Laminate vs. Hardwood Flooring: Which Is the Better Option?

July 22, 2022

Rich, luxurious hardwood flooring is a great choice for any home. Genuine wood floors offer a stunning aesthetic unmatched by carpeting and tile. Also, hardwoods work well with any home style, from modern and upscale to downright rustic and everything in between! Wood floors also offer many other advantages over other materials.

However, many homeowners have found hardwood flooring difficult to maintain over the years. Additionally, sanding and refinishing those floors means added expense and can be a messy job! Consequently, you might wonder if laminate is a better flooring choice for your home. To help you make that choice, check out some pros and cons of each possibility.

hardwood floor installation

Which one is better: Laminate or hardwood floors

First, it’s helpful to understand the construction of both laminate and hardwood flooring. Second, you can determine which is better for your home based on your needs, home design, and budget.

What are laminate floors?

To laminate something means to construct something from layers bonded together. In turn, laminate floor construction consists of layers of materials, not just solid planks. Laminate flooring starts with a particleboard base, topped with a high-quality image. Lastly, a wear layer offers protection for that image.

Laminate flooring then offers many advantages while still presenting some disadvantages:

  • That high-quality image covering a laminate floor might mimic wood, stone, tile, and a variety of other materials. In turn, laminate floors work well with just about any home design and décor.
  • Solid surface laminate floors are easy to clean and scratch resistant. Consequently, they’re an excellent choice for homes with pets and lots of foot traffic.
  • Laminate is very inexpensive and budget-friendly, and easy to install. In fact, some flooring manufacturers offer DIY tongue-and-groove laminate, allowing you to simply click together laminate sections. In some cases, you don’t even need to remove your home’s current flooring before installation!
  • On the downside, contractors don’t recommend laminate flooring in high humidity areas or where they risk water damage. In turn, laminate isn’t always the best choice for kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Since laminate floors offer an image and protective coating, they often look and feel “artificial” to some homeowners.
  • Laminate flooring doesn’t offer the same return on investment in terms of increased property values as other options.
  • Homeowners cannot sand and refinish laminate floors.

laminate flooring installation

Why choose hardwood or engineered wood floors?

First, note the difference between hardwood and engineered wood floors. An engineered wood floor has a thin layer of genuine wood glued over a layer of plywood. In turn, engineered floors offer the look and feel of real wood. However, homeowners might sand and refinish engineered floors just once, if at all.

Genuine hardwood refers to a solid plank of your chosen wood species. As genuine hardwood is often several inches thick, a homeowner can sand and refinish them many times over the years. Note some other advantages and drawbacks of wood floors:

  • Hardwood floors offer a stunning appearance that is second to none! Wood floors work with just about any home style, as said. Also, smaller planks add size to a room while wider planks help keep a large space from looking overwhelming.
  • Additionally, refinishing wood floors allows you to change that appearance over the years. You can even paint wood floors, creating a custom look for your home’s interior.
  • Wood floors offer a durable surface for your home. Some wood floors last for decades if not even a lifetime.
  • Cleaning wood floors often requires nothing more than a quick sweep with a dustmop.
  • Solid wood doesn’t trap and locks dust, dirt, pollen, and other allergens as easily as carpeting. Consequently, wood floors can mean improved indoor air quality.
  • Wood floors improve property values! Some experts estimate you can enjoy over 100% of your costs in terms of increased home values. In other words, your home’s value might increase $1,000 for every $1,000 spent on wood floor installation.

What are the disadvantages of wood flooring?

While wood floors offer a stunning appearance and return on your investment, they do have some drawbacks. First, they might show scratches and gouges more readily than other options. Second, wood floors risk moisture damage. Third, they’re often uncomfortable for babies and pets and mean added noise especially from upper stories.

Also, note that hardwoods are typically the most expensive flooring choice. Additionally, sanding and refinishing wood floors is often cumbersome and messy. Consequently, many homeowners invest in professional flooring maintenance for wood floors. This adds to their costs over the years.

laminate flooring in kitchen

What’s wrong with laminate flooring?

There is nothing “wrong” with laminate flooring, as this choice offers a durable surface that’s easy to clean. Also, the wide variety of laminate images allows you to enjoy the appearance of any floor option you prefer.

However, the laminate’s plywood base makes it prone to moisture damage. This is especially true in high humidity areas such as bathrooms, attics, and basements. Also, contractors might not recommend adding laminate to areas that risk floods. For example, you might not install laminate in front of a dishwasher or washing machine!

Also, the artificial look and feel of the laminate might detract from your home and potentially decrease property values. On the other hand, if you’re searching for a budget-friendly, easy-to-clean choice, laminate is an excellent option!

The verdict on laminate and hardwood floors

While only a homeowner can decide if hardwood floors are the right investment for their property, it's our number choice for flooring installation. You might note their overall return on investment in terms of increased property values. Also, hardwood is excellent for anyone with asthma, allergies, and other such health issues. Since they’re easy to clean, they’re also a good choice for anyone who otherwise struggles with vacuuming or mopping floors.

Additionally, consider that a homeowner can alter the appearance of hardwood flooring with refinishing or painting. If you’re someone who often changes their interior décor, wood floors are a great choice! You can repaint them a richly elegant color or something lighter for a modern appearance or whatever suits your style.

Bradenton Flooring Pros is happy to offer this information about hardwood flooring vs laminate. Hopefully, you found it helpful in choosing the right option for your home. If you still have questions or are ready for a flooring price quote, call our Bradenton flooring installation contractors. Our customer care team is happy to assist you in choosing the best floor materials for every room of your home. To get your house started, give us a call today.

 

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