Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Difference Between Laminate and Hardwood Flooring

Most people associated with laminate flooring as a 'knock off' version of real hardwood flooring. But what are the differences, really? Is one really superior to the other? In what situations would you use laminate, and what situations would you use hardwood? The answers to these questions really depend on your home, your lifestyle, your cleaning habits, your personal tastes and your budget.


Generally speaking, this type is less expensive than hardwood, so if your budget is an issue then this may be a good option for you. It is also considered easier to keep clean, and you can get it moderately wet, unlike hardwood. It comes in waterproof and water resistant varieties, so it can be installed in kitchens and bathrooms. It is also more durable than hardwood, and can handle a bit more wear and tear. Unlike hardwood though, it can not be sanded down and refinished. If the surface gets scratched or damaged, you might have to go and buy a whole new floor. It often comes with a 10 or 15 year warranty against fading and staining. It generally comes in lighter shades but you can usually find a variety nowadays.


This type of flooring comes in a wide variety of wood styles, including Maple, Ash, Birch, Oak and Pine. It is much more natural looking and comes in many different shades, from reddish-brown, to light blonde. The grooves, knots and grains are completely random and add character to the overall décor of the room. The darker the wood, though, the harder it is to keep clean. Dust, pet hair and footprints can easily show on darker stained wood so may not be the best options for families; however if you live alone or in a couple it would be a great choice to add to your interior. It cannot get too wet, so is not considered suitable for bathrooms or kitchens. Over time, it can fade due to sunlight, however it can be sanded down and refinished. The good side to that is it will look like brand new, without having to buy a whole new floor.

Prices vary among the different types of wood, but they are all more expensive than laminate. Depending on the type of wood selected, you will still want area rugs placed strategically throughout your home, to prevent stains and spills but to also add a touch of warmth and interest with different textures. You have to be very careful when cleaning these floors as they cannot handle excess water, but if something is spilt it is a much easier job than if you have carpet laid. This type of flooring is desired and looks fantastic so can add a lot of value to your home.

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