Flooring Showdown: Hardwood vs. Laminate

 In Hardwood Floors, Laminate

We get asked a lot about whether we recommend hardwood or laminate to people considering new floors. It’s not an easy question to answer as it depends on many variables. For some families, all-natural oak is the best solution, while others might find that affordable laminate fits their needs better.

Don’t rush into your decision, take some time to learn about the many flooring options available and consider long-term costs like refinishing and repair as well as the price per square foot.

This week, we’re looking at the major difference between solid wood floors and laminate. We won’t be talking about engineered floors today, but we’ll cover that in another post.

If hardwood is best, who cares about the rest?

No one can say that hardwood is objectively the best flooring solution. Wood is known for adding to your home’s market appeal and under the right conditions it can last nearly forever. But you might not care as much about a floor that lasts a century, especially if you plan on remodelling or upgrading your home.

The very fact that other flooring options exist proves that hardwood isn’t always the best choice. To start narrowing down your choices you want to consider three things:

What is your budget?
Is the area you are covering a low-, medium-, or high-traffic area?
Would you rather refinish or replace?

The economics of cost

If you’ve ever taken an economics class, you know that sometimes the cheapest solution is better in the short-term, most often when you expect you’ll have much more money down the road. Your first car probably wasn’t a Bentley. If you are a new home-owner, you might consider laminate because it’s more affordable and requires less care than solid wood floors.

If you have the money now, solid wood flooring can be a great investment. It requires more maintenance than laminate though, and wood can be expensive to repair.

Future value

It is generally accepted that hardwood floors add value to your home. This is partly true, but it’s not guaranteed. Solid wood floors are desirable, especially when they have been well cared for, but it’s important to realize that there’s something real estate experts call “over-improved.” What this means is that if everyone else in your neighbourhood has laminate floors, putting hardwood in your home doesn’t magically raise the price. Home buyers often replace floors after their purchase. If you intend to sell your home soon, easy-to-remove laminate saves you money and saves the buyer time and hassle.

The pros and cons

Solid wood floors:

Advantages

  • Can be refinished multiple times
  • A classic look that can’t be matched
  • Potentially adds value to your home

Drawbacks

  • Shows wear
  • Vulnerable to moisture
  • Usually the most expensive option

Laminate floors:

Advantages

  • Stain and scratch resistant
  • Easy to clean
  • Affordable on a budget

Disadvantages

  • Won’t last as long as well-maintained hardwood
  • Can’t be refinished, must be replaced
  • Not as attractive to home-buyers

Still undecided?

There’s a lot to consider and we can help you decide. Email us with any questions you have about flooring and don’t forget to check out our huge digital showroom at www.aaaflooring.ca

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