Wood vs Laminate Flooring – Which One is Better?

a-comprehensive-comparison-of-wood-and-laminate-flooring

Deciding to add some durability and charm to hard-surface wood flooring may just be the right decision for your home. On the other hand, laminate flooring is essential to many homeowners, and for good reason. Selecting the right material for your home’s flooring is extremely important. The correct flooring could make the biggest difference to your home’s aesthetic appeal, comfortability, and even your property’s value.

Once you start browsing your options, however, you will come to realize it may not be easy to make a decision. One thing is apparent, though. The debate between wood or laminate hard-surface flooring continues.

Hard-Surfaced Flooring

Wood and laminate flooring are considered hard-surface floors, and they are known to give homes a makeover with an instantly updated look. While wood and laminate flooring are both fantastic options, each comes with its own pros and cons.

Here’s a quick guide to making your remodeling decision much easier.

WOOD FLOORING

There are 2 main types of wood flooring, namely solid and engineered hardwood flooring.

Solid wood flooring is commonly available in narrow strips, wide planks, and parquet squares, while engineered hardwood flooring is made up of several wood or plywood layers glued together.

Both are unique in beauty and character while offering homeowners a more authentic finish. If looked after properly, this product can last for many years, and it is a natural choice for many due to its environmental profile, durability, and restorability.

Wood flooring is recommended for those suffering from allergies. It tends to trap less pollen, dust, and animal hair, all of which are known triggers for an allergic reaction. This type of flooring can also be eco-friendly ( if you are using recycled materials ) and helps reduce your carbon footprint.

Real estate agents agree, homes with wooden flooring sell faster, and for higher prices than homes that do not display this very appealing look. It is timeless, bringing warmth and natural beauty to any room.

Wood Floor Installation

When it comes to wood flooring, there are three basic installation types:

  • Planks
  • Wood tile
  • Strips

Straight-laid planks will cost you less to install compared to diagonal or more intricate installations. Price will also vary depending on the type of wood you prefer to use.

With a range of finishes and more than 50 species of domestic or imported woods, you really are spoilt for choice.

Pros:

  • Great return on investment
  • Spoilt for choice
  •  Environmentally friendly
  • Versatile
  • Alleviates many allergic reactions
  • Can be easily repaired
  • Retains heat
  • Long-lasting
  • Easy maintenance

Cons:

  • Can be expensive
  • Cold
  • Tough to install
  • Vulnerable to moisture
  • Susceptible to rot
  •  Not very pet-friendly
  •  Needs occasional refinishing
  •  Noisy

LAMINATE FLOORING

One of the reasons people don’t invest in laminate flooring is that it is not real. That said, it can look just as great as the real thing, and most people can’t even tell the difference!

Despite the critics, laminate flooring has become increasingly popular, and for good reason. Laminate flooring comes in an array of different colors and designs with the intention to match any style of a room. It is durable, easy to clean, and surprisingly easy to install – you could even do it yourself!

Laminate Floor Installation

This type of hard-surface flooring can be installed almost anywhere in your home, provided your subfloor is flat, clean, and dry. You can also install laminate over existing floors made of concrete, vinyl sheet, wood, ceramic tile, or even carpet.

There are 4 forms in which your laminate flooring will be installed:

  • Glued laminate flooring
  • Pre-glued laminate flooring
  •  Glueless laminate flooring
  •  Laminate flooring with attached underlay

The installation process is fast and simple, and you can choose from a variety of wood appearances including maple, oak, cherry, bamboo, mahogany, and many more.

Pros:

  • Resistant to outdoor agents
  • Low maintenance and easy to clean
  • Stain resistant
  • Easy to install
  • Durable
  • Copes well with moisture
  • Resistant to the growth of bacteria
  • No defects in the flooring pieces ( like imperfect engineered wood pieces )

Cons:

  •  Joints wear over time
  •  It can be poorly installed
  •  Can have a “manufactured” look
  •  Slippery
  •  Has an unnatural feel
  •  Not sandable or refinishable
  •  Comes with a limited lifespan
  •  Hard underfoot

Wood vs Laminate Flooring

Before you commit to wood or laminate, the jury was in to weigh up some important factors, and here are the verdicts.

1. What sort of look are you going for?

Hard-surface floors have a way of making just about any room look good. With their natural look, feel, and warm hues, hard-surface flooring brings new meaning to clean, simple and inviting.

Wood is luxurious, warm underfoot, and usually used in living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms. It comes in a variety of colors and widths and will add real value to your home.

Laminate flooring has become a popular alternative to real hardwood and vinyl floors. Unfortunately, they do not have a very natural feel. Laminate also has a reputation for looking cheap or fake in some instances.

Verdict: Wood

Reason: Wood is not just the real deal, it just looks and feels distinctly better.

2. How much sun exposure does the room get?

Beware the sun! The color of your hard-surface flooring can change if it is exposed to sunlight.

Wood flooring, when exposed to excessive sunlight, is known to get damaged pretty badly. The type of finish on the floor, as well as the species of wood chosen, play a vital role in how the wood will react.

Laminate flooring, while not completely sunproof, is highly resistant to the effects of sunlight.

Verdict: Laminate

Reason: Laminate flooring has UV protection, and that’s important in some scenarios.

3. Are there children or pets in the home?

Both kids and pets tend to be quite rough on hard-surface flooring, so it is important to choose a material that is durable and long-lasting. In this case, you may need to take extra care of your floors to make sure they are properly protected.

Wood flooring is easily scratched and marked by kids and pets. Scratches in the finish layer are, however, fairly easy to repair.

Laminate floors can be fairly noisy when walked on, but they are also almost completely impact scratch, and stain resistant. While laminate is not easily repairable, it is extremely durable.

Verdict: Laminate

Reason: Laminate flooring is more cost-effective than wood, and when it comes to child/pet-friendly flooring, laminate comes up tops. It is easily cleaned, durable, and resists scratches better than wood does.

4. Which lasts longer?

When properly cared for, hard-surface flooring can last ages. Maintenance is extremely important, and therefore the lifespan of your flooring will ultimately depend on you.

Wood floors have an average life expectancy of about 25 – 70 years, and last a lifetime if properly cared for.

Laminate flooring is low maintenance, durable, and easy to clean. It only has a life expectancy of 15 – 30 years.

Verdict: Wood

Reason: Wood is easily repaired, and in most cases outlasts laminate flooring. Keep in mind that quality materials and proper installation also contribute to the lifespan of your hard-surface flooring.

5. What will the traffic be like in the room?

If the room you are re-flooring is one which receives high traffic volume, the flooring will more than likely need to be of a harder material. Harder-surface flooring which is subjected to high traffic is less likely to show wear and tear in the long run.

Wood looks good and feels even better. While wood flooring is easily damaged, it is also easily sanded and refinished.

Laminate flooring can sound hollow when you walk on it, but there are special underlayment paddings you can try to help reduce the noise level. In high-traffic areas laminate is tough and reliable.

Verdict: Laminate

Laminate flooring is more durable, while wood is susceptible to damage in heavy traffic areas.

Ultimately Your Choice

So there you have it. Now that you know more about wood and laminate flooring, you are more than able to make a well-informed decision to suit your home’s needs.

Remember to be realistic.

While there is no doubt your home or apartment will benefit from hard-surface flooring, the final decision on either wood or laminate is, of course, up to you.