Today, there are more flooring options than ever before. Going back far enough, the only options for flooring used to be dirt, stone, or wood. Now, you’re spoiled for choice: ceramic tile, hardwood, bamboo, cork, marble, vinyl, and other materials are only a home-improvement store’s trip away. But with every new type of flooring available comes a new choice: which one should you pick?
Instead of comparing all of the different types of floors available, we are just going to focus on two: laminate and hardwood.
We’ll bring up various considerations when picking between the few, such as kid friendliness or ease of installation, and discuss the pros and cons of each option. Let’s get started:
Cost to install laminate varies depending on the quality of the laminate you purchase, but HomeAdvisor lists the average spent on laminate as $2,816.
For a similarly sized house, it costs almost double to install real-wood floors: $4,240.
If price is your only consideration, laminate wins hands down.
On average, laminate flooring has a pretty variable lifespan. The typical range is between 15 and 25 years (which is a pretty big range in and of itself), but can shift from anywhere between 10 and 30 years depending mostly on its exposure to sunlight and the amount of traffic it gets Assuming proper installation and care, wood floors can last a lifetime and then some. Another advantage is that if they become scuffed and marred, they can be sanded down and refinished to become like new again.
Pre-finished Engineered wood flooring is another popular option. It has the speed of installation of laminate products but can be sanded and refinished a couple times. After that, you run into the plywood backing and would need to replace it.
Luxury vinyl tile is the clear winner in this category. This synthetic material resists moisture better than either wood or laminate. It is also durable to resists scratching. This product can have either a wood- or tile-like appearance.
Laminate flooring, when it first came out, didn’t look great. But it’s come a long way. Nowadays, unless you look really closely, you can’t tell that what you’re seeing isn’t real wood. Even so, laminate flooring will never have the texture and sheen that real wooden floors offer. Even though laminate has come a long way in terms of looks, it will never be able to match the real thing.
Most laminate flooring comes with a foam layer underneath called, unsurprisingly, an underlayment. This gives the floor a squishy, springy feeling that is good for long periods of standing. However, laminate gets slippery when wet and builds static electricity more easily than wood.
With wooden floors, the feel depends on the type of wood, though it’s safe to say that wood floors won’t feel as springy due to their lack of an underlayment.
If you install wooden floors in your home, you’ll end up saving money on your heating bill. Even though wooden floors nearly always feel cold to the touch, they have a high thermal mass. That means that wooden floors are good at keeping your home a steady temperature, as opposed to quickly heating up or cooling down whenever your home changes temperature. Laminate, on the other hand, doesn’t do as great of a job.
If this article helped you decide between hardwood and laminate floors, leave a comment!