With so many different flooring options to choose from, finding the perfect one for you can be a truly difficult task! To make things a little easier, we’re going to explore a flooring that’s growing in popularity – hybrid flooring.
We’ll cover just about everything you’ll need to know about hybrid flooring from costs and cleaning to a breakdown of pros and cons. But let’s kick things off with the key question – what is hybrid flooring?
What is hybrid flooring?
Just as the name suggests, hybrid flooring uses a blend of materials to create a single product. At its simplest, it can be helpful to think of it as a blend of laminate and vinyl flooring, created with the intention of taking the very best of these popular flooring types, all while avoiding their downsides.
Hybrid flooring is made up of four different layers:
- Protective layer – this is the top layer, protecting the floor from heavy foot traffic, scratches, and general wear. It’s this layer that helps ensure the floor is built to last.
- Decorative/aesthetic layer – this is the design and colour that you’ll see across the floor. Constantly improving technology means that this layer looks more like actual wood than ever before.
- Inner core/stability layer – this layer comes as either a Wood Plastic Composite (WPC) or a Stone Plastic Composite (SPC). This is what makes the hybrid flooring waterproof and resistant to temperature changes.
- Underlayment/backing barrier layer – this layer is usually made from cork or rubber and is designed to help insulate heat and sound. It’s also part of what makes hybrid flooring so easy to install.
How much does hybrid flooring cost?
Obviously, the cost of a brand-new hybrid floor will vary from project to project. You’ll need to keep in mind the size of the space you’re working with, as well as the type of core you’re looking for and the method of creating that decorative layer.
WPC cores are generally pricier than SPC, because they use recycled materials. They’re also more popular in general, which increases demand. In terms of that aesthetic layer, printed layers are cheaper than alternative decorative methods, such as using vinyl. Higher-end products naturally mean a higher-end price tag.
If you’re planning on having someone install the floor for you, you’ll also need to factor in their labour costs.
As a rough guide, you can expect to pay anywhere between $35 and $60 per square metre of hybrid flooring, with an installation cost of around $25 to $30 per square metre. This is, of course, just an estimate, and you’ll get a much more accurate idea of what you could be paying by taking the appropriate measurements, shopping around, and reaching out to suppliers in your area.
What are some of the advantages to hybrid flooring?
Now that we know a little bit more about hybrid flooring, let’s take a dive into some of the pros and cons of this particular flooring type.
Hybrid floors are durable and designed to last. They’re a popular choice for commercial spaces due to their ability to stand up to high foot traffic, which also makes them ideal for busy homes too. They’re waterproof, heat and stain resistant, and relatively well protected against scratches – though, as with any flooring of this style, you’ll want to move heavy furniture carefully and likely invest in some protective pads for furniture feet. You’ll also want to keep your pet’s claws well-trimmed too!
You’ll be able to choose from a huge array of styles, colours, and woodgrains for your hybrid floors. Visit a local showroom to get a glimpse of what’s on offer.
As a type of floating floor, hybrid flooring is relatively flexible, with a pleasant underfoot feel.
Hybrid floors offer great acoustic insulation – perfect for loud playtime and lots of foot traffic! They’re also pretty good when it comes to thermal insulation too.
Easy to install
Hybrid flooring uses a simple click-lock installation method that can be done by just about anyone. This makes it a great DIY option and also means it has the potential to be renter-friendly, as it can be installed over an existing floor. You can check out our guide to installing laminate flooring right here – the concept is very much the same!
The click-lock installation also means it’s relatively easy to replace individual boards if they become damaged over time. You’ll need to take up a few planks to reach any damaged ones, but they’ll easily snap back into place once you’re done.
Easy to clean
This flooring type is relatively easy to maintain, and if you get a good routine in place, you’ll be able to enjoy all the above benefits for years to come!
Weekly sweeping and vacuuming should keep you covered for the most part, with a regular mopping every now and again, and whenever there’s a spill. Avoid using a steam mop, and instead run a damp mop over the area. The floors should dry relatively quickly on their own.
Soft microfibre mops and gentle, natural cleaners are ideal – they’re not only good for the floor, but for the environment too!
What about disadvantages?
An inauthentic look
While there’s a lot of variety and styles when it comes to hybrid flooring, some people might find their look a little inauthentic, especially when compared to traditional wood flooring. With advancements in printing, this is becoming less of an issue, but you might find things like repeated woodgrains across the planks – something that natural wood would not have.
This is one that affects many floor types, not just hybrid! Extended exposure to light – whether natural or otherwise – can result in discolouration, as well as the use of latex and rubber mats (like the ones you might use under pet bowls). Curtains, blinds, rugs, and non-staining mats can help manage this.
Limited DIY opportunities
Hybrid flooring isn’t designed to be sanded, recoated, or changed in any way. This means that to make drastic changes to your floor, you’ll need to install a whole new system. Hybrid flooring’s longevity and durability means this likely won’t be a problem for most people, but if you’re looking change the aesthetic entirely, you’ll have to shop around for something new!
Specific sub-floor requirements
You’ll need to make sure that the sub-floor is perfectly level before installing your hybrid flooring. If you try to install over an uneven surface, your new floor will end up irregular too, with the planks unable to snap together properly.
It’s also worth remembering that when installing any type of floating floor, you’re going to be adding height to your existing base. This can potentially cause issues with doors and built-in furniture.
So, is hybrid flooring right for you?
The right flooring depends on a myriad of factors, but hopefully, you’ll now have a better idea of whether or not hybrid flooring will work for your home. Reaching out to a professional for more advice or to get a quote is always a good idea, and you can also check out some of our other blog posts for further information. For alternatives to hybrid flooring, we recommend our hybrid flooring vs vinyl planks breakdown and our Ultimate Carpet Buying Guide, which includes a detailed comparison between carpet and wood flooring.