If you’re renovating your home, one of the toughest decisions is just under your feet—flooring! It can be tough to work out which type of flooring is right for your home, especially if you’re trying to stick to a tight budget.
Many homeowners consider both laminate and hardwood flooring—two products that are both very similar and very different! It can be confusing to make heads or tails of which is which, so this guide is here to help.
Want to learn more about laminate vs hardwood flooring? If so, keep reading to find more detail about the pros and cons of each option.
While most of us understand that hardwood flooring tends to come from oak, or sometimes maple or cherry, where does laminate come from?
Laminate is a material made from several layers, including particleboard wood and a transparent image and wear layer, letting the wood take on just about any design or color. The layers are pressed together at high temperatures to form one solid material.
This option is becoming more and more popular, with many homeowners preferring it over hardwood. Here are some of the pros and cons of laminate flooring.
One of the biggest benefits of laminate flooring is that they’re cheaper than hardwood floors, but look nearly identical. The most realistic wood look flooring is often mistaken for hardwood, even though it’s laminate!
Laminate installation can often be around half the price of hardwood, offering substantial savings for anyone remodeling their home. It’s also simple to install, so many DIYers are able to get it done with no trouble.
Laminate can also mimic the look and color of just about any type of hardwood and is also readily available—if the hardwood you want is out of stock, it’s much easier to find a similar laminate.
It’s extremely durable and reliable as well, so you don’t need to worry about scratches to your flooring, even if you have kids or pets.
What rooms of the home are best for laminate flooring? It tends to be popular in living rooms and kitchens since it’s cost-effective in large spaces.
While there are plenty of amazing reasons to love laminate, it does have some considerations. Hardwood floor purists might not like the look of it if they’re set on real hardwood, for example.
It’s also not a good flooring option in rooms prone to moisture, like bathrooms or laundry rooms. This is because they’ll get damaged if they’re exposed to standing water, such as in the case of a leaky pipe.
Laminate can also stain, so if anything happens to spill on it, best to clean it up right away. Despite these concerns, laminate is still a top choice for many—if you’re worried about staining, a good solution is to purchase a large rug to cover most of the room.
How does hardwood flooring compare to laminate? This flooring option is both elegant and traditional and can be used throughout the home.
Here are the pros and cons of hardwood flooring to help you make your decision.
It would be nearly impossible for anyone to dislike the beauty of hardwood flooring. It’s a premium home finish that buyers are often willing to pay more for. As long as the flooring is in good shape, it can increase the value of a home.
You also have plenty of choices with hardwood, since it comes in so many different finishes and colors.
Another reason hardwood is popular is because it lasts so long. Yes, it will need to be refinished and buffed from time to time, but with proper maintenance, it can last for decades.
For this reason, it has a longer lifespan than laminate flooring. While it can be more expensive to install, the trade-off might be worth it for some.
Hardwood flooring isn’t perfect either—for those on a tight budget, purchase and installation can be much more expensive. The cost will depend on the wood you select, but the installation process is also very labor-intensive, which drives up cost.
Another consideration is noise. Hardwood tends to be loud underfoot, especially if someone is wearing boots or heels. For a quieter home, you might prefer laminate.
Hardwood is also likely to show scratches and doesn’t look the best if it’s not regularly maintained, so decide if you’re willing to invest in maintenance every few years.
This is particularly true if you’re thinking of hardwood in busy areas of the home or if you have dogs, as claws can easily scratch your new flooring. Hardwood also doesn’t do well with moisture, so it’s definitely not suitable for areas of the home that might get damp or wet.
Laminate vs Hardwood Flooring—Which Option Is Right for You?
When it comes down to laminate vs hardwood flooring, who’s the winner? The answer really comes down to you and your preferences!
If you want something affordable, easy to install, and stylish, laminate is a great choice—especially since it looks so similar to hardwood, many people won’t know the difference.
Or, if you prefer a more traditional look, and aren’t on a tight budget, then hardwood might be right for you. It can help to visit a few showrooms and look closely at both laminate and hardwood, getting a feel for which option might suit you.
No matter which one you select, your home will look amazing with your gorgeous new flooring installed!
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