For centuries, solid hardwood flooring was considered the Cadillac of building materials, and for many homeowners, there’s no other option. You want the best? Install hardwood floors. It’s that easy. But there’s a new kid in town giving solid hardwood a run for its money–laminate flooring.
Once considered the “budget” choice, laminate floors are gaining popularity because they’re a pocketbook-friendly DIY alternative to mimic the cozy and organic look of natural hardwood, plus they have a few advantages of their own. Let’s run down the pros and cons of hardwood vs. laminate flooring products and see which is best for your home.
Hardwood flooring planks are ¾” boards milled from real trees which fill your home with natural beauty and warmth. You’ll find solid hardwood everywhere from renovated colonials in New England to the hottest mid-century modern apartments in Hollywood, and with good reason–if properly maintained, natural hardwoods can last for over 100 years. Realtors agree that hardwood floors are always a selling point and a smart upgrade to increase your home’s value. Because they can be sanded and refinished every few decades (up to four times), it’s likely that your hardwood floors will outlive the roof, windows, furnace, hot water heater, garage door opener, or anything else in your home.
So, what’s the drawback?
The main disadvantage of hardwood flooring is that being made of real wood, it’s subject to swelling, cupping, bowing, or cracking from exposure to heat and/or humidity. Prolonged exposure to light causes boards to fade unevenly. Some folks find faded and weathered floorboards a charming sign of quality workmanship, while others say they’re tacky. Ultimately, it’s up to your personal taste and interior design profile.
Hardwood should never be installed below-grade or in homes with radiant heating systems and should be used with caution in kitchens and bathrooms. Also, laying hardwood requires specialized tools plus a final sanding and finish step, making a DIY installation difficult.
Natural Hardwood Pros & Cons
- Durable–Natural hardwood can last 100+ years
- Increases the market value of your home
- Hardwood floors are easily repaired and refinished
- Hardwood is expensive
- Vulnerable to heat, humidity, and UV
- Difficult to DIY
Let’s get this out of the way first: the biggest – and only – drawback to laminate flooring is that it needs to be replaced every 10-15 years. And even though hardwood is still considered the premium flooring material, high-quality laminate products are gaining traction as they give realistic hardwood vibes at a fraction of the cost with the benefits of heat, moisture, and UV resistance; plus they’re easy to DIY with just a quick supply run to the local hardware store.
Unlike solid hardwood, laminate products can be installed as a floating floor, which saves time, and their protective coating makes them a contender for recreating the look of real hardwood in spaces like eat-in kitchens and bathrooms, areas where natural wood is vulnerable to heat and moisture.
If real hardwood is out of your budget, you need protection from heat and moisture, or maybe you want hardwood someday but have kids or pets (who’ll hopefully grow up and quit scratching the floor in 10-15 years), consider laminate hardwood.
Laminate Hardwood Pros & Cons
- Resists heat, moisture, UV light, and humidity
- More affordable than natural hardwood
- Easy to DIY
- Short life span–needs replaced every 10-15 years
If you’re still debating the advantages and disadvantages of real hardwood floors vs. laminate flooring products, our friendly staff of flooring experts at Dan’s Wholesale Carpet and Flooring can help you settle the score and answer all of your flooring questions.
Give us a call today at (888) SHOP-123, click the FREE consultation button on this webpage, or visit any of our five convenient Northeast Ohio locations to check out the latest offerings in natural and laminate hardwood flooring.