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Laminate Flooring vs. Hardwood: What’s Right for You?

Dear Bob and Betsy,
I’m getting ready to redo the flooring in my home. I’ve always heard that hardwood flooring is good but so many of my friends are suggesting laminate flooring now. The debate of laminate flooring vs. hardwood is overwhelming! Can you help? How do I know which is right for me?
– Angela M.

Dear Angela,

With so many types of flooring out there to choose from, it’s no wonder you’re overwhelmed! There is a lot that goes into the decision about which flooring is best for you. To help simplify the process for you, here are some of the most important factors you should consider.


The look of your new flooring is the first thing you and your guests will notice about your home. You don’t want to install something that will look cheap. Laminate flooring has come a long way. Now, many homeowners cannot tell the difference between hardwoods and laminate flooring. Both materials look natural and come in a variety of hues and colors.


Laminate flooring is consistently better priced than hardwood flooring. Although you might find some good closeout deals on hardwood floors, it is most often the more expensive choice. If cost is important to you, laminate is by far the more affordable option.


If you have children or pets, or if your new flooring is going in a high traffic area, durability is a major concern. Both hardwood and laminate flooring are durable, but laminate flooring is slightly stronger when it comes to surface wear and tear. Laminate is designed to withstand dents, dings, and scratches a little bit better. The finish on laminate flooring protects the color and patterns. Pre-finished hardwood flooring will generally be sold with a top coating to protect the flooring. If you buy hardwood and re-finish it on site, you can choose what kind of protect to use on the flooring.

A plus of hardwood is the ability to refinish the wood. If extreme wear and tear or stains are a problem, you can always sand and refinish your hardwood floors to be any color or finish of your choice.


Let’s face it. Most people don’t love doing household chores. Maintaining your flooring is an essential chore, but not one you want to spend a lot of time on. Laminate flooring is easy to sweep, mop, and clean. It’s also more resistant to spills.

Hardwoods require more care and a gentler approach. Spills, stains and water damage is easier to cause damage versus a laminate and require immediate clean up. You also should not use water or cleaning agents that are not hardwood approved.

There are a lot of considerations to make when choosing your next type of flooring, but laminate flooring tends to rank above hardwood in each of these categories. If you want a beautiful, durable, and easy-to-maintain floor, laminate is your best option.

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*This post was updated from 2014 to give you a better reading experience and better tips on choosing between laminate and hardwood!

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