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Flooring Guide : Laminate Vs Hardwood

June 26, 2020

Home flooring is one of the most eye-catching design elements for guests visiting homes. Wooden flooring is stylish and has been trending for a while now. The most popular wood flooring options are laminate plank flooring and hardwood. While many old homes with traditional decor have hardwood flooring, new homes have incorporated sleek and durable laminate plank flooring, which looks like hardwood flooring and are an inexpensive wood-alternate option.

Hardwood flooring is 100% wood. It is the most popular flooring options and has a naturally inviting appearance and timeless appeal. Available in many exotic kinds of wood, stains, grains, and patterns, hardwood is a more authentic choice and has a life expectancy up to 75 years, depending on its width and number of times it is refinished. Each time hardwood is refinished, it takes a thin layer off the wood. Most hardwood varieties are sanded and refinished 3-4 times before it is replaced entirely. Hardwood can be resurfaced every 10-20 years to remove any scratches, or dents on the surface.

Laminate flooring is made of fiberboard with a photographic pattern placed on top. These laminate flooring planks are made up of the backing layer, core layer, image layer, and wear layer. The image layer allows the floor to mimic wood, stone, or even metal. The layers are fused under a clear protective layer that adds durability and moisture protection. Laminate flooring is usually the more affordable option. It is less susceptible to scratches, easier to clean, and has a longevity of about 20 years.

Although both materials achieve that beautiful wood-look floor and have a lot in common, hardwood and laminate are structurally different. It is important to understand the key differences between the two. They may vary in the following ways:

1. Appearance : Made of solid wood planks, hardwood flooring is attractive and offers irrefutable status. In case of a budget constraint, cheaper species can be used to beautify the homes and be assured an upper edge than the most premium laminate flooring tiles.

Laminate flooring may look like real wood from a distance, but is made from composite wood pressed together at very high temperatures and one can differentiate at close inspection. To provide a more reliable look, newer high-quality laminates are available with more haphazard patterns that integrate a grain-like texture.

2. Cost :The budget plays a key role in flooring. Hardwood is expensive as stronger the wood, higher the price. Hardwood is more exotic and hence more costly in comparison to the domestic wood. On the other hand, laminate is very budget-friendly, with the looks of solid hardwood. It is a quality and cost-effective choice.

3. Care : Hardwoods and laminate require around the same amount sweeping and vacuuming. Experts designed specifically for hardwood are required for its cleaning. Laminate floors can be cleaned with routine care, no need for experts. Hardwood doesn’t perform well in the presence of moisture and is not at all waterproof, whereas laminate installed in different ways are resistant to moisture, but is not completely waterproof. Laminate floors should be kept away from steam cleaners.

4. Durability : Hardwood is healthier and sturdier. Hardwood flooring has a life expectancy of 75 years and can last up to 20 years without any refinishing when looked after properly. If it is damaged, it can be sanded or refinished every 5 to 10 years or so depending on the number of destructive tendencies.
Laminates are scratch-resistant and resistant to wear, fading, and staining. It looks the same after 20 years or more without needing anything but regular cleaning. In case of any repairs or damages on laminates, pieces need to be completely replaced.

5. Installation : Most hardwood interlocks together, and is best installed by a professional or experts. Installing is difficult and time taking process in the case of hardwood. It causes dust and unpleasant smell which may be hazardous.

Laminates can be installed more quickly and easily without nails or glue, and all the finishing is completed at the factory instead of houses. It’s a simple interlocking tongue-and-groove system that can typically be installed in a day.

Ultimately, the choice between hardwood and laminate depends on the quality. Laminates have longevity, are easy to install, eco friendly, and more resistant to scratches and spills. On the other hand, hardwood comes with its authentic natural beauty.