Beyond Hardwood: Exploring Unique Flooring Materials

Wooden floors are so common and hyped in the UK that homeowners often forget that there are a whole lot of other material options for covering their floors. From glue-down LVT to laminate flooring, here are 4 flooring options beyond hardwood.

Let’s dive into them

LVT stands for Luxury Vinyl Tile and represents the new generation of PVC floors with an edge. These luxurious vinyl tiles are distinguished from classic PVC by their shape, already cut into a tile, which allows for easy and intuitive installation using glue. Whereas traditional PVC is sold in large rolls and installed in its entirety, so doesn’t look as aesthetically pleasing.

What differentiates LVT from PVC even further is its high creative potential, which lends itself to the creation of decorations, motifs, and large floors inside the home, transforming a simple and economical material into a luxurious flooring option. LVT “tiles” are also of higher graphic quality and allow interior designers to create faux-natural patterns, such as that of wooden planks or marble stones.

Laminate flooring is one of the most sought-after alternatives to hardwood. It is also made from mostly synthetic materials, but unlike vinyl flooring, which uses PVC, laminate flooring uses recycled wood as a base layer. Additionally, it is similar to SPC in both installation method and appearance, being flooring that mimics authentic hardwood very well. 

It’s a sturdy and durable material with a lifespan of between 10 to 30 years depending on the quality you go for. However, the downside of laminate is that it can be damaged by water, so it is important to avoid using wet cloths for cleaning and minimising moisture as a whole. If you need a versatile floor that easily matches any decor, laminate flooring is ideal as it is available in a wide range of colours, from darker woods, such as walnut, to lighter oaks and ash colours.

SPC (Stone Plastic Composite) floors are among the most modern and innovative solutions, which bring with them a series of practical, aesthetical, and functional advantages. This material has a transparent layer above, which ensures protection from scratches and stains. Below this, there is a layer of vinyl, which can be designed as desired (wood, stone, tiles, or any other patterns), then a layer of SPC, which provides rigidity and stability to the core, and a final base layer of in-built underlay that guarantees soundproofing up to 20DB and cushioning. 

SPC floor contains all the advantages of the various flooring types. It’s rigid like stone, water-resistant like tiles, and beautiful like hardwood. It is more stable and rigid than classic vinyl flooring and has an excellent level of waterproofing, which goes hand in hand with easy maintenance. Since it is not porous, it does not stain and can be washed with normal detergents. 
Thanks to its click-to-install properties, it can be easily installed on any type of surface, from concrete to ceramic, or on an existing hardwood surface, anything as long as the subfloor is completely smooth and level. SPC is made from approximately 60% calcium carbonate (limestone), polyvinyl chloride, and plasticizers. It is completely waterproof, allowing it to be installed in environments where resistance to water or humidity is required.

Vinyl is a floor covering sold in sheets, planks, or tiles. It is often confused with linoleum, but it is a little more expensive than the latter. It can be installed directly on several materials, such as ceramic, concrete, or wood. It is a multi-layered material with the uppermost layer made up of vinyl coating, while the lower layers consist of a printed layer, a glass fibre layer, and a backing layer, often made of felt.
This multi-layered structure makes it very resistant and easy to maintain, and is highly water resistant. It comes in a multitude of patterns that can perfectly imitate hardwood or marble but at a much lower cost, making it a perfect hardwood alternative. 

If you want to change the look of your home and floor without moving doors, then opt for vinyl. This flooring is a thin sheet of vinyl with a thickness varying between 2 and 4 mm (depending on the installation), therefore allows easy installation without altering the height of the doors or windows.
Furthermore, it is an ecological flooring option because it is made up of 100% recyclable materials. The only downside of vinyl flooring is that it’s not as durable as hardwood or SPC and has a life of 5 to 15 years, while, in comparison, the latter options can last upwards of 30 years.

Ending Lines

Hardwood flooring remains a highly popular option for the UK household. However, looking beyond hardwood, homeowners can find materials that are not only affordable but also provide a modern touch to their homes. Be it LVTs, SPCs, vinyl or laminate, each one of the above-mentioned materials can be a perfect hardwood alternative offering a range of advantages.

If you want to mix up your home’s flooring to move away from hardwood, head over to The Flooring Outlet for high-quality flooring options, as described in this article.


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