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Pros and Cons of Hardwood Flooring and Laminate Flooring

One of the most desirable qualities home buyers look for in a home is wood flooring.

Wood is beautiful and timeless. Old traditional homes with their beautiful original hardwood floors are one of the reasons people love buying older homes. Newer homes that were built on tighter budgets, that still wanted the natural look of wood use laminate to win home buyers over. Whichever is your preference there are pros and cons to buying hardwood and laminate wood flooring. Take a look for yourself and decide which one fits for you the best.

Cost

Laminate – (PRO) Laminate floors are made up of several materials bonded together under high pressure. Most laminate flooring consists of a moisture resistant layer under a layer of HDF (high density fiberboard). A high resolution photographic image of natural wood flooring is placed over the composite to form the laminate. Because it is more or less the idea of wood but not actually wood it is generally a lot cheaper. Laminate wood installation and cost is generally around 50% less than hardwood.

Hardwood – (CON) Hardwood flooring is made from harvested trees and depending on the type of tree being used for the hardwood flooring it can get pretty expensive. Hardwood costs more to buy and to install than laminate. So if you are looking for a cheap way to get the job done, real hardwood may not be what you are looking for.

Durability:

Laminate – (CON) Laminate is pretty durable and will not get scuffed up very easily although it also will not last as long as wood which lasts a lifetime. Even though laminate may be durable it also has the problem of not being as visually appealing and the lower the quality of laminate the more artificial looking it will be.

Hardwood – (CON) Hardwood is susceptible to scuffing, can get damaged from too much moisture and will show wear, especially in areas of heavy traffic in your home. (PRO) – Hardwood is the ‘real deal’. It is gorgeous to look at and adds value to your home where laminate will not.

Repair:

Laminate: (CON) – Laminate does not fix easily. It also does not last as long as wood. Depending on the type of laminate you use, you may be able to replace it, for instance if you got the snap in kind, you may be able to buy a couple of pieces instead of replacing the whole floor. Although, depending on age and sun exposure, the new piece may not match correctly. (PRO) – Laminates may not fix easily but they usually have pretty good warranties on them. They can be installed in a couple of days or even less depending on the amount you need to install.

Hardwood: (CON) – Hardwood does not come with a warranty usually. Plus it takes a month or so to complete. You have to let it acclimate for at least a week before you can install the wood and it is best to wait an additional week after installation, prior to staining and finishing. The staining and finishing usually takes a week and is best to wait at least three days before installing furniture. (PRO)

Hardwood can be repaired by sanding out imperfections. This definitely gives hardwood a plus over laminate, in that it will last for years into the future. Although it is definitely more expensive than laminate it will outlast it in the long run. If you are a home owner and are planning on living in your home for a long while, it would be a smart investment to have hardwood floors over laminate. Hardwood will increase the value of your home as well, where laminate will not.

So here are some good things to look at when you are deciding which way to go with wood flooring. I hope you found this blog helpful and are better able to make up your mind on what you should do. It is always smart to find out all the pros and cons of whichever material you decide to use in your home. With that better understanding you will know what to expect and know how to take proper care of which ever material you use in your home.

R. Tripp
RWT Design & Construction

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