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Hardwood or Laminate Flooring?

This very common question often gets asked by homeowners -- should I install hardwood flooring or laminated wood flooring? Why or why not? Which is better? There are some very big differences between these two types of wood flooring and we put together some of the most common features of both types for comparison.

  • Composition - Hardwood flooring can come in a variety of natural solid woods including oak, maple, pine, and bamboo. Laminate, on the other hand, is a synthetic fiberboard product consisting of engineered materials to provide it with a look similar to real wood.
  • Durability - Both types of flooring will last a while, but hardwood floors can outlast laminate by decades. In addition, hardwood floors can be sanded down and refinished a couple of times during their lifetime while laminate floors can not.
  • Maintenance - Both are very easy to clean but be sure to use the correct cleaner since they each require their own type of cleaning product. In addition, do not let water sit on wood for an extended period of time as it can warp the wood.
  • Installation - Hardwood flooring is a much more time consuming installation process because each piece of wood needs to be staggered and nailed into other pieces of hardwood. Laminate can either be glued to the floor or snapped into place making it much easier to install.
  • Cost - The cost of hardwood varies by the type of wood but on average you can expect to pay twice as much for hardwood (including installation) compared to laminate floors.

Some homeowners prefer the real wood floors over engineered laminate floors, but the latter have become much more popular over the last few years. Laminate floors are starting to gain traction in kids rooms and basements of newer homes because they are slightly softer than hardwood and a little easier to clean. Keep in mind that hardwood floors will last longer though. Local contractors can help you choose the best flooring product to suite your needs

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