One of the most sought-after amenities in a home is wood flooring. Because of its natural appearance and warmth underfoot, wood is beautiful and timeless.
Original hardwood floors are among the benefits of older traditional homes. Newer homes that have a lower price point but that still want the natural look of wood often use laminate to win over homebuyers.
No matter your preference, there are pros and cons when it comes to hardwood versus laminate wood flooring. This article will help you determine which one is best for your lifestyle, budget and home. Also be sure to read our 10 Most Popular Eco-Friendly Flooring Solutions.
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The reality of flooring costs and what you can afford may be miles apart. Take into consideration the cost of laminate and hardwood flooring to determine what is best for you.
- Hardwood: CONS – Hardwood flooring is made of harvested trees; pricing depends on how exotic the trees are. In general, 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.
Assess the traffic load and wear and tear on flooring in your home. A durable surface will make maintenance easier and will look great for years to come.
- Hardwood: CONS – Hardwood is susceptible to scratching, can get damaged from excessive moisture and will show wear, especially in heavily trafficked areas. PROS – Hardwood is the real deal; it is gorgeous and, depending on the type of wood, can add considerable value to your home.
- 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. Lower qualities of laminate may have artificial-looking woodgrain textures.
Flooring is one component of your home that will have to be repaired at some point. From minor accidents to excessive wear and tear, laminate and hardwood have advantages and disadvantages.
- Hardwood: PROS – Hardwood can be repaired by sanding imperfections and refinishing. This gives it the edge over laminate, in that it will last for years.
- Laminate: 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 on sunlight and age, the new piece may not match properly.
Your home will benefit from the look of wood flooring; deciding whether to use hardwood or laminate is up to you. Review the pros and cons, and be realistic about your lifestyle; if you have pets, young kids or high traffic, that may influence your decision.
If you have a lot of sunlight in your home, hardwood can fade because it is a natural product, while laminate wood flooring has UV protection integrated into the surface. Consider all the factors — and enjoy how the warmth of wood will improve your home’s aesthetic, appeal and value.