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Wood floors are gorgeous, but retaining the good looks comes with the price of maintenance. Wood floors and water don’t mix well, either, and leaks big and small can possibly cause serious headaches to homeowners with hardwood floors.

Enter a new alternative, the wood-mimicking vinyl such as Downs H2O, a luxury vinyl plank floor system that makes you reconsider all you thought you knew about vinyl floors.

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“The latest technology strengthens the flooring so it stands up to heavy traffic,” said Nelson Green of Flooring America.

With the look of hardwood, the durability of tile and the easy care of vinyl, Downs H2O represents the best of all worlds. New manufacturing processes allowed for the development of this superior product.

“Waterproof vinyl planks are one of the hottest categories in the industry,” said Green.

“Downs is one of the best.”

It may well be the perfect floor, particularly for homes where kids and pets can be extremely tough on hardwood floors. Unlike wood floors, Downs H2O is guaranteed 100 percent waterproof, so grape juice spills and Fido’s little “accidents” can be just wiped up without any worries. They’re tailor made for spaces such as bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms, where water is a part of life.

“You wouldn’t believe the number of clients we see every month that have to change their floors because of a flood,” said Green.

“With Downs H2O, if the icemaker breaks or the washing machine has a problem, there will be no damage done to the floor.”

The exceptional watertight seal between the planks is guaranteed never to loosen, which prevents mold and other microorganisms to form. Dirt and dust won’t get into the seams, either. They offer superior resistance to scuffs and stains. Just sweep and mop for gleaming floors.

Beyond the durability and ease of maintenance is the comfort, since every H2O plank is backed with comfy-feeling, sound-deadening cork.

“It makes the floor very comfortable and very quiet,” added Nelson.

“You don’t get that hollow sound that you do with some laminate floors.”

Warm in winter, cool in summer, the floor always feels pleasant to the touch.

Because they constitute a floating floor, Downs’ planks can be installed over most existing flooring with no adhesive required, making it a very viable alternative for do-it-yourself homeowners. There is no need for any messy glues, mastic or grout, which can also considerably add to the total cost, and since you don’t need a separate underlayment, you save on that expense, too!

The long and wide planks click together easily, making installation a breeze for anyone with even moderate home improvement chops.

“It’s a very good do-it-yourself project,” added Green.

Homeowners who prefer professional installation can benefit, too, since the system costs considerably less to have the pros install it than wood or tile floors do. Because the existing floor can remain in place, there is no need to incur the significant additional cost, not to mention that huge inconvenience, that comes with having to rip out the existing floor.

As a full-service flooring company, Flooring America counts on a staff of installation pros who can transform tired, faded floors into easily and affordably. Flooring America has many of the vinyl plank floors in stock, ready for immediate installation.

A dozen different color and design options make Downs H2O suitable for any space, whether traditional or contemporary. In addition to the durability of the material, the vinyl planks are handsome, too. Downs’ Drago Wirebrushed pattern, for example, looks for all the world like hand-finished, distressed wood.

Whether you want to create the look of a Mediterranean villa or an urban loft, Downs H2O offers the appeal of real wood without the unappealing cost. Bold and beautiful, the planks carry the sensory detail that makes real hardwood, with its grain and knots, so pleasant to the touch.

“You feel these vinyl planks and you can feel the texture of wood,” said Green.

Of course, Downs H2O is not the only player in the waterproof vinyl plank market.

Flooring America carries several other major manufacturers, thus offering a price range that fits most budgets. Cost for these types of floors range from around two to seven or eight dollars per square foot. Downs H2O is considered mid-range.

High-traffic locations such as restaurants, stores and even theme parks such as Disney

World have quickly embraced these types of flooring. Now individual consumers are also getting on the waterproof vinyl plank bandwagon.

“This is a product everyone loves,” said Green.

Flooring America is at 2780 N. Harbor City Blvd., Melbourne. For more information, call 321-622-3143.