Hardwood or Laminate Flooring? Which Floor Is Better?

How to choose hardwood or laminate flooring: Hardwood flooring is one of the most popular types of flooring. But, it can be expensive to install and maintain. That’s where laminate flooring options fill the gap. Laminate flooring offers the same natural look as hardwood but at a much lower price.

Choosing between hardwood or laminate flooring requires that you weigh the pros and cons of each option. Laminate is the cost-effective option but hardwood is more beautiful and increases the resale value of your home.

Cost

The cost of laminate flooring and hardwood flooring is an important factor to consider when making a choice between the two.

  • Wood from trees like tigerwood, mahogany, and bamboo are the main components of hardwood floors. The price of hardwood floors depends on the type of wood. Thus, being a natural product, the cost is higher when buying and installing.
  • Composite wood is the main component of laminate floors. An image of hardwood is then printed over the composite wood. This forms the laminate. The materials for laminate floors are cheap and the cost of installation is 50% less than that of hardwood installations.

Laminate flooring costs around $3-7$ per square foot. This includes the price of installing the laminate floor. Solid wood flooring costs anywhere between $5-$10 per square foot. This also includes the price of installing the hardwood floor. Prices may vary slightly depending on the types of materials used and the size of the space where the floor is to be installed.

Durability

When choosing between hardwood or laminate flooring one must also consider durability. More durable surfaces are easier to maintain and last longer.

  • Hardwood is susceptible to scratches and dents. Excessive moisture also damages hardwood floors. These floors are also more likely to show signs of wear and tear.
  • However, hardwood is beautiful, adds elegance, and increases the value of your home.
  • Laminate, made from pressed wood, is more durable and resists scratches, moisture, and wear and tear. It is also easier to clean.
  • But, laminate is not as aesthetically pleasing as hardwood. Lower qualities of laminate can also have an artificial look.
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If you have pets and expect a lot of foot traffic then you should choose a laminate floor instead of hardwood flooring. Of course, rugs, carpets, and other protective floor coverings can help offset the damage and wear and tear to hardwood flooring.

Maintenance

Flooring in your home will need maintenance or repair at some point.

  • Sanding is an easy way to remove imperfections from hardwood floors. Thus, it can last longer than laminate once maintained.
  • Laminate flooring is not easily repaired. Even if you use laminate tiles, replacing an old tile with a new tile means that the new tile might not match the color of the old tiles. Age and exposure to sunlight change the color of laminate flooring over time.

Where To Install

Besides the price, durability, and maintenance, consider where you want to install the flooring. Depending on the type of house, area, and other factors, here are some best and worst scenarios:

  • Hardwood flooring is durable and beautiful. It is more suited for low traffic areas like bedrooms and dining rooms. Not so good if you have pets or lots of foot traffic.
  • Also, basements and bathrooms with a lot of moisture are not good places for hardwood flooring.
  • Laminate flooring is more durable than hardwood. Thus, it is not as prone to wear and tear from pets, kids, and lots of foot traffic. It does have some water resistance but it is best not to place the flooring in rooms where it would be exposed to moisture often.
  • Laminate flooring does not fade from sunlight as quickly as hardwood flooring. Thus, it is safe to use in rooms with large windows and exposure to the sun.
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