Hardwood flooring has been around for quite some time now and remains to be one of the most popular flooring options as it’s warm, inviting, timeless, and evokes a sense of luxury. Laminate flooring, on the other hand, is quite new to the market and offers a natural look similar to wood but at a lower price. So, which is better between these two?
When you have to choose between laminate flooring and hardwood flooring, there are several factors that you should put into consideration. The type of flooring you decide to have installed in your home shouldn’t just be based on which is the most affordable option. There are several other factors that you should also consider.
Hardwood vs Laminate Which Is Better ?
In this article, we’ll compare these two competing flooring materials to help you choose which is best for your home.
Generally, hardwood floors are more expensive to buy and install considering they’re made using real wood from harvested trees. The prices will depend on the type of wood that you choose. On the other hand, laminate floors are made from composite wood that’s pressed together at high temperatures after which the image of real wood is placed over it to form the laminate. All these materials are quite cheap making the cost of laminate flooring way cheaper compared to hardwood flooring.
When it comes to budgeting, remember the rule of the thumb is that hardwood flooring is twice as expensive as the laminate flooring. Although the added cost may be worth it for hardwood floors, a tighter budget will find laminate flooring to be more economical.
Generally, laminate floors are durable than hardwood floors since they’re made from pressed wood. They’re also more resistant to scratching, moisture, and wear and tear. This makes a great flooring option for homeowners who have pets.
Hardwood floors are more susceptible to scratching and easily get damaged by excessive moisture. These floors show wear and tear especially in heavy-traffic areas. One advantage of scratched hardwood over scratched laminate is that you can sand and refinish it severally.
Another durability problem with hardwood is fading; localized areas fade when direct sunlight reaches them through the window while carpet covered areas remain unchanged. Laminate floors have a fade-resistant protective topcoat that protects against UV rays.
3. Cleaning, Maintenance, and Repair
Both types of flooring shouldn’t be cleaned with wet mops as water will seep into the joints and damage them. Only clean using a damp piece of cloth. Alternatively, simply sweep or vacuuming the floors regularly to remove the dust, dirt, and debris.
For both the hardwood and laminate floors, you may use soap made specifically for the respective type of floor. Make sure that you use a microfiber mop on the hardwood floors. Do not use wax, degreasers, or wood oils on laminate flooring as these may damage the resin-based coating.
When it comes to repairs, hardwood floors are easier to repair compared to laminate floors. It’s very easy to replace an individual damaged plank or section although hardwood flooring is not as simple a DIY job as the laminate flooring.
Laminate flooring installation is quite straightforward and most people often do it by themselves. Laminate flooring is supplied with specialized tongues and grooves that click together. Hardwood flooring normally has overlapping edge treatment which makes the board edges to overlap and interlock. This allows the planks to overlap expand and contract while providing resistance to warping or getting loose.
Lastly, both floor types require and underlayment which is some form of a sheet that’s installed before laying the flooring. The underlayment provides moisture protection, cushioning, and also makes the installation process quite easy.
5. Areas of Application
Hardwood floors are best suited for low traffic areas like bedrooms and dining rooms. Basements, bathrooms, kitchens, and other areas with a lot of exposure to moisture are not good places for hardwood flooring.
Water-resistant laminate flooring is recommended for wet areas. However, don’t leave standing water to sit for long as it penetrates the plank joints exposing the wood-based layer. This may cause swelling of the planks and ultimate deterioration.
Both types of floors perform better than the other in their own way. What you decide to have installed largely depends on your needs. For example, if you need a high-quality type of flooring that gives a natural and warm feeling, choose hardwood. On the other hand, if you have pets and need flooring that doesn’t require as much pampering with the same look of hardwood, you will benefit from laminate flooring.
At the end of the day, you need to focus on factors that matter most to you in terms of aesthetics and budgetary requirements then you can make a better-informed decision.