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Hardwood vs. Laminate Flooring

Hardwood Flooring

When looking to get new flooring installed in the home, there is sometimes a struggle in deciding what is the best way to go. Today there are dozens of different flooring options, and laminate floors have brought an entirely new factor into the picture. This is because laminate flooring can actually come in a variety of styles.

People who used to buy wood can now get an easier to clean option and still have the same look. Of course, that doesn't mean that hardwood is without merit, and there is a certain distinction offered by hardwood that simply doesn't exist with other flooring. When trying to decide between hardwood and laminate flooring, here are some thoughts that might help you make the tough choice.

Hardwood

Hardwood flooring is one of the most beautiful ways to decorate a room. There is no substitute for real hardwood floors, and it adds a level of class to any room. This often comes with a hefty price tag though, and for those looking to get more rare and exotic trees, the cost can be a lot more than its laminate counterpart.

For those with money to spend, hardwood is like the luxury cars of floors. It shows that you are sophisticated and want only the best that there is on the market. With proper care and maintenance, a hardwood floor can last a lifetime and provide an attractive room for visitors.

Laminate

Laminate flooring gives home owners a unique option. With a strong resistance to stains and an easy to clean, smooth surface, many home owners have gone down the route of laminate flooring. In addition to these advantages, it is also cheaper than most traditional flooring methods, and quite simple to install.

When comparing it to hardwood, laminate can come in a variety of designs that appear like wood. Still, like any imitation, it is quite clear that these laminate floors are not made from real hardwood. Those looking to have the look of a hardwood floor while keeping the simplicity and price of laminate, do have many options though.

Installation

With today's advanced technology, every type of flooring has become easier to install. When it was originally introduced, laminate flooring was clearly easier to manage than hardwood, but now that hardwood can be installed using a panel system, that is no longer the case. Oftentimes, you really won't find a difference in difficulty or time involved for installation. When considering installing the hardwood yourself though, make sure that it is a simple installation.

The best way to tell this is to look for something with a tongue and groove system. Most modern flooring comes with this easy installation method, so make sure that, should you choose hardwood, you find flooring that is easy. The good news about this is that, typically speaking, having this tongue and groove system will not add to the cost of your hardwood.

Cleaning and Care

No matter what room a floor is in, there are bound to be some natural stains that build up over time. People will spill drinks, drop food, track mud, or any variety of other issues that comes with life. Laminate floors are very easy to clean and avoiding stains is a simple matter of regular maintenance. For hardwood, owners need to make sure they have the proper cleaning products and handle with care.

Moisture can be a real issue for hardwood floors, as over time it can begin to warp the wood and cause imperfections. Laminate does not suffer from this same issue. Hardwood does offer one advantage over laminate though, because scratches and imperfections can actually be worked out of the floor. In laminate flooring, if something does end up scratching or indenting the floor, there is really nothing you can do but replace that area of the floor.

With hardwood, you can take out a sander and work out the imperfections. Afterwards, just refinish the floor and it looks brand new. Keep in mind, this is by no means cheap or quick, but it is preferable to having a permanent scratch in your floor.

Cost

As mentioned above, laminate is definitely cheaper than hardwood, sometimes as little as half the price. If cost is your only concern, laminate flooring is the obvious choice. On the other hand, flooring retailers will often have special deals on wood flooring, and finding the right price is not always a fantasy. Before deciding solely on cost, check at various locations and see if you can't find some hardwood flooring that is comparable in price to laminate.

Which is Best?

Depending on what type of design you are going for, it can be difficult to decide which type of flooring is the best for you. Obviously, if you are looking for flooring in your kitchen, hardwood will be harder to keep clean and care for than laminate. At the same time, wood flooring for a living room can definitely look nicer. In the end, it really comes down to preference.

On the whole, wood flooring is going to be more expensive and harder to care for, but if you install the flooring yourself it is sometimes not such a drastic difference. Because laminate flooring can come in a wood design, it makes a strong argument for being a better choice. When it is time for a decision though, the best way to decide is the style of your home. If you want authentic wooden flooring, it is worth the price and care involved. If you just want the look without the hassle, go with laminate.

Posted by: Ahmed Muztaba
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