Hardwood vs Laminate. Which one should you choose?

hardwood-looring-vs-laminate-which one should you choose?ToYourHome.ca

Hardwood vs Laminate?

Updated April 25, 2020

Hardwood floors is one of the most sought after amenities people want when buying a home.  It ranks very high on their list. 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. But is it always the right choice?

Scenario #1:

One of my clients wanted to replace their living room & dining room carpet. They weren’t sure if they should use hardwood or laminate flooring.  Great question!!!  One I get asked alot!

Scenario #2:

In a townhouse in a neighborhood that I own a fixer upper, I went through an open house to check out the upgrades that the owners did on this “flip.” They had put down a beautiful hardwood flooring throughout.  BUT! They should have chosen laminate flooring.

Scenario #3:

In a couple of 0f my rentals I replaced the original hardwood flooring with vinyl plank flooring.

 

What’s the difference?

Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood vs. Laminate? Which one should you choose?

Solid hardwood flooring planks are produced from single pieces of real wood, and are typically purchased in a prefinished stain. No two planks look the same.

Engineered hardwood flooring is a wood floor that consists of several wood or plywood layers. The bottom and middle layers are manufactured from cross-laid solid wood or plywood planks. The top layer consists of solid wood and typically stained and prefinished in the factory. Hardwood is real wood, and has lots of texture.

Pro’s:

  • Is 100% wood
  • No two planks look the same
  • Comes with a life time guarantee
  • Can be sanded & refinished several times
  • Can be repaired
  • Hardwood flooring is sought after among home buyers and thus has the best resale value when selling

Con’s

  • Typically is the highest priced option of all the flooring options
  • Should be professionally installed for best results which will increase the costs of installation
  • Can show scratches
  • Floor can become dented where heavy furniture is placed therefore need furniture pads under legs
  • Not best for basements where flooding can be an issue

 

Laminate Flooring

Debi Collinson-AddValueToYourHome.ca
Laminate Flooring can look alot like hardwood without the price tag that comes with hardwood. Photo: Home Depot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. Since this is a man-made product, the planks are made to look like real wood, but in the manufacturing process, they repeat the patterns on several planks, so you will find identical looking planks in a case.

Pro’s:

  • A good quality laminate can look like hardwood without the cost of hardwood
  • More affordable than hardwood
  • Its easy to install therefore a handy person can install it themselves saving money on installation
  • Is guaranteed by the manufacture. Check with manufacture for terms of the guarantee
  • Scratch resistant
  • Great for high traffic areas
  • Great for basements, rentals, houses with pets
  • Suitable for mid-priced houses

Con’s

  • It’s a man-made product so approximately one out of five planks are identical to each other. Therefore, its important to mix up planks from various boxes to avoid having the SAME planks beside each other
  • Cannot be repaired if it chips
  • Does not have a lifetime warranty like hardwood but can have 10+ year warranty depending on the manufacture
  • Areas can become dented where heavy furniture is placed therefore need furniture pads under legs
  • Not suitable for higher end homes as its not considered luxurious by potential home buyers

 

Vinyl Plank Flooring

Laminate vs Vinyl Plank Flooring - Add Value to Your Home

Vinyl Plank Flooring is typically overlooked among home owners because people think of vinyl has a cheap ugly product that was first introduced in the 30’s.  But look again. Vinyl plank flooring has come along way over the years.  There are TWO new vinyl products, Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring, LVP, and Engineered Vinyl Plank Flooring, that is rivalling laminate flooring, its more cost effective than laminate, easy to install by a good DIYer, and looks like real hardwood in most cases!

Vinyl Plank Flooring is a flexible material made from a layer of PVC plastic over a layer of felt that feels a bit softer underfoot than rigid wood or tile. It’s  cushioned vinyl has a thin layer of foam as well, making it more comfortable to walk on. Thicker vinyl flooring can have a textured surface to make it look like wood or stone.

Luxury Plank Flooring (LPV) is becoming a popular choice among homeowners due to its closeness in appearance to wood, its moderate cost compared to the alternatives, and relative ease of installation of a DIY home owner.

Engineered Plank Flooring (EPV) is also becoming a popular choice among homeowners due to its wood like appearance, its moderate cost compared to the alternatives, relative ease of installation of a DIY home owner, and its waterproof.  YES waterproof.

Pro’s:

  • Good quality plank flooring looks like wood making it difficult to tell the difference
  • More affordable than hardwood & laminate
  • Its easy to install therefore a handy person can install it themselves saving money on installation
  • Can install over existing flooring if flooring is flat and even
  • Is guaranteed by the manufacture. Check with manufacture for terms of the guarantee
  • Scratch resistant
  • Great for high traffic areas
  • Great for starter homes, entry level townhouses, basements, rentals houses & houses with pets
  • Good quality engineered plank flooring is waterproof.  A cheap quality is water resistant

Con’s

  • It’s a man-made product so approximately one out of five planks are identical to each other. Therefore, its important to mix up planks from various boxes to avoid having the SAME planks beside each other
  • Cannot be repaired if it chips
  • Does not have a lifetime warranty  but can have 10+ year warranty depending on the manufacture
  • Dents easier than hardwood especially where heavy furniture is placed therefore need furniture pads under legs
  • Not a high end product therefor unsuitable for mid-priced & higher end homes
  • Difficult to remove, especially if adhesive is used during installation.
  • Not eco-friendly, difficult to recyle

What flooring is the best for your home?

The type and cost of flooring you choose needs to reflect the style of your home and your type of neighbourhood.  Check out your open houses in your neighborhood to 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 which of course added value to the home. Along with other renovations, when we sold the house, we received $100,000 OVER ASKING PRICE, and at that time, it was the highest price received in the neighborhood.

There are many types of hardwood and hardwood like 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 engineered hardwood or vinyl plank flooring in a designer home or highly sought after neighbourhood where house prices stand their ground.

So what did I advise my clients in scenario #1?

My clients were in a sought after neighborhood where prices where in the mid-range.  They wanted to go with laminate because it was a less expensive option than hardwood and what was what they could afford at the time.  However, when I told them that in their neighborhood, they would make more money when they sold their home in a couple of years with hardwood, and that most likely a new homeowner would just rip out the laminate that they had installed, they decided to go with hardwood but wait for a year until they could afford to install it. Great choice!  They installed their hardwood flooring a year later, and a couple of years later, they sold their home for top dollar!

Why would I recommend laminate in scenario #2?

The house flippers in house #2 left no expense in upgrading this older starter townhouse.  The complex was starting to turn around as investors bought up older townhouses, renovated them, and sold them for a profit.  The area, however, was typically a first-time buyer area and the prices were priced accordingly.  Along with the hardwood flooring, and other amazing renovations that the contractor put in, he had actually over renovated for the neighborhood and had priced the townhouse at $50,000 MORE than what typically renovated townhouses were commanding at that time. Unfortunately, even though the townhouse was stunning, it sat unsold for several months on the market. He eventually and gradually brought the house down to a more reasonable price until he sold it 4 months later.  Did he recoup his renovation dollars from the flip? Its hard to say, but his profit was significantly reduced.  Laminate or even luxury plank flooring would have worked just as well in this neighborhood!

Why did I cover up hardwood flooring in a cottage rental property with vinyl plank flooring?

Initially when I purchased the “fixer upper” beach houses, I painstakingly kept the original wide plank flooring to preserve the original look.  Because it was a rental cottage, and it received alot of wear and tear, the flooring needed to be painted every couple of years due to the paint pealing.  It was alot of upkeep and therefore, putting down vinyl flooring in a beach house where there is high traffic and lots of wet bathing suits ending up on the floor for hours, it seemed like the best low-maintenance option for its purpose.

As you can see, its not a one size fits all for your flooring options.  If you would like to hire me to help with flooring suggestions, please contact me!

 

Suggested Reads:

Are You Over Renovating for Your Neighborhood?

Are Parquet Floors in Style?

Treat Your House Like a Business When You’re Ready to Sell

 

debi-collinson-add-value-to-your-homeI’m Debi Collinson. Designer. Stager. Real Estate Investor. In 2006, at the request of a realtor, I staged my very first home. Staging houses was just starting to become popular. I watched every staging show on HGTV that I could find. I was very nervous staging my first house, but the sellers liked their newly redesigned home so much that they turned down an offer for full asking price. I went back to design school and have never looked back. Since 2006, I have been staging & designing spaces to make them look like they belong in a magazine page, and buying “fixer uppers” to fix up & either sell for a healthy profit or to rent them out. Sign up to receive my e-mails of how to make your home stunning and how to sell your house for top dollar!

 

 

Leave a Comment