Laminate vs Hardwood Flooring: A Complete Guide
Updated: Feb 25, 2020
Often pitted against each other, there are obvious pros and cons to laminate vs hardwood flooring. While most will say that hardwood flooring adds value to your home and is the better choice, it may not be the best choice for your space. It’s important to consider both types of flooring products, and we’re here to help you determine which is type is better for your application.
Today, we’ll explore both types of flooring to determine whether laminate vs hardwood flooring is the best option for your space.
Laminate Flooring Guide
Laminate is a newer material that is often considered an inexpensive alternative to hardwood flooring. The only type of laminate flooring that we carry at Floor Concepts is RevWood by Mohawk. With its Uniclic technology, GenuEdge, and HydrosealTM, RevWood Plus products are virtually waterproof.
Laminate is composed of melamine serving as the stabilizing layer, compressed wood, a photographic layer that looks like wood, and a final plastic coating. Planks are generally between five-sixteenths and three-eighths of an inch thick.
It can be installed in high-traffic rooms in your home; such as bedrooms, family rooms, and dens. With the increased waterproof protection of RevWood Plus products, it can be installed in wet areas such as kitchens. Bear in mind that increased maintenance will be required in wet areas to prevent long-term damage.
Laminate flooring is durable and resistant to scratches and abrasions. While it typically lasts over ten years, it cannot be refinished. A protective UV coating is applied to laminate flooring, reducing its likelihood to fade.
When comparing laminate vs hardwood flooring, maintenance of laminate follows a simple cleaning routine, which makes it an attractive option for prospective home buyers. A broom, dust mop, or vacuum cleaner that is laminate friendly can be used daily. Any spills should be wiped up immediately to prevent damage. Wet mops should not be used on laminate. Instead, only use soap-free cleansers or products designed specifically for laminate flooring. Steam mops can be used. Laminate floors do not need to be refinished or waxed.
Installation for laminate is considered DIY friendly. Underlayment is required, especially when moisture is a concern. Different types of underlayment can be used to make installation easier, bridge subfloor gaping, deaden sound, and cushion the floor.
Laminate is also resistant to warping from humidity due to its layered construction and locking edges. However, laminate should still be acclimated to your home’s conditions for one to three days.
Laminate is a newer product and not all types of laminate are equal in quality. Floor Concepts distributes the best quality laminate - RevWood by Mohawk. Be sure to consult with us before you make your laminate purchase.
Hardwood Flooring Guide
Hardwood flooring is often considered a higher-end flooring material that adds value to your home. There is nothing like the look of a hardwood floor! It is also a more expensive material when comparing laminate vs hardwood flooring. You can think of hardwood flooring as permanent. It will last for years and retain its beauty, but it must be cared for appropriately.
Hardwood flooring is a natural product that is cut into planks from a larger piece of wood. The planks are then milled to their final size and shape. Planks are between five-sixteenths and three-quarters of an inch thick. Hardwood flooring can be installed in most rooms in your home, but is not recommended for wet areas like the kitchen or bathrooms. Hardwood is also not recommended below grade as it is susceptible to water damage.
Although hardwood’s name suggests it may be impervious to damage, that is not the case. Although harder grades of hardwood are more resistant to damage, hardwood can be susceptible to scratches and dents from pets and furniture. It may show wear over time or fade depending on the amount and intensity of sun it is exposed to. Fortunately, hardwood can be refinished multiple times to restore the wood’s luster, but does not necessarily repair fading. If hardwood floor is damaged beyond what refinishing will repair, the hardwood plank will need to be replaced, which should be done by a flooring professional.
As you may have gathered, maintenance and care for hardwood floors is more extensive. Refinishing, mentioned above, will help keep the natural beauty and luster of the wood. A regular and appropriate cleaning routine will also help hardwood retain its beauty. Wet mops cannot be used on hardwood floors. Only products that are specifically made for hardwood floors should be used. Wood oils can also be used so floors keep their shine.
As with other types of flooring, underlayment is required to install hardwood flooring. Installation for hardwood floors is not DIY friendly and should be left to the professionals.
When choosing laminate vs hardwood flooring for your home, consider what is most important. Is it durability or budget? The look of the floor? Or a combination of factors? Whatever it may be, Floor Concepts is here for every phase of your flooring purchase. For more information on other types of flooring, be sure to check out our side-by-side comparison of vinyl vs laminate flooring.
With comprehensive flooring services, we’ve proudly served the greater Pittsburgh area for the last 50 years. Browse our customer gallery to see some of our in-home installations. Contact us to transform your floors today!