Wooden Flooring: Hardwood or laminate?

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The light, warmth and natural appearance that wooden floors offer make them both beautiful and timeless which is why they are such a popular feature in homes today. Whether it’s an older, more traditional property or a modern, newer build, buyers and homeowners alike are keen to furnish their homes in this beautiful, flexible style. There are plenty of designs, types and qualities of both laminate and hardwood out there, so how do you choose? When you are deciding whether to go for laminate or hardwood for your wooden floors, remember to take into account appearance, durability and price; considering the long term and short term benefits of each.

Appearance

Hardwood flooring has a beautiful appearance which can be customised through the colour, design and finish of the wood, with colours varying from whites, oranges, reds and every shade of brown imaginable. The wood’s natural colouring can then be even further enhanced by the stains used to finish them which are available in an even greater range of colours. The design of the floorboards can depend on the species of wood; whether the boards be entirely free of knots and swirls or covered with contrasting bands of colour. Hardwood flooring is not only valued for it’s appearance but also the way it feels underfoot as it is softer and warmer than other options. It’s also a good sound-deadener, muffling footsteps and echoes.

Laminate flooring is available in almost any look, colour and design that hardwood flooring is, without the need for a finishing stain – although it doesn’t generally look as rich and artistic. Without the natural knots and bands of hardwood, laminate patterns will repeat as they are essentially a picture and can sometimes therefore appear less authentic. Laminate flooring is much softer and warmer than other options such as tile, marble or stone, although it can sometimes magnify and echo sounds. However, choosing a good quality underlay could help with this.

Price

Flooring can be expensive, and this is where laminate and hardwood really differ. Hardwood flooring is made from harvested trees and, depending on how exotic the species, can be expensive to buy. The cost of the wood itself, its cutting and planing, sanding, finishing and shipping have to be taken into account before the installation cost itself. However, whilst the immediate cost is higher than that of laminate, it can really improve the resale value of your house.

Laminate flooring, on the other hand, is made from composite wood pressed together at high temperatures and then covered with an image of hardwood. It doesn’t need sanding or staining and is considerably cheaper to install than hardwood. However, whilst laminate is a relatively inexpensive solution and may look beautiful, it will not add any real value to your home.

Durability

Flooring, particularly in high-traffic areas of your home, can experience a lot of wear and tear. The durability of your wood flooring will help with the maintenance of these areas and keep it looking great for years to come.

Since laminate is made from pressed wood it is very durable, easy to clean and resists scratches, moisture and wear and tear better than hardwood. However, should it become damaged, laminate flooring does not repair easily. Whilst it is more resistant to scratches and dents, when it does suffer damage the laminate picture becomes torn and can reveal the fibre board beneath it – this kind of damage is really noticeable and unfortunately there is little hope of fixing it.

Hardwood is more susceptible to scratching and can become damaged from excessive moisture – it will show wear and tear in more trafficked areas. However, it is easy enough to sand out any scratches and imperfections and refinish it with a stain or an oil, which means it will last for years and years into your home’s future as well as really looking the part.

 

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