Comparing Laminate and Hardwood Flooring
Is Laminate or Hardwood Better for You?
Both laminate and hardwood are wood products. Laminate closely mimics the look of hardwood. So what are the main differences in laminate flooring vs. hardwood flooring? Let’s break it down.
Do a quick comparison and you’ll find that laminate flooring is far more affordable option than hardwood. The manufacturing process and materials used in production helps to lower the cost of laminate floors. Engineered hardwood floors are generally lower priced than solid hardwoods, once again due to the materials used to produce the flooring. Solid hardwood is a raw material that does not have any additional, lower cost materials added to it. Manufacturing and production of finished hardwoods make it a more expensive option. Unfinished hardwood floors are less expensive, but require finishing on-site, in which leads to additional costs.
If price and a lower budget is your biggest concern, laminate is your best option.
With the variety of finishes and textures available, it can be hard to even tell a laminate and hardwood apart! This is a big plus for homeowners or property managers looking for a high-end look, but without the high price tag and maintenance involved with a hardwood floor.
Although laminates can look very similar to hardwood, nothing compares to the look and feel of the real thing. If you’re set on the hardwood look, we’d recommend sticking with a hardwood or trying an engineered hardwood.
When it comes to durability, laminate flooring is hard to beat. Not only is it resistant to scratching from pets and kids, but it’s also dent proof. Hardwood floors tend to show quite a bit of wear and tear in high traffic areas whereas laminate flooring can take a beating and still look like new. It’s even recommended to take high heels off before walking on a hardwood floor.
If scratching is a concern in your home or room, laminate flooring is your best option.
Neither floor is waterproof, but both are water resistant. Laminate flooring is coated and installed using a moisture barrier to seal out as much water and excess moisture as possible. Some hardwood floors are treated to be moisture resistant, too. However, over time, spilled water, milk, or other liquids can still damage these floors. Since laminate is stain resistant, hardwoods are more likely to experience staining if the liquid is of color or acidity. If you’re worried about pet accidents, child messes and entertaining guests, your best bet would be a laminate floor.
With both floors, you will want to install a vapor barrier for added moisture protection from the subfloor. Extra moisture can be a serious hazard for both laminates and hardwoods.
Ease of Cleaning
When it comes to easy cleaning, nothing beats laminate. With just a damp mop, you can clean your floors quickly. Spilled nail polish, wine or wax? No problem! These can all be easily removed form a laminate.
Hardwood flooring is more sensitive to moisture and sometimes requires additional chemicals or oils to keep clean. With a porous nature, spills can often leave stains after the floor absorbs the coloration. Polishing and/or refinishing is often required to restore natural shine of hardwood floors.
If you want a floor that makes cleaning a breeze without the worry, choose laminate.
Laminate installation is DIY friendly due to the tongue and groove floating installation. Hardwood floors are a little more difficult and require a professional to install using nails or staples, which will end up adding to the cost of the flooring.
You can hire a professional flooring installer for each type of flooring, however, a hardwood floor installation will cost more than a laminate floor. On average, a hardwood flooring installation can be quoted around $3-$10/sq.ft., where as an average laminate flooring installation will usually be between $2-$3/sq.ft. Removal of previous flooring, size, project difficulty and clean up can all be additional factors when an installation is quotes.