Interior Flooring

8 Times “Wood Look” Is as Good as (Or Better Than) the Real Deal

Even if you have your heart set on a real wood floor, it's worth considering options that look, feel, and even outperform hardwood. The following content is paid advertising created in partnership with Lumber Liquidators. Its facts and opinions are those of

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Hardwood isn't a hard-and-fast first pick anymore.

There’s no doubt about it: Wood flooring is wonderful. It adds warmth, luxury, and beauty to virtually any interior—and that’s why the flooring industry has worked so diligently to develop synthetic alternatives that replicate that real-deal aesthetic. Today, those efforts have really paid off, with quality products that deliver on many levels. Wood-look flooring now not only meets but, in certain applications, surpasses hardwood! Ready to become a believer? Keep reading to see how “good as wood” can be the best flooring for your needs.

When looks count…

Much of the allure of natural wood derives from its distinctive texture and grain. Now, thanks to innovations in digital photography and printing, you can get the wood-grain look without the wood. New offerings like this faux walnut porcelain tile from Lumber Liquidators will make you do a double take, surprised to see the swirls, whorls, and striations of real wood flooring transferred so realistically to vinyl, porcelain, and laminate—materials that promise great performance, value, and ease of care. 

If your budget is limited…

Building and remodeling projects often require balancing scrimps and splurges, so costs are a constant concern. Hardwood flooring generally starts at around $5 per square foot and can run as high as $15 for exotic species like mahogany. Then you need to add on another $5 to $8 per square foot for installation. Meanwhile, luxury vinyl plank (LVP) runs between $2 and $5 per square foot, materials only. For instance, this sycamore-patterned luxury vinyl plank flooring from
Lumber Liquidators runs $1.87 per square foot. But with its easy click installation, you can save money by doing it yourself. And while you’re adding up costs, remember that upkeep is pricier for hardwood, so if you don’t want to break the bank, faux may be the way to go.

When there’s a risk of warping…

Exposure to water or to seasonal changes in humidity can damage hardwood floors, causing them to warp or split. Some kinds of damage—for instance, cupping, where the edges of a plank curl up—can be fixed, but more severe warping generally requires replacement. That’s why waterproof flooring like
this malted oak LVP
makes an excellent alternative to hardwood, especially in moisture-prone spaces like kitchens, bathrooms, and entryways. Easy to care for and 100 percent plastic, LVP offers warp-free security with the visual and tactile qualities of woods like oak, maple, and even a rich Brazilian cherry.

If you hope to stave off scratches…

Do you fear the effect of Fido’s claws on your floors? Alas, your pup’s paws aren’t the only potential threat to hardwood: Kids’ toys, heavy or wheeled furniture, high heels, and all the grit that shoes track in from the street can scratch, dent, and otherwise damage wood floors. Durable EVP, with its vinyl top, rigid core, and cork underlayment, can take this wear and keep looking great. It’s scratch-resistant and has a nice sense of “give,” which makes it feel good underfoot. Slightly more expensive than LVP, EVP is ideal for children’s playrooms, entryways, and other high-traffic areas. This
walnut hickory finish EVP flooring from Lumber Liquidators
, for example, could stand up to years of abuse by toddler and pooch alike.

When you’re too busy for maintenance…

Do you love the idea of a beautifully maintained home but haven’t got the bandwidth for the upkeep wood floors demand? Sounds like a job for wood-look porcelain tile! Brands like Avella offer the appearance and luxury of wood with the low-maintenance, fade-free, long-lasting benefits of tile. The secret to a successful installation is grout that blends right in with the tile for a seamless appearance. Wood-look porcelain tile cleans quickly and easily—just vacuum up dust and debris, and damp mop when necessary—and it never needs refinishing. Consider this worry-free flooring for your dining room, den, or any room where you want the wonders of wood with the joys of an easy cleanup.

If DIY is your passion…

If you’re all about sweat equity and broadening your skill set, you’ll want to install your own floor. But unless you’ve got some serious carpentry chops—not to mention access to specialized tools, including a flooring nailer and a hardwood floor sander—laying hardwood is best left to the pros. Laminate (made from wood fibers and melamine) is a much easier material for do-it-yourselfers because it’s a “floating” floor that locks together without nails or glue. Laminate can be laid on top of many existing floors, making installation cleaner and less time-consuming. What about appearance? Well, take a look for yourself: This durable laminate from Dream Home is available with the texture and grain of
(pictured here), walnut, oak, and more for a realistic wood look that wows!

When you want to cover concrete…

While it’s possible to put real wood on top of concrete—in a basement, say, or a first-floor kitchen in a house built on a slab—precautions must be taken to avoid moisture-related warping. As well, once you’ve installed the hardwood along with the ¾-inch plywood subfloor that needs to go beneath it, you could end up with clearance issues that interfere with doors and appliances. Both LVP and EVP can be installed directly on top of concrete, providing the look and feel of natural wood without the potential problems.

If you crave creature comforts…

Hardwood is, well, hard—and walking on it day in and day out can be rough on folks with back pain, sore feet, achy joints, and other physical problems. What’s more, despite its warm looks, wood can get mighty cold in winter, and cranking up the heat or installing radiant heating below could lead to warping. Fortunately, laminate planks can give you the beauty of wood without the discomfort. They float over a thin foam pad or rubbery underlayment for a soothing bit of “give” underfoot. Laminate won’t get as cold as wood, either. If you like your home toasty, a water-resistant laminate like the 
AquaSeal Antique Wood Medley could be a good option.

But, when it’s got to be the genuine article…

Despite the looks, durability, and functionality of laminate, porcelain, LVP, and EVP, some homeowners will be satisfied only with the natural charm and longevity of a real wood floor, one that can be renewed again and again with sanding, staining, and polishing. Installing a wood floor is still a great investment. Come resale time, hardwood flooring can potentially add 2.5 percent to the price of your home, according to Fortunately, there are wood floor bargains to be had if you shop wisely.
Lumber Liquidators
is the place to go for name brands like Mayflower, Bellawood, and Virginia Mill Works, with prices as low as $3 per square foot for radiant red oak. Whatever you choose, the real deal or “good as wood,” you’re sure to find the perfect flooring at the best possible price!