Which flooring is right for you? Hardwood, laminate, tile, vinyl or eco-friendly choices like cork or bamboo? Our experts explain the 8 most popular types to help you choose.
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Unlike hardwood floors, the material used to create bamboo floors is not a tree, but actually a lightweight woody grass. This fast-growing, regenerating plant has the tensile strength of steel, which makes for a highly durable floor that resists swelling and contraction with changes in humidity. Bamboo flooring is pre-finished and engineered with tongue-and-groove joints, just like standard solid wood flooring. Bamboo is grown in controlled forests and takes just three to five years to reach maturity, as compared to old-growth hardwoods that can take 120 years to grow to full size.
Like bamboo, cork is a green flooring alternative. Another bonus of cork is that the wood's honeycomblike cellular structure gives the flooring a cushiony feel underfoot. This distinctive structural characteristic also causes cork floors to absorb vibrations and sound, and they bounce back if dented. Cork flooring is available in pre-finished tiles in a range of finishes. The tiles have a natural, nonslip surface that makes cork ideal for wet areas like kitchens or bathrooms.