Hardwood or Laminate

 If you are looking to replace the floors in your home, two of the most popular choices are hardwood and laminate. While they are often compared to each other, there are vast differences between the two types of flooring. There are a number of factors that you need to take into consideration when deciding to install hardwood flooring or laminate.

If the old adage is true that you get what you pay for, then one would believe that it is better to lay hardwood, than install laminate flooring. This is because hardwood floors are typically more expensive than their laminate cousin. However, due to the technology that goes into making laminate, it is generally more forgiving than hardwood and usually makes more sense, unless you live in an older home without much foot traffic.

In addition, it takes a lot more work to keep hardwood flooring clean and if you do not do the upkeep, you will not have it for that long. Also, because hardwood naturally swells and shrinks with changes in humidity and moisture content it is not ideal for bathrooms or mudrooms.

However, if you are insistent on having a floor that looks like real wood, then you may be better off with real wood. This is because, when you go for the natural look, laminate floors can become just as, if not more, expensive than hardwood. Plus, wood is a renewable resource and is considered a “green” product. Additionally, it is much easier to repair hardwood as it can just be sanded and refurbished. When it comes to laminate, you may have to replace the entire floor or risk having an area that does not look the same as the rest.

While both repel stains well, hardwood is more likely to react to intense sunlight and it also tends to be sensitive to high-heeled shoes, pets, kids, and furniture. All of these things can lead to dents and scrapes the wood. While some may call it rustic, others seem to think it looks tired and in need of refurbishment or replacement.

Speaking of replacement, if you tend to redecorate often, then you may be more inclined to go laminate, as it is easier to remove and can be made to look like different types of wood and stone. However, if you go hardwood, then you can keep the flooring and simply replace the mats and runners throughout your home.

Another thing to take into consideration when looking at new flooring is the decor that will be placed in the same rooms. This includes any custom blinds or window shades, as well as the furniture that will be in the room and what the room will be used for. Blinds and shades can help reduce the sun damage if there is no UV coating on the wood floor and you have to determine how much wear and tear the floor will endure in order to decide between hardwood and laminate.  It is best to be realistic or you will end up unhappy.

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