Many people opt for hardwood flooring simply because they love the way it looks, even though there are other benefits to hardwood. Of course, if you’re making a flooring choice based on aesthetics alone, you might know that laminate flooring looks very similar despite being composed of a very different material. In fact, it is designed to look like hardwood, but is made from melamine resin and fiber board material. Since both hardwood and laminate can offer basically the same appearance, which one should you choose?
Durability. When evaluating any flooring material, keep in mind that factors like care, maintenance, and the amount of foot traffic in the area will impact its longevity. So, any advertised “life span” of a material is merely an estimate of its average durability. Having said that, most laminate flooring manufacturers offer warranties of 10 to 25 years on the finish. Laminate tends to be quite resistant to moisture damage, staining, and fading.
Hardwood, on the other hand, can be damaged more easily (depending on finish and maintenance practices). But damaged areas can be replaced with relative ease, by refinishing the surface. Laminate flooring doesn’t allow for spot repairs.
The average “life span” of a hardwood floor can be 40 to 80 years when well maintained and regularly refinished.
Differences in appearance. As we said, laminate flooring is designed to look like hardwood, but it is not an exact match. It is impossible to perfectly replicate the authenticity of natural wood boards, so the printed pattern will repeat and might appear obvious to the casual observer.
One advantage of hardwood is that minor surface scratches blend well with the surface, and can even add to the unique appearance. With laminate flooring, chips and scratches are more obvious.
Eco-friendliness. In this category, hardwood is the clear winner. Hardwood is 100 percent organic, whereas laminate flooring is composed of multiple layers of composite materials, resin, and even glue.
There are plenty of other differences between hardwood and laminate flooring, but these tend to be the most important to consumers. For more information, give us a call. We can get you an estimate for both types of flooring, and discuss issues like care, maintenance, and longevity in further detail.