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Laminate VS Solid Hardwood Flooring: Which one is better?

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By angelesflooring, January 18, 2022

Hardwood and Laminate flooring have many pros and cons. It is something one should consider before finalizing on the best flooring option. Hardwood flooring ¾ inch thick boards of solid hardwood cut from a tree is surely a quality material, but laminate flooring has its benefits as well. Both flooring materials have their own place, with their own unique set of properties.

This may lead to certain confusion to decide which flooring option to go for and this article will help you decide which is best for your place. 

Laminate Vs Solid Hardwood Flooring: Major difference

Hardwood floor Laminate Floor
Durability  Can last a lifetime Typically lasts 10 years
Cost More expensive More affordable 
Installation Best as professional install Easy DIY install
Resale Value Excellent  Good to fair
Prone to Damage Prone to scratching and to moisture damage Highly durable
Waterproof No  Yes. easy cleanup. But cannot withstand standing water
Environmental Considerations Environmental-friendly, look for hardwoods certified by FSC. Difficult to determine as some emissions may cause environmental and health concerns

Floor Appearance 

Solid hardwood is a highly attractive, premium building material having undeniable prestige and they come in different sized cuts and are made according to the requirements. As it is made from solid woods giving natural grains and tones. Hardwood flooring has become more popular as it is a healthier option than others. Oak and maple are the most common hardwood options people prefer. 

The laminate flooring often is made to imitate hardwood’s graining and colors. Laminate floor’s composition will help protect from scratches and its water-resistant layer means it is appropriate for the kitchen and bathroom in a way where hardwood cannot. Laminate flooring won’t last as long as a properly maintained hardwood floor. 

Costs 

Solid hardwood flooring per square foot has a range of $4-$12 and an average cost of about $8 per square foot. More unique species command higher prices whereas certain common hardwood may vary from $3 to $5

On the other hand, laminate flooring typically costs $1 to $3 per square foot, whereas certain other flooring can also take as much as $10 to $12 per square foot. Thicker layers are what distinguish better. 

However, homeowners should be careful purchasing brands of laminate flooring. As it may be more prone to damage and would require replacement far sooner than more expensive.  

Lifespan

When taken proper care and refinishing solid hardwood floors can routinely last up to 100 years

Laminate floors would need to be replaced after 15-20 years if it is of high quality and maintained properly. 

Maintenance and Repair 

Hardwood floors are likely to be recoated periodically depending on the care you take. When the damage becomes severe periodic resealing is recommended. This shall be done by hiring professionals who have expertise doing this job. While laminate flooring has moderately good resistance but if a heavy enough object with utmost force hits, then the floor will be dented. Laminate flooring cannot be refinished, as when ruined replacement is the only option. 

Care and Cleaning

Cleaning a solid hardwood floor is simple sweeping or vacuuming and damp mopping with a wood cleaner. And they should never be polished or waxed. Laminate floors that can be easily cleaned with a vacuum or broom. Cleaning should be done with a damp mop. However, excessive water should be avoided and should never be cleaned with a steam cleaner. 

Best rooms for Hardwood vs Laminate Flooring

In addition to knowing all about the pros & cons before selecting a flooring material, it is also very important to know which is the best place to install it. So now let’s consider the best and worst places to install this flooring material. 

Solid hardwood flooring is beautiful and fairly durable and may look especially great in a low traffic area of your place. But in case you have pets and kids then hardwood floors may show scratches and wear over time. Even basements and bathrooms or places with high moisture are not good places either. 

As laminate flooring is durable it won’t easily get scratches or wear & tear from pets and foot traffic. Laminate flooring does not fade from sunlight as quickly as solid hardwood and hence can be used safely in rooms with large windows. 

Let’s conclude:

  • Best appearance: Solid Hardwood
  • Best Costs: Laminate
  • Best Lifespan: Solid Hardwood
  • Best in Maintenance: Solid Hardwood
  • Best Care and Cleaning: Tie (Both are easy to clean)
  • Best rooms: Depends upon your requirements and environment

Conclusion

In case the resale value, durability, and authenticity is the priority then to choose solid hardwood flooring. And on other hand, if your budget is limited laminate flooring can be a viable option. As you can save the installation money by getting it done yourself. For the discerning eye, laminate flooring will never pass as hardwood. It can be serviceable flooring for many situations. Hence if you want to add value to your place then solid hardwood flooring will be the best investment.