One of the hottest topics of debate among designers and home buyers alike has been the choice between hardwood and laminate as the flooring material.

There are many benefits and downsides to each of these options, and knowing the differences between the two is key before making your final decision for any space in your home.

Laminate vs. Hardwood

Laminate has become increasingly popular over the past few years due to its affordability and easy maintenance. This synthetic flooring material can give off the look of natural hardwood, but is comprised of a resin and fiber board material.

One of the most classic and most popular options for flooring is natural hardwood. This luxurious and elegant option is perfect for many rooms in your home but is typically designated to kitchens, dining rooms, living rooms, and bedrooms.

Pricing

Whether or not you can actually afford hardwood may end up being a final deciding factor as the pricing is typically much higher than laminate, sometimes twice as much in fact.

Laminate, on the other hand, is ideal for those who want the hardwood look but can't afford the hardwood price. Many premium laminates today have a great hardwood-replicated design to where you can't even tell the difference between it and actual hardwood. Cheaper models, however, can have unnatural grain designs that can instantly throw it off and bring down the value of your home.

Durability

When it comes to standing up to natural wear-and-tear, laminate flooring is going to be able to handle a lot more traffic in the long run than hardwood. For example, you could drag your kitchen table or refrigerator all over your laminate floor and not make a scratch.

Hardwood on the other hand, does show many scratches and dents much sooner than laminate will, and requires refinishing on a more frequent basis as it is more susceptible to moisture, sunlight, and other wear-and-tear effects.

Repair and Upkeep

When it comes to the necessary repair and maintenance of these floors, there are big differences to each and much of it stems from how they were initially installed into your home.

Traditionally, laminate floors are usually more difficult to repair than an engineered or solid hardwood floor would be. Unlike hardwood floors, laminate cannot be refinished if there is significant surface damage.

If you want replace something on laminate, you will have to have the plank completely removed and replaced, which can cause aesthetic issues if there has been significant sunlight on the area causing it to become discolored over time.

When hardwood needs to be repaired in certain areas, a simple sanding and refinishing can return it to its former glory, making it an ideal choice for a long term flooring option.

Written by Kevin Painchaud — August 27, 2015

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