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Is hardwood floor or laminate floor better?


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March 01, 2016 7:18AM

Both floors have their advantages and disadvantages, it depends on the home. Hardwood has 2 main styles, solid or engineered wood. Solid wood floors are the most common and thought of as"traditional" wood flooring. These floors are nailed or stapled into place. The thickness is 3/4" and at times 3/8" giving you choice for a more attractive seam at doorways. These floors can only be installed on solid plywood or OSB. Also they are not able to be placed subgrade. Engineered wood floors are plywood with a thinner piece of solid wood affixed to the face. The surface wood will vary in thickness as will the exact height of the floor. Allowing you options to choose the most desirable. Engineered flooring can be glued, stapled, or floating (most floors have the ability to be installed 1 or 2 of these methods check before buying). If you are looking for an exotic species, they are often used as engineered to keep the cost down. Most can be installed subgrade. Wood in general is available in a wide varies of species including, oak, maple, cherry, pine, beech, walnut, and ash. Some species are much harder then others. This should be a big deciding factor. If damaged it can be sanded and repaired. The finishes tend to shine more then laminate because they are polyurethaned. They are moisture sensitive especially at doors and around toilets and sinks where there is repeated water exposure. Wood flooring prices start around $3 sq ft. Laminate floors are a thin particle board with a veneered picture of wood or tile. Installation is floating, so the boards are not affixed to the floor only to each other. Laminate can be installed subgrade. Laminates are very inexpensive starting at about $.75 a square foot. You can get the look of an expensive exotic wood without anything close to the price tag. If you do not like natural variations in wood, laminate is a good choice. The picture on the boards usually only repeats a few times. Giving a very uniform look to the flooring. Easily installed, only requiring a beginners knowledge of a saw to cut boards at walls. Laminate is more scratch resistant then wood, but unlike wood it cannot be easily repaired. You cannot sand them so your only other option is to pull up the board. Manufactures have instructions to do so, but it rarely looks natural after. Like wood, laminate is moisture sensitive and should not be used in areas exposed to a lot of water. Most laminate has a very matte finish. It cannot be shined because the surface is non porous and polythene and wax will not adhere. A few laminates today come with a shiny finish, but are not able to be "reshined" once that look has worn. If you are looking for a floor that is inexpensive or you don't plan to keep it much more then 10 years, laminate is a good choice. Wood though is a good choice if you are looking for the long term investment. If you like a high shine on your floor, wood is your best choice. Wood does cost more then laminate, but not always by a lot.