Hardwood Floor

Laminate Flooring Vs. Hardwood Flooring: Which One Is Better?

September 12, 2022
 |  By: 
Improvix Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring might look like the best option for the home, while laminate flooring is the less expensive option. But each of them has its own unique set of pros and cons. The difference is not only in the cost. Each type of flooring adds some qualities and drawbacks to your flooring condition.

While there is no right answer for which type of flooring is better, given certain conditions, both types can be suitable for certain individuals. Let's discuss and find out which one would be preferable for your home.

Which One Is Better?

While it can not be stated which one is the absolute better option, both the types have their pros and cons.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate Floor

A high-density fiberboard core layer, a layer that gives it the look of particular types of wood, metal, or stone, and an outside, transparent wear layer to protect the image are all layers that make up laminate boards. To fend against moisture, some flooring has an added supporting layer beneath the foundation.

Laminate flooring pros

  1. Laminate flooring is less costly than hardwood flooring.
  2. A printed image layer gives this flooring its designs. So you may discover several sorts of wood designs. You can also choose image layers with other designs.
  3. Laminate flooring's edges and ends are made to snap together. So, installing laminate is simple, even if you don't have any prior experience.

cons

  1. Laminate floorings can't be refinished. Changing a tile or plank will be necessary because the image layer isn't made of wood.
  2. Although laminate flooring may appear to have a wood texture, it may not resemble genuine wood.
  3. It's sensitive to moisture. It is not recommended for places without a moisture barrier, including restrooms, laundry rooms, and basements. It's acceptable to install laminate flooring in the kitchen, but spills must be cleaned up right away.

Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood Floor

Mature trees are used to harvest hardwood. Following milling and sanding, it is either placed unpainted, stained, and sealed or stained and completed in the factory. White oak, one of the most often used varieties of hardwood flooring, is pale blonde, while ebony is a deep brown-black.

Hardwood pros

  1. hardwood flooring might last up to 10 years if properly cared for. Other varieties of flooring, in contrast, need to be updated more frequently.
  2. It looks more authentic. Laminate flooring seems unnatural because of its uniform appearance. In contrast, hardwood flooring has subtle color and shade variations, giving it a more realistic and natural appearance.
  3. Contrary to laminate flooring, which must have spills cleaned up immediately, most hardwood flooring is stain-resistant.

cons

  1. Hardwood flooring might be vulnerable to termite infestation if not maintained properly.
  2. It's more expensive than laminate and other wooden tile and planks. Because sub-flooring is required, the cost of installation is also higher.
  3. You must polish your hardwood floors every four years to retain their condition. After that, be cautious about sweeping off dust and carefully handling your flooring.

Choose Your Flooring Based On Different Factors

You have to consider some factors to choose which kind of flooring is better specifically for you. You have to keep your priorities in mind and make the decision.

Appearance

hardwood

Solid hardwood flooring is a premium, incredibly beautiful, and indisputable prestigious building material. Red or white oak, two even more affordable real hardwood species, are typically more appealing than the faux premium species used in laminate.

Laminate

Quality laminate flooring can closely resemble genuine wood from a distance. However, upon closer investigation, people can usually always detect that laminate flooring is not genuine hardwood. More recent, high-quality laminates now feature a more random repetition pattern and incorporate a surface-grained texture, making the flooring even more lifelike, but the imitation is far from flawless.

Verdict

Solid hardwood is much more attractive than laminate and, hands down, the better option to choose if appearance is a priority.

Care And Cleaning

Hardwood

A solid hardwood floor must only be swept or vacuumed, then damp-mopped with a wood cleaner. Wood floors in modern homes are protected with polyurethane varnish, so waxing or polishing them is never recommended.

Laminate

A broom or vacuum may be used to clean laminate flooring with ease. When mopping, use a damp mop diluted with laminate floor cleaner. There is never a need to wax. Avoid using too much water, and never use a steam cleaner.

Verdict

Tie. Both hardwood and laminate flooring are equally easy to care for.

Water And Heat Resistance

Hardwood

Solid hardwood is also not advised for moist areas despite being common in kitchens. Floods and standing water can harm solid hardwood flooring; therefore, it is not recommended to place solid hardwood against concrete slabs. In these situations, engineered hardwood flooring is a better option. Hardwood flooring may be installed over radiant heating systems, but be careful not to overheat the wood as this will cause the boards to shrink and the joints to open up. The joints re-close as the temperature drops.

laminate

The fiberboard core and edges of laminate surfaces can expand and chip if water gets into the joints between planks, even though laminate surfaces are very stain and water-resistant. In moist environments like restrooms, it is not advised. It is possible to put laminate flooring over radiant heating systems because of its high level of heat resistance.

verdict

While none of them are particularly good flooring materials for moist locations, laminate is somewhat more suitable. It is considerably better for humid settings like installation against concrete slabs. Laminate flooring also offers certain advantages in terms of heat resistance.

Installation

Hardwood

Nonprofessionals can have a hard time installing hardwood flooring. It is necessary to install specialized instruments like a floor nailer or stapler. After the boards are laid, unfinished flooring has to be sanded and finished, which is a job for specialists. Finishing is not required for prefinished hardwood flooring once it is installed.

Laminate

Laminate flooring is a favorite among DIYers as it's really simple to install. Since this flooring floats over a thin layer of foam underlayment, there is no need for glue or screws to hold the plank together at the corners. Even while laminate flooring may be set up below grade, it is not the ideal material for basement floors.

Verdict

In this case, laminate flooring is the clear winner as it is far easier to install.

Durability And Maintenance

Hardwood

Hardwood floors have a very long lifespan. However, usual events like floods might make a hardwood floor useless if help doesn't arrive in time. Depending on use and maintenance, hardwood may require periodic recoating or refinishing. Periodic resealing is essential; the floor can be sanded down and restored when the deterioration worsens. This should be done by professionals as there are a limited number of occasions a hardwood floor may be resanded. Most floors deteriorate after three or four sandings, so exercise caution if you employ this technique.

Laminate

Laminate flooring provides a mediocre level of impact resistance. A laminate floor will become gouged or damaged if an object is sufficiently heavy and strikes with enough power. Expect a maximum of 10 years of use. Water penetration scrapes from chair legs, and even UV radiation can all pose risks to laminate that reduce its longevity. It is impossible to refinish or sand laminate flooring. Replacement is the sole option when it is damaged.

Verdict

Hardwood floors should be everyone's first choice when it comes to durability. And in terms of maintenance, they're about similar.

Pricing

Hardwood

Hardwood flooring costs between $4 and $8 per square foot. The cost of typical hardwoods like maple, oak, and ash ranges from $4 to $7 per square foot, while more unique species cost even more. Narrower flooring made of uncommon species and wider flooring made of the same species costs a minimum of $5 per square foot, with prices rising sharply after that.

Laminate

Typically, laminate flooring costs between $1 to $3 per square foot. There are also options for designer flooring, which may cost up to $10 to $12 per square foot. Better and more expensive items may be distinguished by their thicker layers.

verdict

Laminate flooring is much less expensive than solid hardwood flooring. Again, as laminate flooring is easier to install and doesn't need much experience, you can also save some bucks by installing it yourself. At the same time, in the case of hardwood, you'd have to hire people to do that.

Sizes

Hardwood

Solid hardwood flooring is normally marketed in 48-inch long, 1 1/2 inch, or 2 1/4 inch wide boards. Wide planks forming up to 6 inches or more are also available. Usually, 3/4 inch thick planks are used.

Laminate

Laminate flooring is sold in planks at least 4 inches wide and 48 inches long. The plank's thickness varies from 6 to 12 mm depending on the product's grade.

Verdict

Tie. None of the kinds offer any advantages or disadvantages that should concern us.

Comfort And Sound

Hardwood

Under heels and pet toenails, solid wood floors can be a little loud and tend to be rough underfoot. Even though they often cannot accommodate radiant heating systems, these floorings are exceptionally sturdy.

Laminate

Due to its installation on a foam substrate, laminate floors are often a little soft underfoot. However, if the floor is not flat, the floating floor may occasionally bend underfoot. The hard plastic surface might also pick up pet toenails and shoe heels clicking. To make a floor warmer and cozier, you can put laminate flooring over radiant heating systems.

Verdict

Both laminate and hardwood flooring materials are quite similar in terms of comfort and sound. But some individuals might consider laminate flooring to be more comfortable.

Lifespan

hardwood

Solid hardwood floors can last up to 100 years with proper care and maintenance.

laminate

The average lifespan of laminate floors is about 15 to 20 years.

Verdict

Hardwoo0d floors normally last a lot more than laminate ones. So, in terms of longevity, hardwood floors win. Again, with each refinishing, the lifespan of hardwood floors extends to a great extent. In contrast, unfinished hardwood floors can be prone to wear and tear.

Resale Value

hardwood

If it is in good condition, hardwood flooring almost always increases the value of a home significantly. It is a high-end flooring material comparable to fine porcelain or stone tile.

laminate

Although it's unquestionably preferable to a worn-out carpet or vinyl floor, laminate flooring seldom increases a home's value.

verdict

In this criteria, solid hardwood is the clear-cut winner as it adds value to your real estate and interests potential buyers.

Conclusion

Suppose appearance, durability, resale value, and longevity are the factors that matter to you. In that case, hardwood is the go-to option. But if you have a limited budget, laminate flooring can be a practical option. Laminate flooring has perks, like easy installation and water and heat resistance. Still, it will never be as good as hardwood flooring.

Hardwood flooring is the best investment for your home if you want to add some real value to your real estate and if the cost is not a matter of concern.

Contact Improvix Flooring To Get Hardwood Floors Installed In Your Home

If you've made your decision and want to install hardwood flooring in your house, now arises a question who do I contact to get this done? Well, the answer is simple. We are the most reliable hardwood flooring contractor in Chicago.

Our employees are well experienced and skilled in their jobs. Whatever task you might have for us, we can do it and can do it better than anyone else in the area, be it hardwood installation, refinishing, sanding, staining, or stair remodeling. Call us at (773) 345-9719 for the best service. You can also fill out a form at our website and request a callback from our agent, which will take you no more than 2 minutes.

Top