It was once thought that hardwood floors were the best of the best when it came to flooring materials. There are still quite a few who will defend Team Hardwood through and through. But, a new challenger has risen in the flooring world. Meet: laminate flooring.
New breeds of laminate are no longer the once-inferior flooring of decades past. In fact, laminate has come a long way and in some ways, it can hold its own, or even outperform hardwood options. So, as the battle of laminate v. hardwood continues, how do you decide what’s best – for you?
Different types of laminate can mimic natural wood and stone finishes. From a distance, laminate can look just like real wood. And, with improving technology and design capabilities, laminate is a higher quality than ever before! Patterns are more repetitive (key to duplicating natural wood grain) and much more realistic.
Wood-look laminate flooring has soared in popularity due to its durability. Many laminate types now boast UV protection plus resistance to scratches and dents – perfect for high-traffic (aka pets and kids) and sun-exposed areas in the home.
Laminate is also a cost-effective option when it comes to cost per square foot, and the cost of installation. DIYers often choose laminate because installation is typically a breeze. Most offerings today are tongue-and-groove or snap-and-lock installs requiring no glue, staples or special tools. Depending on the variety, laminate can run anywhere from a few cents to just over $1-2 per square foot!
Solid, 100% wood floors are available in seemingly endless options– any variety, color, or texture of finish of wood, including exotic species. Purists and traditionalists swear by hardwood for 1) its long-term value (they last a lifetime, and add to your home’s equity), and 2) their beauty. Some people love the warmth, character and fine craftsmanship of natural wood. But, others may prefer the low maintenance, no-fuss nature of other options.
Hardwood is more susceptible to scratches, dents, wear-and-tear, and sunlight damage, but they just require a bit more TLC. If you’re willing to invest your time in upkeep, a few more dollars up front for cost (anywhere around $2-5 or more per square foot), and having a professional install, your hardwoods will stay just as beautiful and charming as they day they were on day one.
Another benefit of hardwood is the appeal to remodelers interested in environmental sustainability. Reclaimed wood has spiked in popularity, allowing recycled construction materials to be transformed and utilized in the home. Some new lumber species that are certified “ecologically conscious” can also be purchased!
The bottom line: consider your design style, project budget, and space’s function when deciding which flooring option is best for you and your home!