By Steve Cooper
The cherry wood flooring in your living and dining room looks fabulous. Problem is, the floor in the kitchen is looking a little sad. What to do?
More wood is one answer. But there’s an asterisk on this one. Do you want to expose your wood floor to spilled milk, water leakage from problem plumbing, and the sand, grime and other offenders so frequently tracked in from outside? And what about bathrooms and your front and back entries? Even woods toughened with hard finishes are vulnerable to everyday assaults at these spots.
Fake it. Pick a wood-look material that has a track record of durability in high-traffic and wet areas. Consider the options:
• Vinyl. With the sophisticated technologies of today, the graining patterns in wood-look vinyl are strikingly real. There is great variety in species and finish colors, and seamless sheet goods put up a strong defense against moisture. Kitchens and bathrooms are safe with this flooring. Go with a fiberglass-backed vinyl and you may even be able to put the floor down as a DIY project.
• Tile. Step up in style and durability with tile. Porcelain and ceramic tiles that mimic plank wood, parquet, and other looks are available. For a front entry, rich, woody tiles create a luxurious feeling while handling water, snow, and most other things tracked in during inclement weather.
• Laminate. Get the color and finish you want in a wood look, and also handle installation yourself. This material is good for the kitchen and entries. If installing in a bathroom, make sure the flooring is specified for wet areas. Stick with major brands, which offer consistent quality and better warranties than most off-brand imports.
For more information on flooring visit the World Floor Covering Association’s Consumer Carpet & Flooring Guide.