Hardwood has been a popular flooring option for numerous generations. Recently there has been an alternative to the traditional hardwood floor that is becoming more and more popular. Laminate Floors closely resemble the look of natural hardwood. While both hardwood floors and laminate floors are very similar in look, there are advantages and disadvantages to each. So which one should you choose? In order to make an educated decision, it’s important to know the facts, pro’s and con’s of each. This article will help you gain a better understanding of the true differences between hardwood and laminate floors.
Laminate floors are basically made of a high pressured plastic material that is extremely impact resistance. This makes it more durable than hardwood floors from a scratching and denting point of view. However, when a hardwood floor becomes worn and visually beat up, you do have the capability of re-sanding and re-finishing your hardwood floor to bring it back to like new condition. With laminate, being a plastic material, you do not have the ability of refinishing.
While laminate floors come extremely close to imitating the look of hardwood, nothing comes closer than the real thing. Technology in recent years have exploded in the laminate floor manufacturing industry and these laminate floors look as realistic as ever, but it’s not possible to imitate the real thing 100%. Since Hardwood floors are a natural product, there are no two boards that look alike. With a laminate floor you will have repeating patterns at some point since it is just a picture. Laminate floors will typically give you more of a hollow sound when you walk on it as opposed to solid hardwood. This is due to the fact that laminate floor is manufactured to float over your subfloor without being actually attached to the floor. Solid hardwood floors are nailed down, giving you a more solid sound when walking over it.
Besides durability, there are other benefits that laminate floors have over hardwood. Due to the plastic top layer and more water resistance cores, laminate floors are typically more resistant to moisture issues than hardwood. You still need to keep water away from your laminate floor, but it typically is a little more forgiving. During the different seasons of the year when you have different heat and humidity levels, laminate floor will typically not expand or contract as much as hardwood floors. This benefit makes it an ideal choice to install in below grade basements or over concrete floors.
There isn’t a lot of differences between hardwood and laminate floors from a maintenance standpoint. Both laminate and hardwood floors can be swept and vacuumed. It is not recommended to mop either of these floors as the excess water can damage both laminate and hardwood floors. For spot cleaning, or cleaning dirt that cannot be removed with sweeping or vacuuming, spray a very light mist of water or cleaning solution and use a dry mop such as a swifter to wipe up the moisture. This will help keep both your laminate or hardwood floor looking new.
Deciding between a hardwood and a laminate floor comes down to a couple different things. Cost, as hardwood floors are generally more expensive, but more importantly personal preference. Consider the conditions in your home and your personal preferences and with the knowledge listed above, you will be able to make the right choice for your home.