Tile // Cabinetry // Stone // Kitchens // Bathrooms
I love hard wood floors. I love the appearance, the warmth, the relative softness of touch, I even love the smell and the way natural light cascades across them. In certain parts of the country, there is no acceptable substitute. Southern living however, Florida in particular, presents a variety of impediments as to why this choice of flooring may not be ideal for your home.
Water, humidity, sand, termites, not to mention children and pets, leave many homeowners seeking alternatives. Ceramic and porcelain wood grain looks have been readily available in the market for 20 years. It was not until the advent of digital printing however, that they have gained such immense popularity and acclaim. The degree of realism attainable is incredible. There is virtually no limitation to the range of color, depth, texture, or grain appearance a well-equipped factory can produce. Nature can be near perfectly re-created or blended into concepts only the imagination could contrive. It is the durability and ease of maintenance of these products that can tip the scales with many potential buyers.
In my own experience, I have seen the results of improperly cared for wood floors. Unfortunately for most of us “proper care” is simply not attainable. Every household in my family contains multiple children, dogs, and a significant water hazard. You don’t need to be near the ocean, a lake or even have a pool however, as a leaky toilet, dishwasher or AC unit can do commensurate damage. Man made wood looks are not only impervious to water damage, but to scratching, denting, scrapping and tarnishing. They are cool to your feet in all seasons (a big plus in Florida) and will never require re-finishing. With a precision cut edge, the grout line can be mitigated to the point it is inconsequential. There are endless sizes and shapes available and coupled with the use of sound and crack isolation membranes, they become virtually indestructible.
With all of that being said, I will have hard wood floors (albeit hand scraped and distressed) in the kitchen of my new home under construction. My wife would not be swayed. My kids, dogs and appliances will have to learn to be more accommodating. In the end it always comes down to personal preference. Do your homework and evaluate what is best for your style of living. There are selections to fit most every budget whether you go natural or synthetic. Be thrilled with your decision as the hope is that your choice endures the test of time.