Available in a wide range of quality and prices, new wood floors -- or at least the look -- is attainable for many of us. Lately, while my favorite is solid hardwood when budget allows, I am enjoying the midgrade lines of "engineered" flooring offered by many companies. An "engineered" floor differs from solid hardwoods in that a layer of hardwood is glued to another, lesser-grade wood product substrate. The hardwood layer is usually about 1/8 to 1/2 inch thick or more, as opposed to solid which may measure up to a full inch thick. Engineered floors usually come with an incredibly durable clear finish over the wood, and may even be refinished once or twice for some.
But don't confuse "engineered" floors with "laminated" wood floors. "Laminated floors" or "laminates" have a very thin layer of the finish wood over a very inexpensive substrate. Pergo(R) is one of the most-recognized brands, to the point where many people use the word "Pergo" to identify laminated wood floors of all companies, like the registered trademarks "Kleenex" or "Band-Aid" refer to their whole respective category, much to the chagrin of the manufacturers.
Laminated floors can be beautiful when installed and are a great budget option, however they may not be as durable. And, laminated wood floors also come in a range of quality. Very few, if any, can be refinished, though most laminated floors are prefinished with a very durable wear layer. While I like the look of a well-installed laminated floor, I don't care for the sound it may make as you walk across! It's a higher pitched "clip-clip" sound, rather than the deeper sound you may recognize as solid wood floors.
Gray is a new trend for wood floors. Thanks to popularity of modern, contemporary and mid-century styles, people are looking for new colors than just "wood" tones but still want the grain to show. Kentwood has a beautiful smoky finish over maple (shown here) that is neutral gray in tone, but very rich and warm and amazing when installed.
Kentwood has this color in solid hardwood as well as less expensive engineered products. There are even darker and lighter grays. Perfect under area rugs and in modern and contemporary environments, you'll be seeing the new grays for many years to come!
Until next time!
Images courtesy of Kentwood Floors. The gray floor closeup is their "Maple Cannon Beach" color in the Kentwood Originals line.