Wood Floors vs. Laminate Floors: How to Choose

It can be difficult to choose between going with hardwood floors or laminate floors in your home. Read this guide to help you decide.

By Jeremy Meisenbacher      

 

Of the many home improvements one can make, new flooring can have one of the biggest impacts. Floors can profoundly change the atmosphere and environment of a room in dramatic ways. Factors like the material, the ease of installation, light reflection, durability, and maintenance are just a few of the major considerations that a homeowner should weigh when choosing a type of floor. Of the many options, laminate flooring and wood flooring are quite popular. Here are some of the pros and cons worth considering when choosing between these two very different types flooring materials that are often compared with each other.

 

Laminate Floors

Let’s start with some of the advantages of laminate flooring, which is also known as “floating wood tile,” and sold under the brand name “Pergo.” For those considering new flooring as a DIY project, laminate floors are easily the preferred choice for DIYers. Laminate flooring planks lock together and are fairly easy for non-professionals to fit in place.

 

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Unlike wood floors, laminate flooring can be installed in just a day, and you can walk on it immediately. There’s no need to let it settle or apply a finishing product like you have to do with new wood floors. Another thing that makes installing laminate flooring a great DIY project is the planks won’t adhere to the surface of your floor base, and thus they can be applied to a variety of surfaces. This aspect of laminate flooring also allows it to swell and shrink without the warping that can occur with wood floors.

 

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Aside from the ease of application, laminate flooring is simple to maintain. Many people will use basic cleaning agents or even glass cleaner on laminate flooring with good results. Homeowners with pets can appreciate that. Many have learned the hard way that dogs and cats can cause scratches on wood floors, but laminate flooring is scratch-resistant. Some dog owners want to be able to get Fido’s nails clipped without worrying about the potential damage his manicure could cause to their floors. Laminate floors can look new for years, even with constant paw traffic.

 

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Finally, for those who may have been turned off by the sometimes “cheap” look of a laminate floor, you should know that floating wood tile has come a long way. There are many options in laminate flooring that people with refined taste can appreciate while still benefitting from the versatility of quality laminate. If you go with laminate flooring, you don’t need to sacrifice elegance just because you have kids and/or pets.

 

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Wood Floors

When considering the benefits of wood floors, we can talk about longevity. Some of the most impressive historic homes still feature the same wood floors they were originally built with. In some cases, their floors are a defining characteristic. The charm of an aged wood floor can be awesome, and make a home’s atmosphere warm and inviting.  

 

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The fact that wood floors are in so many older homes is a testament to the durability of a well-built wood floor, and is a definite “pro” in the wood floor camp that can’t be overlooked. If properly cared for, wood floors can last several lifetimes, and can often increase the value of a home. That’s why wood floors can be a great investment whether you’re planning on staying in your home of eventually selling it.

 

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Wood has a natural beauty. Wood floors can have a high-quality look if the right type of wood is used and it’s installed by professionals. Just because wood floors can be beautiful, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re delicate. Wood is durable and strong, and has this “ageless” look that many people say you can’t find in other materials. Many swear by the appearance of a well-maintained wood floor, and testify that there’s no real comparison between wood and laminate flooring. No matter how advanced the laminate flooring industry gets, it would be difficult to mistake a quality wood floor for a laminate.

 

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Although wood floors do require more maintenance than laminate floors, the rewards of this additional work can be truly stunning. The shine and luxuriousness that can come from a well-maintained wood floor is unparalleled.

 

One of the complaints about laminate flooring is the “click, click” sound footsteps make on it. You don’t get that sound with quality wood, and in fact, wood can dramatically improve the acoustics of a room.

 

These are just some of the many qualities of laminate and wood flooring to consider if you’re choosing between the two. The decision ultimately comes down to personal preference and practicality.

 

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