Tag Archives: engineered wood

Should You Settle for Laminate?

oak laminateRight after September 11th, the federal government did everything they could think of to get people back in the air. More recently, the push has been to get folks to spend, in order to try and jump-start our sputtering economy. Air traffic soon returned to normal, but that has not been the case with consumer spending over the past couple years. Wherever possible, major purchases are being postponed or scaled back. This is also true in the area of home remodeling.

Not long ago, the construction industry couldn’t keep up with new home construction and anyone looking for a contractor to do a remodeling project was often out of luck. Today, there are plenty of craftsmen available but people are extremely cautious about how they are willing to spend their money.

The good news for homeowners is that merchants are so eager for sales that there are good deals out there on counter-top upgrades and new appliances with all the latest bells and whistles. A little research and a fair amount of patience may be all it takes to even find that Jacuzzi tub that you’ve always wanted for the master bathroom.

When it comes to flooring, however, to upgrade to something like the richness of a solid walnut floor or the warm glow of the solid maple or oak planks that you’ve always envisioned, the cost is still significant. The uncertainty of the economy has resulted in a reluctance to make such an investment. Many have looked to less expensive alternates.

Products like walnut and oak laminate flooring have been around for over thirty years. Although promoted as wood laminate, the wood part is in the name only. These imitations are actually created by applying a photograph over a fiber board and resin composite and then sealing with a clear coating. The process has gotten far more sophisticated through the years. Not only are products available that have the appearance of most hardwoods, there are also those with the look of brick or stone. Some of the higher-end offerings even come with a textured surface.

While the real estate boom was in full swing, the trend was to rip out carpets and pull up imitation flooring and replace with real hardwoods or engineered wood. Whether the current hesitancy is a temporary thing or a sign that homeowners are making a long-term choice to settle for less than the home of their dreams remains to be seen.