Lead image: Bentley Flooring vinyl tiles (available from Stories Flooring)

Flooring comes in many shapes and sizes, which means you can find the perfect style and durability for any room in your house, no matter your budget. But it does make it tricky to decide what’s best.

Do you want the beauty and warmth of natural hardwood flooring? Or do you want something that’s more durable and easy to maintain? Or what about those quirky vinyl tiles you’ve seen on TV?

Thinking about durability and maintenance is a good place to begin…

engineered wood flooring
vs hardwood flooring

Hardwood flooring is, quite simply, lovely. It adds a natural warmth and timeless appeal to your property, but the upkeep can be tricky.

Engineered hardwood flooring, on the other hand, is a fantastic alternative as, for starters, it’s cheaper, but it’s also stronger, water resistant and easier to maintain.

It also looks pretty much like hardwood flooring, since the top layer actually is real solid wood – unlike laminate flooring.

Beneath the solid wood surface layer you have a plywood base construction, which will tolerate variations in temperature. This means that engineered hardwood flooring can be used with underfloor heating or in places like conservatories, utility rooms and lofts which can get much warmer or colder than other rooms.

Engineered hardwood flooring tends to come with a click-fitting system too, making it quick and easy to install – perfect for a bank holiday weekend DIY project.

laminate FLOORING

Flooring comes in many shapes and forms these days, and vinyl and laminate offer a huge variety of value-for-money finishes that are pretty tough, making them perfect for busy households with kids and pets.

Vinyl flooring has many advantages, it’s durable, waterproof, will never need waxing – which makes maintenance easy – and can be cleaned using steam mops or wet mops.

Its durability makes it ideal for busy spots like the kitchen, and vinyl flooring comes in a huge variety of finishes – from wooden and parquet effect to Alhambra tiles and more abstract styles.

While laminate floors are equally durable, you’re more limited in styles and cleaning is a little trickier. Laminate can chip and scratch, too, just like hardwood floors.

Having said that, vinyl flooring isn’t completely immune to damage – dragging heavy furniture across it, for example, can lead to tears.

If you’re adventurous in your interior design, or want to recreate something you’ve seen on TV or in a swanky hotel on a limited budget, then either vinyl or laminate flooring would be great options for you.

Luxury vinyl tiles by Bentley Flooring, available from Stories Flooring


Stories Flooring, which has featured on Grand Designs, moneysavingexpert.com and houzz.co.uk, as well as in Ideal Home and the FT, has supplied famous flooring brands such as Amtico, Quick-Step and Lifestyle for several years.

Now, the Yorkshire-based flooring specialist has now ventured into engineered and solid wood flooring, launching a new collection of engineered wood flooring – the Bentley Eco Laminate Collection, designed with luxury and affordability in mind.

The laminate collection is designed to look like real hardwood flooring, with natural imperfections such as knots and mineral streaks. Designs range from the traditional natural wood effect through to more contemporary finishes like grey oak.

Both the Eco and Eco Plus collections are water resistant, making them perfect for kitchens and bathrooms. The Eco plus range is thicker and therefore better suited to business use and areas of the home where footfall is a little heavier. The standard Eco range is better suited to domestic use. Both come with a 20-year guarantee.

Bentley Flooring is also available in vinyl, with a wide range of different species, designs and finishes, this collection is ideal for the modern family. The vinyl collection is highly durable, slip resistant and comes in 12 striking designs that boast a realistic wooden effect.