Selecting Laminate Flooring
The pros and cons of laminate flooring
“Bamboo has been around for a long time, but what we are seeing lately is an explosion of colors and styles,” says Dean Howell, president of Atlanta-based MODA Floors & Interiors. While technically a fast-growing grass, bamboo is as hard or harder than most hardwoods when dried. Newer products called strand-woven bamboo, a highly engineered product using the inner fibers, are twice as hard as traditional bamboo flooring. Dean says that in addition to the common thin-banded styles shoppers have become accustomed to, bamboo is offered in wide-plank styles that mimic the look of classic hardwoods. As with all wood flooring, it’s best to keep bamboo out of moisture-prone rooms like kitchens and baths.
“What I’m seeing more and more of in flooring is classic looks using new technology,” says Gabriel Shaw, owner of That Finishing Touch Design in Thousand Oaks, Calif. A perfect example of that, he notes, is reclaimed hardwood. New factory-finished hardwood flooring offers all the charm of reclaimed timber — right down to that timeless hand-hewn look — but without the high costs associated with true salvaged lumber. “Factory-finished wood will stand up to moisture fluctuations better than any wood flooring that is finished onsite.”
“I recently installed a cork product at the KROQ radio station in Los Angeles,” notes Gabriel. Selected primarily for its amazing acoustic-insulating qualities, cork flooring also is much more comfortable to walk on than traditional hardwood and most certainly tile. Long gone are the days when cork was available in any color so long as it was blonde — today’s options span the color palette. Thanks to new factory finishes, cork is far more durable than it was just a few decades prior. But it is susceptible to moisture damage and will fade when exposed to sunlight.