If you’re after a new timber-look floor for your home or office, you have a range of options— from engineered timber to vinyl planks and laminate. But another innovative solution worth considering is hybrid flooring, and in this article we’ll explore what it is, how it’s constructed, the benefits, and what to look for when choosing this type of flooring.
How hybrid flooring is constructed
Using cutting edge manufacturing technologies, hybrid flooring is typically manufactured by pressing four layers of material together. These include:
- Top layer—this is a protective coating that is commercially graded, and makes floors durable, easy to clean, and protected against UV light, stains, heavy impact, and scratches.
- Embossed decorative layer—advanced printing technology can fashion hybrid flooring into tailored designs, including the look and feel of tile, wood, marble and concrete.
- Core board—this layer gives hybrid floors a solid feel and makes them waterproof, heat-resistant and able to withstand rapid temperature changes. It generally comes in two types: a wood plastic composite (WPC) made from PVC and recycled wood, and a stone plastic composite (SPC) made from stabilisers, limestone, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
- Acoustic underlay—most hybrid floors have this bottom layer pre-attached, which can dampen sound, make them more comfortable to walk on, and eliminate the need for an additional underlayment.
The benefits of hybrid flooring
Hybrid flooring is a unique combination of being waterproof (like vinyl), rigid, and scratch-resistant (like laminate). Other benefits include:
- It can be wet-mopped, and can be installed throughout your entire home, including wet areas like the kitchen, bathroom and laundry.
- It can be laid on top of existing tiles, which can reduce the cost of installation and eliminate the need for expensive adhesives.
- It is highly durable and scratch and dent-resistant, even in high traffic areas.
- It’s easy to maintain, and because floorboards click together, there aren’t any gaps where dirt can become trapped.
- It can be easily repaired as floorboards can be unclicked and replaced.
- It comes in a range of styles and colours and smooth and embossed finishes.
- It maintains its quality and colour over time due to a UV-resistant topcoat and the use of fade-resistant dyes.
- It’s quiet and comfortable to walk on and provides excellent thermal insulation.
- It’s affordable!
What to look for when choosing hybrid flooring
If you’ve decided hybrid flooring is the way to go, you should also consider the benefits different brands offer (something our experienced staff can help with!) These include:
The size of the planks
There are three available sizes of hybrid flooring on the market: 1.2, 1.5 and 1.8 metres. Larger planks are trending at the moment because of their aesthetics. This is primarily because there are less joins, so they create a more streamlined look.
The click system
One of the key benefits of hybrid flooring is that no glue is used in the installation process. This optimises the time it takes to install and reduces the cost of labour. The ideal size for a hybrid flooring click system is a width of more than 180mm (called the 5G system). This system will lock the boards regardless of the external pressure direction, which can occur when subfloors aren’t perfectly level.
Whether it has real EIR
If the flooring has visible grains and knots, you will probably feel them when you walk on the flooring. This is the EIR, and it refers to the embossed effects that can be gained by including an extra stage in the manufacturing process.
How much it costs
In Australia, hybrid flooring can cost from $35 per square metre up to $55 per square metre. Then you’ll need to add in the cost of installation. For a straightforward installation, it can cost between $25 and $30 per square metre. However, installation costs also depend on the type of “click system” used, and whether preparatory work needs to be done. This includes removing old floors, preparing sub-floors, and the removal and possible reinstallation of skirting boards.