The Pros and Cons of Hardwood vs. Laminate Wood Flooring

The Pros and Cons of Hardwood vs. Laminate Wood Flooring

One of the most sought after amenities in a home is wood flooring.  From its natural appearance and warmth underfoot, wood is beautiful and timeless.  Older traditional homes with their original hardwood floors are one of the pros of buying older homes.  Newer homes that have a lower price point, but that still want the natural look of wood use laminate to win home buyers over.  Whichever is your preference there are pros and cons to buying hardwood vs. laminate wood flooring.  Determine which one fits with your lifestyle and budget; one is right for your home. Also be sure to check : 10 Most Popular Eco-Friendly Flooring Solutions

  • Price: The reality of flooring costs and what your wallet can afford may be miles apart.  Take into consideration the cost of laminate and hardwood flooring to determine what is best for you.
  • Laminate: PROSLaminate wood flooring is made from composite wood pressed together at high temperatures.  The photograph or image of hardwood is then covered over the composite wood to form the laminate, thus is cheaper.  Laminate wood installation cost is on an average 50% less than hardwood.
  • Hardwood: CONSHardwood flooring is made from harvested trees and depending on how exotic the trees are will depict the pricing. Hardwood is considerably higher to buy and to install.
  • Durability: Assess the traffic load and wear and tear on flooring in your home.  How durable your wood flooring is will help with maintenance and keep it looking great for years to come.
  • Laminate: PROS – Since laminate wood flooring is made from pressed wood it is more durable and resists scratches, moisture and wear and tear better than hardwood flooring. Laminate flooring is also easier to clean on a routine basis. CONS – Even though laminate is more durable it is not as visually appealing and lower qualities of laminate may have artificial looking wood grain textures.
  • Hardwood: CONS – Hardwood is susceptible to scratching, can get damaged from excessive moisture and will show wear, especially in heavy trafficked areas in your home. PROS – Hardwood is the ‘real deal’. It is gorgeous to look at and depending on the variety can add considerable value to your home.
  • Repair: Flooring is one component of your home that at one time or another will have to be repaired.  From minor accidents in the home, to excessive wear and tear, laminate and hardwood have separate advantages and disadvantages.
  • Laminate: CONS – Laminate flooring doesn’t repair easily.  If you buy flooring that comes in individual pieces and snapped together, you may be able to replace.  Although, depending on sunlight and age, the new piece may not match properly.
  • Hardwood: PROS – Hardwood can be repaired by sanding and refinishing out imperfections.  This advantage gives hardwood a plus over laminate, in that it will last for years into the future.

Your home will benefit from the look of wood flooring, deciding on hardwood or laminate is up to you.  Review the pros and cons and be realistic with your lifestyle and if you have pets, young kids, or extremely high traffic that will sway your decision one way over the other.  If you have a lot of sun entering your home, hardwood can fade because it is a natural product. Laminate wood flooring on the contrary has UV protection that has been ‘man-made’ into the surface.  Consider all the factors and enjoy how the warmth of wood will improve your home’s aesthetic and appeal.

Freshome reader’s do you own wood floors in your home? I’d love to know if they are hardwood or laminate.  What was the decision maker in what flooring you finally chose?


  • Surbhi Gupta November 1, 2010 at 08:02 AMLogin to Reply →

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  • Tomas Turecek November 1, 2010 at 08:08 AMLogin to Reply →

    Thank you for this summary. I finally finished reconstruction of our 3 rooms (living room, children room and bedroom) and we were considering classic laminate and wood laminate (top 3-4mm is wood laminated below) and at the end we decided for classic laminate flooring. What made our decision were 2 facts: 1) price for laminate flooring was 30-70% cheaper then wood laminate and 2) with a small child (and second awaited) we were discouraged from wood laminate because of it’s susceptibility to dents and scratches.

  • RLTarch November 1, 2010 at 10:47 AMLogin to Reply →

    Speaking from many years’ experience with both products, I generally counsel my clients to avoid laminates. You’ll appreciate the ability to successfully resand and refinish real hardwood flooring a few years down the road; you’ll have more design flexibility at the start with a wider range of species and stain colors to choose from; and real wood flooring will just plain look better many years from now.

    As for sustainability, a great deal of hardwood is grown in managed forests or is produced in other “green” ways – easily checked on with FSC.

    If you want the look of wood in your home, use wood! Homes should be warm, inviting places made of natural materials; I for one don’t see the point in using products that look like wood but aren’t!

  • Ian November 3, 2010 at 00:18 AMLogin to Reply →

    I’ve used both. I would recommend laminate for areas where you can’t justify the cost of real wood flooring or for higher traffic areas. Laminate is still better than anything else at an equivalent price point.
    However, if it’s a low traffic area and I can afford it, I prefer real wood. It just feels more luxurious.

  • Wide Plank Wood Floo November 17, 2010 at 18:55 PMLogin to Reply →

    I chose to go with the more expensive option – hardwood flooring. I am very happy that I did so and it was worth the extra expense!

  • JACKIE HARRELL April 28, 2011 at 16:57 PMLogin to Reply →

    Do laminate floors “outgas”?

  • The Great Debate: Wood or Laminate? | December 8, 2011 at 22:21 PMLogin to Reply →

    […] featuring the same detailed grains and exotic wood choices, but without the vulnerabilities. While it’s a personal choice, you certainly won’t fail with a wood laminate flooring that offers the best in terms of cost, […]

  • Kristen Dockery February 11, 2015 at 14:31 PMLogin to Reply →

    My husband and I are in the process of picking out new flooring for our home. We aren’t sure what kind we want to get and so I am glad that I came across this article and the tips and information in it. I am so excited to finally get new floor, we have been talking about this for a couple of years now and it finally actually happening.

  • Sean April 10, 2015 at 15:55 PMLogin to Reply →

    I like the idea of easy repair on hardwood floors. I have pets who are pretty hard on the floors in my home, and having all of those wear and tear marks be permanent doesn’t sound like a great option. I think there are certainly some other advantages to laminate, but I value the repair feature the most.

  • Rose Henderson April 22, 2015 at 15:54 PMLogin to Reply →

    For the most part, laminate flooring sounds like a better option than hardwood. I just love the look of natural woof flooring though. I don’t think my place could manage hardwood floors at the moment right now though. We have a puppy with little claws that would scratch that floor right up.

  • Alexis Webber June 25, 2015 at 14:10 PMLogin to Reply →

    I agree that laminate can look cheap and tacky if it’s not done right. The previous tenants in my home decided that lime green walls would compliment a brown and cream faux tile, and it’s got to go. I’m in love with the idea of hardwood, but because I’m on a budget and we aren’t homeowners, I feel that a higher quality laminate flooring will work. Once we own our own place, I’ll definitely invest in a quality hardwood floor.