Everyone loves a wood floor. It looks great, is easy to keep clean, will keep you and your family warm and will last for years. One of the benefits of buying an old house is that it might already have a solid wood floor that you can bring back to its former glory. For a newer home, on the other hand, a laminate floor gives the appearance of wood but at a fraction of the cost.
Is it really just a case of old fashioned expensive quality versus modern, cheaper expediency, or is there more to choosing between these very different variations on the same theme than first meets the eye? We consulted experts from Discount Flooring Depot, who know all that is worth knowing about different floor solutions, to evaluate each according to three important metrics. Here’s what they said:
Although it is not the only consideration, price is certainly a major deciding factor between the two options.
There is no getting round the fact that a hardwood floor is going to cost a lot more to buy and install than a laminate floor. It comes from harvested trees, so the exact pricing will depend very much on the type of wood, but whatever you choose, it will not be cheap.
Laminate wood comes in two types, either from engineered wood or synthetic laminate. In both cases, the materials are cheaper, and the installation is also far simpler, and is something that is within the capabilities of anyone with a reasonable level of DIY skills.
It probably comes as no surprise that laminate wins on cost, but you might think that the more expensive solid wood floor is far more durable and long lasting. However, this is not necessarily the case. It really depends on the type of foot traffic and wear and tear that your floor is likely to face.
Hardwood is certainly thick and solid, and it can last a lifetime. But it is also more susceptible to water damage, scratching and staining. Having said that, it is always possible to repair and sand a wooden floor, removing imperfections and leaving it looking like new, but it is not a five-minute job.
A laminate floor is actually more durable when it comes to hard use and abuse. If you have kids and pets, then it is better able to withstand the spilt drinks, muddy paw prints and sand-coated flip flops that are part of your everyday family life.
Care and maintenance
Your floor will inevitably need regular cleaning, and while both types under consideration here are less hassle to look after than a carpet, they do require different types of care.
As we have already discussed, laminate can put up with all sorts of abuse, and is quick and easy to clean using a mop and a bucket of soapy water. This is not a good method to use with solid wood, which instead needs to be cleaned with a damp cloth to keep it at its best.
In the end, it is clear to see why laminate floors are so popular for today’s busy families!