Laminate Vs Hardwood Flooring

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Laminate vs hardwood flooring – it's a dilemma for homeowners. Whether you choose laminate or hardwood flooring, there are pros and cons to both options.This article will be giving you the best information available to make an informed decision about which is better for your needs – here's all you need to know. 

Laminate is a cheaper option

One of the main advantages of choosing laminate flooring over hardwood is that it's much cheaper. It's a great choice when you're on a budget and want to make sure you can afford your dream home. If you have kids or pets, then this is also a good option as it will be easier to clean and replace if damaged. 

While you may think of laminate flooring as ‘fake' or ‘artificial', this isn't true. When installed correctly by professionals, they can last just as long as real wood floors and give them an appearance so realistic that even experts cannot tell which one you've chosen. They are popular for use in kitchens and bathrooms due to their water resistance, and in hallways and bedrooms because they are easier to clean. 

They're easy to maintain

Laminate is easy to take care of as it's very hard wearing, so won't need replacing for a while. Another reason why laminate flooring can last longer than hardwood is that you don't have to use wood cleaners on them as they can be easily cleaned with warm, soapy water or in the washing machine. This makes maintaining your home so much simpler. 

A lot of people worry about moisture damage when choosing between laminate flooring and hardwood. But this isn't an issue if you choose laminate. As long as you keep the room ventilated and use cleaning products specifically designed for laminate flooring, you shouldn't have any problems. 

laminate floor
Image Credit: Kitchen Infinity Photo

Laminate is available in different styles

Another advantage to choosing laminate flooring over hardwood is that it's available in so many designs and colors. You don't just have to pick the same old boring choices of color or style – there are so many more options available to you. Not only do laminates look like real wood; they're also scratch-resistant and made with a high-quality finish that looks good no matter what your home décor may be. You should also consider the question of whether your kitchen countertops should match your flooring style before you continue.

Cons of laminate flooring 

There are some cons of this type of flooring which include: They can squeak as you walk on them if not installed correctly. The seams between planks can be visible and some laminate is quite slippery, so you may need to install a non-slip underlay. It's harder to get an expert finish with laminate flooring as the shadows between each plank often show when it's been installed.

Laminate vs. Solid Hardwood Flooring: Which Is Better?
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Pros of hardwood flooring

The pros for hardwood flooring include: They are available in a wide variety of finishes, designs, and colors They scratch less easily than laminates and if they're treated with the care they can last forever. All this while also having the traditional appearance everyone wants.

If you want a more authentic appearance, then hardwood is probably better for you. Hardwoods can be sanded and finished in just about any way you can think of. They also aren't as slippery, so are easier to walk on. This means it's a good choice for hallways and bedrooms.

Cons of hardwood flooring

The downsides to choosing hardwood floors include: It can cost quite a lot more than laminate hardwoods need regular maintenance, which can include polishing or staining to keep them looking their best. They're also not suitable for kitchens, bathrooms, or areas around sinks because they're more vulnerable to water damage

If you're renting, hardwood flooring is better

If you're planning to sell your home in the future, then hardwood floors will probably be better for you. They are now considered more valuable as it's a traditional option that many people love.

If you have pets or kids then laminate flooring is probably better because it's harder to damage and easier to clean.

So the question is, which is right for you? Ultimately, both options will look good if installed properly by professional fitters.

The biggest difference comes down to price – laminate will be cheaper but won't last quite as long as the real deal. However, with some care and maintenance, either of these can still be enjoyed for years to come.  

If you have pets, laminate may be the better option

Since laminate flooring is made of plastic, it's best to stay away from it if you have pets and kids. Hardwood is certainly better if you want to avoid scratches and scuff marks.

Moreover, if you have pets, it's a good idea to go for laminate as they are safer. Laminate is easier to clean up and can be replaced easily if there are any problems.

On the other hand, if appearance is a big factor in your decision-making process then hardwood will probably be better for you. It offers a more authentic look that many people love. Also, if you don't have any pets or kids running around your home then hardwood floors are probably best for you. They can last a lifetime with proper care. Hardwoods are also easier to walk on than laminates, so they're good for hallways and bedrooms too. This makes them ideal for areas where people go barefoot. In addition, they look amazing and their distinctive grain sets them apart from laminate flooring.

While hardwood flooring is far more expensive than laminate, it should last a lifetime if your home doesn't have huge amounts of foot traffic. They are also much easier to maintain and can be sanded and stained in countless different ways.

Is laminate hardwood flooring as durable as solid wood?

Laminate flooring is a durable, resilient product that will add value to your home. It's also easy to clean and maintain so it can be enjoyed by everyone in the family.

However, if you'd like something that looks more authentic than hardwood flooring may be better for you. Hardwoods look just as good as solid wood when sanded – they even have real-wood grains. They're also very sturdy and are less likely to crack or splinter, unlike laminated floors. However, it will cost much more than laminate.

While they're perfect for high-traffic areas of your house like hallways or landings, it could be worth avoiding them in bathrooms due to scratches and scuff marks. And since laminates are made of plastic, they are more prone to water damage than hardwoods.

Many laminate flooring companies give warranties for their products. However, this will be directly linked to the quality of the brand itself – less reputable brands offering cheap laminate may not last as long as good quality offerings from established firms that use better materials and produce higher standards.

What is the difference between engineered vs solid wood in flooring?

If you’re looking for a comparison  between laminate and hardwood flooring, then this can get confusing because there are many different terms used by manufacturers, as well as different regional usages of these terms. However, solid Wood is made up of 100% real wood pieces. This is the type of wood flooring that you find in old houses or renovated buildings. It's usually made up of very thick pieces and is installed as solid planks (although tongue-and-groove boards are sometimes used). Solid wood doesn't flex or bend much at all so it will withstand heavy foot traffic.

What are hardwood floors?

Hardwood floors should be your first choice if you want a natural-looking floor that will last a lifetime – they're far more durable than laminate floors.

The best types of wood to choose for your hardwood installation include cherry, oak, walnut, maple, and hickory due to their durability, appearance, and even soundproofing properties. 

What are laminates used for?

Laminate often gets a bad reputation because of cheap imitations available on the market. However, it has many uses in home decor especially since laminate flooring is generally easy to clean – just sweep or vacuum regularly to keep grime at bay. This makes it ideal if children or pets will be living with you in your home.

How long do laminate floors last?

If properly looked after, a decent quality laminate floor can last anywhere between 7-25 years. The better you maintain them, the better they'll look so you should certainly consider how long you want them for before committing to buying them.

However, don't expect too much from cheaper brands – certainly stay clear of anything that advertises ‘unlimited life' or something similar – if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

What are the most important considerations of wood flooring?

Your budget will play a big part in your decision-making process. You can choose between different types of engineered woods and solid hardwoods for that authentic look with none of the hassle. Buying laminate wood floors may also be a good idea if you live in an area prone to flooding, as wooden floorboards can expand and contract when wet leading to warping and buckling. However, it's worth checking out some offers from solid wood companies before deciding on which type to go for.

Can you sand/refinish laminate hardwood floors like you can with real wood floors?

Yes, you can. However, there are some things you need to consider to achieve the best result possible:

First of all, make sure that your laminate is suitable for this kind of treatment – stain-resistant and even scratch-resistant laminates should be safe but your manufacturer's instructions will tell you all you need to know about what's possible with your choice. 

Even if staining isn't an option, many people still opt for light sanding now and then as it helps make their floors even more durable. This means that scratches don't go so deep into the floor (although care should still be taken). Light sanding allows a new layer of finish or wax to absorb well too (i.e. it fills up the pores in the laminate surface).

Harwood vs Laminate Flooring: The Pros and Cons
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What type of laminate flooring is best to put over concrete?

You'll find that manufacturers have improved immensely at making floors that can be installed on concrete. However, you should still check with your manufacturer and ensure that their advice coincides with what's involved in your particular installation. It's also important to note that you shouldn't attempt to install a floating floor (i.e. no glue ) directly onto concrete as it won't hold together well enough.

Final thoughts on laminate vs hardwood flooring

In conclusion, both laminate and hardwood flooring have their pros and cons. 

If you are looking for a durable, long-lasting material that will resist scratches, water issues, dents, and easy maintenance then laminate is probably the way to go. 

On the other hand, if you are looking for a more natural, warm, and traditional flooring material that will provide about the same level of durability as laminate but with a sturdier feel to it then hardwood floors are probably best.

At the end of the day, it all depends on what is more important to you. 

Kevin Farrugia

Kevin Farrugia

Kevin is a household and appliance enthusiast and loves to follow the latest trends in kitchen and house decoration. He also loves to walk the isles of Home Depot and Lowes to review products and materials in person. Before joining Kitchen Infinity, Kevin owned a handyman company.

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