Laminate Flooring vs. Hardwood: Which Is the Right Flooring for You?

Laminate Flooring vs. Hardwood: Which Is the Right Flooring for You?

Flooring is literally the foundation of any home, and whatever your home style may be, it’s the first design element visitors notice when they come inside. Today, homeowners may choose from lots of options when they want to install new flooring, and the most popular are laminate wood flooring and real hardwood. Each one of them has its pros and cons.

In this article, we compare laminate flooring vs. hardwood flooring to help you decide which option is best for your next flooring project.

Hardwood

Timeless and stylish solid wood flooring has been a highly-desired flooring choice for decades. It is full of character and offers an authentic natural appearance. You can choose from various beautiful wood species, including birch, acacia, hickory, walnut, and oak flooring. Whether the style of your home is traditional, contemporary, farmhouse, or even décor, hardwood will add a touch of elegance to your space.

Unlike laminate, hardwood reacts to intense sunlight. It is also sensitive to high-heeled shoes, pets, kids, and furniture, all of which can dent and scrape the wood, and the burden of heavy traffic can show wear and tear. But solid hardwood can be sanded and refinished, so wood flooring can last a lifetime and maintain its beauty. That’s why hardwood appeals to homeowners who are interested in environmental sustainability.

Solid hardwood is a good option for bedrooms and living rooms. It is popular in kitchens, but it is not recommended for use in wet areas, so basements and bathrooms with a lot of moisture are not good places for hardwood flooring. You shouldn’t install it over radiant heating systems, as the boards can shrink and cause the joints to open up.

Cleaning of a solid hardwood floor is simple: just sweep it or vacuum regularly to remove all dust, dirt, and debris to prevent abrasion damage and damp-mop with a wood cleaner.                                                                            

Laminate

Laminate flooring is synthetic, making it more affordable. It is engineered to approximate the look of natural materials—wood as well as stone tiles. Laminate is considered to be a solid alternative to wood flooring, and due to vast improvements in the manufacturing process, it has become increasingly natural-looking in appearance. It is sold in a huge range of colors and styles, and whether you are looking for grey, white, or black laminate flooring, there are lots of options to choose from.

Wood-look laminate flooring features UV protection and can be used safely in rooms with large windows. It is resistant to scratches and dents, making it perfect for installing in high-traffic and sun-drenched areas. Compared to hardwood, quality waterproof laminate flooring is less affected by changes in humidity, and it’s possible to install it in kitchens and bathrooms. But you should be very cautious because standing water may cause swelling of the planks and buckling of the floor. And you should mop up and clean spills or drips as fast as possible.

Laminate is generally easy to maintain and clean, but it’s crucial to avoid all detergent-based cleaners because they leave a dull film behind when they dry. Don’t use waxes and abrasives because they can build up residue and compromise the smoothness of the surface. You should also avoid excessive water and never clean laminate with a steam cleaner.

Laminate Flooring vs. Hardwood Flooring: What to Choose?

Hardwood flooring has a classic feel because it is a natural material that lasts for decades and adds significant value to your home. But it is expensive, doesn’t hold up well in moist conditions, and can be difficult to maintain.

Light or dark laminate flooring is a more affordable alternative to hardwood. While it lacks prestige, it’s easy to install yourself, and it holds up much better under heavy traffic. Its benefits are also water resistance and ease of cleaning. It makes sense to install laminate because of its affordability, ease of installation, and durability.

When we compare laminate flooring vs. hardwood, we see that both materials are good choices, and each of them has strengths and weaknesses. So your choice will entirely depend on what you are looking for and the specific conditions of your project. To decide which material is best for your home, you should weigh the pros and cons of each option and consider your lifestyle.
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