When it comes to replacing an existing wood floor or putting in a brand new one, you have a few choices. Laminate or imitation wood flooring is an affordable wood alternative, but does have some drawbacks. However, hardwood is often more desirable than laminate, but costlier.
Benefits of Hardwood Floors
Adds Value- Hardwood flooring, unlike laminate flooring, add value to your house. Hardwood has a distinct look, which adds resale value and appeal when you sell your house.
Allergies- Hardwood floors are hypoallergenic, which is great for anyone who has allergies from either the material that laminate flooring is made of, or from other flooring options, such as carpet.
Look- Hardwood floors have a much better look than inexpensive laminate flooring. Eight rooms in my house have real hardwood, and one has laminate. Both look great, but the real hardwood does have a more upscale look. Hardwood also lasts longer than laminate, thus increasing the overall value when it comes to repairs and refinishing. Because hardwood has a timeless look and durability, the need to replace it also diminishes over time.
Disadvantages of Hardwood Floors
Scratching- The biggest disadvantage with hardwood floors is that they scratch very easy. Anyone with pets should consider laminate to prevent scratching from their pet’s claws. I have also found scratching common with chairs, especially rolling computer chairs without felt guards on the bottom of the chairs legs.
Water Damage- Hardwood floors warp when excess moisture gets under the plank. Moisture on hardwood has to be immediately dried, even in small amounts, to prevent warping and staining.
Benefits of Laminate Flooring
Scratching- Laminate has better scratch resistance than hardwood floors do. This particular benefit to anyone with pets or furniture scratches floors.
Water Damage- Although laminate flooring is still susceptible to moisture damage, it is less susceptible than hardwood floors are.
Installation- Most laminate flooring attaches by interlocking precut pieces of flooring. This makes ease of installation much better than gluing or stapling hardwood.
Disadvantages of Laminate Flooring
Repair- Because laminate often comes in as a glueless application where the pieces interlock to one another it makes fixing individual pieces very difficult.
Lasting Quality- Laminate flooring typically has a life expectancy less than that of hardwood. Hardwood can last multiple decades if proper maintenance is followed. However, the synthetic laminate consist of multiple levels of synthetic paper materials, which can degrade much faster than hardwood. Laminate is good as an inexpensive quick fix for any room, but does not last as long as hardwood.