

Since laminates are made up of fiberboard cores, they are not waterproof. It is very important to keep laminates relatively dry. Sitting water and excessive moister can cause planks to swell and warp. Spills aren’t a problem if they are wiped up quickly and not allowed to sit for periods of time.

Luxury vinyl plank flooring

Vinyl flooring is commonly mistaken for linoleum. Vinyl plank is made up of a durable top layer to protect against light scratches and scuffs. Next, there is a clear film that protects against harder damage like rips and tears. There is a photographic print layer of the wood or stone. Next, is the vinyl top layer and the WPC core. Some vinyl flooring comes with an attached foam underlayment.

Vinyl is stain and water resistant which makes it ideal for kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and pets. It can tolerate heavy traffic and moister better than real wood or laminate.