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zeke1983 07-09-2009 08:15 PM

laminate vs Hardwood floor
Many people have asked me if laminate flooring is better than a traditional hardwood floor. My answer to that is an emphatic no. A hardwood floor is a much better option. It might be more expensive, but it is authentic. Laminate is essentially an imitation. Although if its done right it can look okay.

fastfloors 07-13-2009 08:17 AM

i tend to agree, but these days many people are on a much tighter budget, so they are looking to save money and cut costs wherever they can. I can see why that would make a lot of people lean towards laminate as an option over hardwood

DigitaLink 07-15-2009 02:07 PM

I think it depends. In a mobile home, laminate can look great, real hardwood would look kinda silly. In a fresh built modern home, a quality laminate can do wonders for a space, even if real hardwood would look great too. In an older home, real hardwood adds that 'authentic' feel that laminate would not.

There is no one 'true' answer to this one. I'd say it really depends on the home you want to put it in.

For me, I think laminates are great. Especially as carpet gets viewed more and more as a health/allergy issue than it used to, vinyl can look tacky in a lot of rooms, and hardwood isn't always realistic price-wise.

spec_j 09-01-2009 12:35 AM

I think its personal preference and how deep your pockets are. Personally I wouldnt mind either. If i couldnt afford the hardwood and those were the choices well, i would have to go with the one i could afford. I have seen some laminate floors in new homes when i was looking for a house that looked pretty darn good.

kwmainer 09-02-2009 03:33 PM

Hardwood is a plus, pros and cons from life
Well....I'm no expert. But I've lived with both laminate and hardwood. Plus, I've lived in areas with lots of sand, dirt, dogs/cats, hard use....

From that perspective... my vote is for good (not pine) hardwood floors IF your particular circumstance, sub floor and climate allow for it.

In my opinion, hardwood has the following major advantages...

Point #1: Lasts Well, Handles Normal Wear - I have learned that laminate does not last. It shows wear very easily. Scratches and wear from sand being tracked into houses will be hard on any floor, but with laminate, there's nothing under the initial finish. HW is more forgiving and tougher. Because it's a solid surface material, any scratches are easily handled.

Point #2: Damages Are Fixable - I don't know if all laminate floors are similar in composition, but I've seen burn marks from carelessly dropped cigarettes on Pergo at a friends house. They cannot be sanded out. I've also seen a lady friend attempt to clean her laminate floor using regular floor cleaners (ditzy girl) and she ruined her laminate, took the shine off, some of color, buckled it, etc. In contrast, I put a 3/4" wide and 1/2" deep ding on my oak hardwood (dropped a smithing hammer on it) and all I had to do was steam treat that spot a bit, hand sand around it and re-Polyurathane it. I can still see a slight dimple, but it's barely noticable. Can't fix that with a laminate.

Point #3: Re-finishable - In contrast to laminates, real hardwood floors have depth. If you have a problem, it can be sanded out and refinished in that spot. If you've had it for 50 years and not taken care of it- you can have the whole thing sanded down and refinished.

Point #4: Comfortable - you can tell the difference in simply walking on a true hardwood floor or a laminate. The feel is different. True wood floors over your substrate actually have a bit more give as you walk on them, more sound absorbtion, spring - ask any ballet dancer why they only practice on true wood... Laminates, are a thin material over the substrate. And if that underflooring is concrete or some other hard surface, you'll get more tired and your feet will feel fatigued from just standing on a laminate floor over long periods.

Point #5: Bare Feet in Winter! - Laminate feels colder... hardwood feels warmer on cold winter days. lol

Point #6: Laminate will buckle and be destroyed with water damage. Hardwood will swell, but in most cases of spot damage, can be sanded down, filled, and sealed. The laminate you've got to replace. Of course, if you've got a flood... nothing is safe.

Point #7: Easier To Patch - We had to have small areas of hardwood replaced in our house - so the contractor ripped out the few boards and replaced them with new oak ones. Everything was stained and sealed.... can't tell the difference. I'm not sure you can do that with laminate. Laminate actually fades over time, and so even if you kept a few pieces... after you cut out the damage and replaced it, it might not match.

Point #8: More Surface Interest - Hardwood is literal boards abutted to each other. There is some amount of surface variance - which makes for better traction over all. On laminates, it's all smooth on the board piece. If you like to run and slide like Tom Cruise - then laminate is great. If you're concerned about keeping on your feet - then hardwood has slightly better traction, without being 'rough'.


One note: There is a difference between engineered hardwood floors and 'real' all wood, hardwood floors. In certain climates or laid over certain sub floors, it may be better to use an engineered hardwood floor instead. There are different grades. Not all the advantages I've mentioned about hardwood floors apply to engineered hardwood. But, I'm not an expert on it. I've never lived with engineered hardwood floors, although I'm considering putting one in over some damaged terazzo. In that application and in my particular setting, a true hardwood floor is not recommended. Best to check it out. Read the literature carefully, and assume nothing...

kwmainer 09-02-2009 03:39 PM

Cost of a Real Wood Floor
also... for those lovers of real wood flooring...

There are quite a few places that sell overstock, or canceled job orders of wood flooring. If you've got small rooms, you might could pick up an odd job lot at a major discount. If you're a bit creative, you can even do a hardwood floor with different colors - like putting a dark stained mahogany edge around a center of natural oak. Or some sort of inlay... Thereby covering a larger area, creating interest, and making it look like a super custom job. Just get two job lots...

jjm 10-17-2009 05:15 PM

Great idea!!

Superpack 11-05-2009 01:33 AM

laminate vs Hardwood floor
I see so many horrible laminate install works. I hate the layout that has more than one picture of a board on a piece of laminate. The sound of walking on a hardwood floor compared to laminate just doesn’t compare. So to sum it up laminate is a 5 year product (even with teh warrenty) Harwood is good for many years longer and you can refinish it when it starts getting excessive wear.

Best Regards,

jacobvats 11-07-2009 02:49 AM

Laminate floors are extremely durable but do have their limitations. Even though they are very tolerant of scratching they can still be damaged given the right conditions. Examples include dropping large irregular objects, unprotected chair legs, and dragging furniture across the floor. These floor types are also stain resistant and do not fade or change color as hardwood floors do.

BobAristide 12-24-2009 08:20 AM

Some people can't tell the difference between the two. In that case why spend the money for hardwood? Others can't stand the look of the laminate type and can pick it from a mile away. It depends on the person, the reason for replacing flooring ( fix it and sell or your own home ) and budget. The darker colors usually are better to hide the difference. I personally moved in a house where I found the laminate one in two rooms. EVERY time I walk on it I head the hallow sound of my step and think ( friggin fake floor! ). :)

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