Hardwood or Laminate? Which floor is right for you?

Posted by Kris Hodgson on Nov 22, 2013

Making a decision on new flooring for your home can be a tad overwhelming if you’re not sure what your options are. After all, this is a decision that you are going to be living with for years to come! While decorating choices and design styles can be wildly subjective based on your individual tastes, it never hurts to do a bit of homework beforehand so that you can have an inkling on which direction you’re heading before visiting our showroom. When choosing between laminate flooring and hardwood flooring there are a variety of factors to consider, so let’s dive right in. Don’t be scared though! Our experienced associates will be with you every step of the way while you plan your new surroundings.

The Basics…

Laminate is a multi-layer synthetic flooring product fused together with a lamination process. Laminate flooring simulates wood (or sometimes stone) with a photographic applique layer under a clear protective layer. The inner core layer is usually composed of melamine resin and fiber board materials. Engineered hardwood is made of a thin layer of the hard wood glued or laminated onto a surface - like plywood - in order to form a plank. Solid Hardwood planks are produced from single pieces of wood. So what does that all really mean? Well basically, with Engineered or Solid hardwood you are getting the strength and appearance of the ACTUAL wood. Each board is as unique as a snowflake. With Laminate, you’re getting an imitation of hardwood, and if you look closely, you can see that the wood pattern will actually repeat itself approximately every 12th to 15th board.

Pros and Cons...

What you lose in uniqueness, you more than gain in other areas however. Laminate flooring tends to be more budget friendly and easier to install than genuine hardwood floors. Laminate is also great for high traffic areas, as it is less likely to scratch and fade than hardwood. Families with active lifestyles, pets or children may prefer the cosmetic durability of laminate flooring. The flipside to that however, is that hardwood floors can be refinished once they start to fade. A high quality hardwood floor can literally last you a lifetime. Once laminate flooring begins to fade, your only real option is to replace the floor completely. Individual boards may be swapped out, but this can cause damage to the surrounding boards, make it a necessity to change themn, While maintenance and care for a laminate floor is a snap, genuine hardwood floors require you to closely monitor the humidity in your home, as the wood floors will expand and contract which can cause unsightly gapping between boards if you are not careful. When ordering laminate or hardwood flooring, it is always a good idea to order an extra carton or two, just to make sure you have boards when possible replacements might be needed.

So Which Floor is Right for You…

There’s no arguing that a new laminate floor is a beautiful sight to behold. It’s highly durable while still being simple to clean and maintain, and with new advances in design technology, can be VERY difficult to distinguish from actual hardwood flooring. If, however, you have the time to really care for your floor, hardwood is still my top choice. A beautifully installed hardwood floor really is a work of art, with no two floors being exactly the same. The actual wood grain provides a warmth and sense of texture that cannot really be replicated with laminate flooring. In the end, no matter which type of flooring you choose for your home, you will still have a big decision on your hands. Curtis Carpets has literally HUNDREDS of different styles and colors, both laminate and hardwood, for you to choose from. And that can be the toughest decision of all.☺ 

- Kris Hodgson
  Curtis Carpets