In reality, there are many differences between the two. The hardwood versus laminate flooring debate is fueled by several different factors including cost and durability. There is no doubt hardwoods are more expensive to install; if you want the appearance of hardwoods without the cost, laminates may be the right choice for you.
The advantages of laminates are numerous; cost, ease of installation, and care, just to name a few. Hardwoods are more costly and oftentimes require greater care than an average laminate floor. The difference in cost varies but can easily average between $3.50 and $5.00 per square foot.
Additionally, laminate flooring is far easier to install than hardwoods. The majority of laminate flooring has tongue and groove edges allowing ease of installation along with a lack of glue or other adhesives oftentimes required for hardwood installation.
Finally, the ease of care is a large part of laminate flooring’s appeal. Although hardwoods are usually more visually attractive, the reality is that laminates stand up to long-term wear and tear and are more scratch and stain resistant. Laminates are usually easier to clean as well.
However, there is a downside to laminate flooring. Laminate floors are more difficult to repair, should serious damage occur. Hardwoods can be sanded and refinished; laminates cannot. Also, an average lifespan for laminates is two decades; whereas, hardwoods can last more than 25 years with proper care and attention.
Another positive aspect of laminate flooring is its UV-protectant surface and resistance to fading. As discussed previously, hardwoods are especially vulnerable to extended or direct sunlight. Laminate flooring, on the other hand, is highly resistant and prone to retain its shine and finish when exposed to the sun’s rays.
The bottom line is hardwoods are more expensive and generally require greater care; however, the beauty of a genuine hardwood floor is exceptional and unmatched. Hardwoods tend to be more durable over the years as well. Conversely, laminates are typically less expensive and require less care; but are not as durable as hardwood flooring.
Ultimately, the choice between hardwoods or laminates rests with the individual. Weigh all of your options, decide which factors matter most to you, and go for it! Whether you decide to install hardwoods or laminates; you will have a beautiful floor you and your family will enjoy for years to come!
Next time: What is Stainmaster, anyway?