Hardwood vs. Laminate Wood Flooring

Modern Farmhouse Pine wood flooring in a Foyer

The flooring of a home is one of its defining features. It is the one feature that people notice and love for its natural, inviting beauty. Wood flooring still remains as one of the most popular flooring options on the market, however, laminate flooring is gaining popularity for its natural wood look but at a much lower price point.

When deciding between hardwood vs. laminate flooring and what is better for your home, there are several pros and cons to consider.

  1. Cost
  2. Durability
  3. Cleaning
  4. Installation
  5. Resale Value

Cost

Let’s face it, we all would love to put into our homes the most luxurious hardwood flooring that money can buy, however, this is not always practical or realistic. The reality is we select items based off what we can afford, whether or not it falls within our budget and if it is the proper fit for our lifestyle. Cost is one of the top considerations when deciding which flooring type is best suited for you.

Hardwood: PROS – Hands down hardwood flooring looks absolutely stunning in any room you place it in. From different wood specie, textures and colors you are bound to find one that works with your interior. CONS – Hardwood flooring is made of harvested trees and pricing depends on the type of wood you choose. Generally, hardwood is considerably higher to buy and to install.

Laminate: PROS – Laminate wood flooring is made from composite wood pressed together at high temperatures. The image of hardwood is then placed over the composite wood, covering it to form the laminate. Not only are the materials themselves cheaper, but laminate wood installation cost is, on average, 50 percent less than hardwood installation. Prices will vary depending on the types of materials used and the size of your home.

Durability

Think about the areas where you are going to be placing the flooring. Is that area a low or high traffic area? What kinds of wear and tear is the flooring going to receive? Do you have kids? Do you have pets? Keep in mind a more durable surface is easier to maintain and will look great for years to come.

Hardwood: PROS – Hardwood is beautiful, durable and depending on the type of wood you choose, it can add considerable value to your home. CONS – Hardwood is really susceptible to scratching and can get damaged from excessive moisture and will show wear, especially in heavily trafficked areas.

Laminate: PROS – Since laminate is made from pressed wood, it is more durable and resists scratches, moisture and wear and tear. Laminate flooring is also easier to clean. CONS – Even though laminate is more durable, it is not as visually appealing as real wood floors. Higher qualities of laminate offer very realistic looking alternatives to real wood flooring while the lower qualities of laminate tend to have an artificial-looking wood grain texture to them.

Repair & Installation

From time to time all floors regardless of materials need to be repaired. Harwood and laminate flooring has its own pros and cons for repairs.

Hardwood: PROS– Hardwood looks beautiful no matter where it is place in your home and can increase the value and appeal to future buyers. Also, hardwood flooring can be repaired more easily than laminate flooring by sanding out the imperfections and then refinishing the floor with a stain color of your choice. CONS– Harwood flooring tends to fade more easily when exposed to sunlight. Make sure that where you are placing your new wood floors that your windows have a UV protectant on them to slow this fading process down.

Laminate PROS– Laminate floors are very durable and hold up well in high traffic areas of the home. It is virtually scratch resistant and can withstand moisture better than hardwood. Because of the top coat that is placed on laminate flooring it does not fade as easily in the sun as real wood flooring tends to do. CONS – Laminate flooring doesn’t repair easily. If you buy flooring that comes in individual pieces and snaps together, you may be able to replace individual boards — although, depending where it was placed in your home sunlight and age may have caused the flooring to fade and the new replacement boards may not match properly.

Now that you know the pros and cons of natural wood flooring vs laminate flooring I hope that you find it a little easier to make an educated decision when the time comes to select new floors for your home. I am sure that whatever flooring type you decide to use it will be the right choice for you!

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