Hardwood or Laminate? Which one should you choose?
One of my clients wanted to replace the carpeting in their living room & dining room. They weren’t sure if they should use hardwood or laminate flooring. Great question!
Hardwood flooring is an investment that will last you a life time and add more value to your home. It is seen as being more luxurious than laminate.
Hardwood floors is one of the most sought after amenities people want when buying a home. It ranks very high on their list.
When Should You Use Hardwood Flooring?
There are many types of hardwood flooring out there that will not only suit your budget, but more importantly will suit your home. There are many factors to take into consideration when you are renovating or upgrading a feature in your home. One of the main points to consider with any upgrade is where do you live? What kind of home to you life in? You don’t want to put a high end hardwood in a starter home or visa versa a low end hardwood in a designer home or highly sought after neighbourhood where house prices stand their ground.
The type and cost of hardwood flooring needs to reflect the style of your home and your type of neighbourhood. Check out your open houses in your neighborhood and find out what the majority of people are doing when they are renovating. In one of our houses, there were old parquet floors on the main floor. It was a single family home in a sought after neighbourhood. The first renovation we did when we moved in was to remove the dated parquet flooring in the living dining and family rooms and installed hardwood flooring.
What About The Basement?
Installing hardwood in the basement can also add value to your home but there are other factors to consider in this area.
If you have kids, pets or high traffic areas, laminate might be a better option for some of your spaces. Laminate does have some great features. It is less expensive than hardwood and it doesn’t scratch as easy either. Laminate can fit well in a basement or rental unit. In high-end homes, you can find either hardwood or laminate. There are nice laminate floors that are hard to tell that they’re not hardwood.
Does your basement leak during a heavy rain? You need to correct your water issue in your basement and make sure you have a dry year before you install new flooring in there or it could be an expensive project.
So what did I advise my client? Hardwood!!! Even though it was going to cost them more money, and it meant that they would have to wait a year before they could afford it, they definitely would get more money for their home when they sold it than if they had installed laminate.
Hardwood or Laminate?
What’s the difference?
Solid hardwood flooring planks are produced from single pieces of real wood, and can be purchased unfinished or prefinished.
Engineered hardwood flooring is a type of wood floor that consists of several wood or plywood layers. Bottom and middle layers are manufactured from cross-laid solid wood or plywood planks. The top layer consists of a solid sawn wood lamella, often stained and prefinished in the factory. Hardwood is real wood, and has lots of texture. No two planks look the same.
Laminate is a multi-layer manufactured product designed to look like real wood. The core layer of laminate flooring is made from melamine resin and fiber board. The top layer has an imprinted textured image made to look like real wood. High quality laminate is made to look like wood but patterns are repeated about every 5 boards.
Hardwood or Laminate?
Quick Comparison Chart
|Feature||Solid Hardwood||Engineered Hardwood||Laminate Flooring|
|Installation Type||Glue-down, Nail-down||Glue-down, nail-down, floating||Glue-down, Floating|
|Can Be Repaired?||Yes||Yes||No|
|Scratch Resistance||Very good, depending on species and finish||Very good, depending on species and finish||Excellent|
|Floor life expectancy||Lifetime||Lifetime||Up to 20 years|
|Care and Maintenance||Easy||Easy||Easy|
|Can be refinished?||Yes||Yes||No|
|Spot-repairs?||Yes, depending on finish||Yes, depending on finish||No|
|Can be easily recycled?||Yes||Yes, in most cases||No|
|Eco-friendly and non-toxic?||100% organic product||Formaldehyde-free, depending on manufacturer||Highly varies, depending on manufacturer|
|Structural warranty||Yes, depending on manufacturer||Yes, depending on manufacturer||Yes, depending on manufacturer|
|Finish warranty||Yes, depending on manufacturer and finish||Yes, depending on manufacturer and finish||Sometimes, depending on manufacturer|
|Floor look and feel||Real wood, unique grain pattern||Real wood, unique grain pattern||Imitation of wood, repetitive pattern|
Source for chart: Coswick Hardwood Inc. www.coswick.com
Photos: Home Depot except top picture of dining room.
Debi Carser is a Designer, Stager & Renovator. For over 10 years she has been helping clients make their home stunning. She has staged over 75 homes helping clients make money beyond their expectations. She has bought several “fixer uppers” and either flipped them for a healthy profit or turned them into profitable rental properties. Follow her as she shares her tips & secrets along the way.