Check out this helpful article we came across at howstuffworks.com; it gives an excellent guide to the differences between hardwood and laminate flooring. We hope your decision making process regarding your floors goes just a little more smoothly because of it.
Wood or Laminate?
With the popularity of laminate flooring growing every day, many people often ask which they should choose, hardwoods or laminate. This is not a simple question to answer. Many people have used laminate flooring with no problems. Other people prefer the ease of dealing with scratches and dents on wood floors.
According to Floor Shop, laminate flooring is typically constructed with a high-density fiberboard core, sandwiched between a melamine laminate backing, high-quality photographic paper with an image of wood, stone or other natural flooring, and a melamine laminate top. There are a few new hybrid products that replace the photographic paper with a very thin slice of real wood veneer.
There are benefits and drawbacks to both hardwoods and laminate flooring. Hardwood floors can be scratched, but scratches are pretty easy to repair. If a laminate floor is scratched or tears, it is not very easily repaired. Where a hardwood floor can be sanded to remove imperfections, the same is not true with laminate floors. Laminate flooring companies do make touch-up and chip repair kits as well as offer plank replacement. With hardwoods, though, a simple light sanding may do the trick. If you have pets or foresee a lot of scratching and scuffing in your floor’s future, hardwoods may be a better option than laminate.
One of the benefits of laminate over hardwoods is that laminate flooring does not yellow or fade from sunlight or other elements. Most stained wood floors will change color over time. Unlike laminates, though, wood floors can always be restored to their original beauty. On the other hand, laminate floors never need wax or polish. Both hardwood floors and laminates can be affected by excessive moisture, but it is only laminate flooring that can really hold up to being put in a kitchen or bathroom. Rooms that get a lot of moisture are not ideal for hardwoods. Finally, a special padding is required under laminate floors to reduce the floor’s potential for noise. Ultimately, the decision to go with hardwood floors or laminate flooring is best made by examining what’s best for your personal needs.