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Karndean Designflooring Versus Solid Hardwood

Posted on the 9/24/2019 by Karndean Designflooring

When considering flooring options for your home, you should consider your home style, your budget, and perhaps most importantly your lifestyle. Although hardwood is a beautiful and classic floor covering, it is not the right choice for everyone, especially if you are always on the go. With Karndean Designflooring you can have a durable and waterproof luxury vinyl tile in a unique design that combines the best details that nature has to offer, and in an original design you won't find anywhere else. Let’s see how Karndean Designflooring compares with hardwood.

American chestnut barn ceiling on the left and a close up of our Reclaimed Chestnut EW21 design on the right
Authentic American Chestnut, our Reclaimed Chestnut EW21 design

Design Inspiration

Karndean Designflooring is renowned for its originally developed product designs. Our product development team travels the world in search of expressive and intriguing natural forms and incorporates these features into our designs. These forms include rare and exotic woods, protected woods that can no longer be harvested, and woods that do not make a practical floor covering. Each of our product designs has its own unique history and story to tell. 

For example, the new American Chestnut design in our Art Select range was developed from floor joists, granary boards and rafters recovered from traditional east coast barns. Natural American Chestnut is extremely difficult (and expensive) to come by. American Chestnut was wiped out by the "chestnut blight," an infestation that became the greatest ecological disaster in forestry, and most chestnut you see used in hardwood today is actually Asian Chestnut, which was unaffected by the blight. The American Chestnut boards salvaged by our team feature an array of a characterful cracks and worm holes, and the unpolished look they possess is replicated in our products by a subtle matte finish. We offer our American Chestnut design in two colors: Reclaimed Chestnut EW21 and Salvaged Chestnut EW22.

Product Development

Solid hardwood floors are sorted by wood grade, which categorizes wood by its appearance. Select grade wood has the most uniform appearance and very little knots, while character grade has more knots and color variation, with other grades in-between. When purchasing, you are limited to buy within a particular wood grade, but our product development team combines features of different grades of wood into one design to create an appealing and balanced floor.

Example of a Plain Swan tree and a Quarter Sawn treeExample of a Rift sawn tree and a live sawn tree
Graphic courtesy of Macon Hardwood

In addition to different wood grades, there are also different cuts of hardwood: plain sawn, quarter sawn, rift sawn and live sawn. Depending on the cut, if there is a knot or defect in a felled tree, you will see this marking repeated in every so many planks. With Karndean Designflooring LVT, our manufacturing technique minimizes the possibility of producing two identical planks.

Customization Options

Left: Australian Walnut RP41 with Block border; Right: Urban Spotted Gum KP141 in a herringbone pattern with full plank border and Chalk design strip
Australian Walnut RP41 with Block border, Urban Spotted Gum KP141 with full plank border and Chalk design strip

Due to install cost, hardwood flooring is typically laid one way, perpendicular to your floor joists, which limits your input into the overall look and feel of your floor. Karndean Designflooring can be laid in virtually any way imaginable and remain affordable. With the added options of our design strips and borders, you can create your own personalized floor. 

Practical Benefits of LVT

Left: Dad cleaning up floor by a toddler eating in a highchair; Right: Great dane puppy drinking and spilling water out of a bowl in the kitchen

Aside from the unique design benefits of our LVT, there are many practical benefits as well. While solid hardwood can only be installed on- or above-grade, we offer three LVT constructions (gluedown, loose lay and rigid core) that allow you to get the look of hardwood in rooms like basements, which typically have too much moisture for hardwood to be installed. 

If you have young children or pets at home, you need a floor that can handle toys, claws and other forms of everyday wear and tear. While hardwood is easily susceptible to scratching, our LVT has a clear PVC embossed wear layer topped with our K-Guard+® surface protection, which provides hygienic, durable surface protection that is easy to clean. With hardwood, any spills must be wiped up immediately; but all Karndean Designfloors are waterproof, and will not swell, crack or warp when wet. 

Every day cleaning is a breeze with our LVT; simply use a broom or dust mop. While we do offer our own line of cleaning products, water and a pH neutral cleaner are all you need if you wish to damp mop our products. See more information about the cleaning and maintenance of our products. With hardwood, you need to use specialized cleaners and need to be extremely careful when damp mopping.

Hardwood is a traditional, authentic flooring option. But if you are looking for a floor that combines the best features created by nature and requires less upkeep and budget, Karndean Designflooring LVT is the best fit for your lifestyle.