laminate vs Hardwood floor

Discussion in 'Flooring' started by zeke1983, Jul 10, 2009.

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  1. Jul 10, 2009 #1

    zeke1983

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    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.
     
  2. Jul 13, 2009 #2

    fastfloors

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    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
     
  3. Jul 15, 2009 #3

    DigitaLink

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    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.
     
  4. Sep 1, 2009 #4

    spec_j

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    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.
     
  5. Sep 2, 2009 #5

    kwmainer

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    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'.

    hum...

    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...
     
  6. Sep 2, 2009 #6

    kwmainer

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    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...
     
  7. Oct 18, 2009 #7

    jjm

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    Great idea!!
     
  8. Nov 5, 2009 #8

    Superpack

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    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,
     
  9. Nov 7, 2009 #9

    jacobvats

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    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.
     
  10. Dec 24, 2009 #10

    BobAristide

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    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! ). :)
     
  11. Dec 28, 2009 #11

    DUNBAR

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    Some applications call for laminate before wood. The office which I work out of, the floor is a laminate floor. I've worn the fake wood finish off completely where the chair constantly moves around. To repair, or cosmetically make this look better, I would consider peel and stick tiles in the area affected, knowing this will be a short term repair but look better till the wheels grind into the finish again.

    If this was a real wood floor, I would be thwarted with the damage and how much effort it would cost to replace those sections of boards, refinishing the entire floor, not a small area.

    Water does absorb into wood, especially on the sides of wood/slats.


    I live in an area that snow/rain is common, and the retention of this water would instantly destroy a good wood floor in a high traffic area.


    Nice wood floors have their place, but high traffic areas...preferably not.


    Northern Kentucky Plumbers
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
  12. Dec 28, 2009 #12

    granite-girl

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    I have laminate "wood" flooring & I don't think I'd do it again. We had a 50-60 yr old house with old VCT tiles on top of concrete. When my son started crawling we wanted new flooring, we couldn't afford much at the time & didn't want to rip up the tiles- afraid of asbestos... I think Menards was having a great sale on it also...
    Of course weeks after it was finished- partially finished- Our drain pipe fell off the drain in the kitchen for some reason & we didn't catch it in time. Now we have warped boards & huge cracks. Never have fixed it. It looks better than that old VCT tile, but if I ever build new- it's the real thing for me.
    By the way- it's not as easy to install as they say. My husband is no handy man at all, we couldn't do it. Had to hire some guy in to finish it for us. He told us he'd put down the quarter round after it was done. And then at the end he said that part wasn't his job & he wasn't going to do it. Now 5 years later- it's still not done. Who's responsibility is that ? He was a flooring installer- shouldn't they do that. I shouldn't have to hire a carpenter to come in & glue down "plastic" quarter round should I ? My husband's never got around to it. Wouldn't know how to cut a miter anyway....
     
  13. Jan 18, 2010 #13

    oldognewtrick

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    Granite Girl, I know it's to late now but, next time get a defined scope of work, in writing and don't pay till the terms are met. Saves a lot of "gray" areas.

    I think if you went to the hardware store, picked up a cheap miter box and saw you could finish that quarter round and show your husband that it can be done. We'll walk you through it if you do.
     
  14. Apr 8, 2010 #14

    4x4v8

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    I had laminate in a rental home. It was there before I bought it. Terrible mistake. I will never use laminate again. It have seen too many terrible installations (because home owners figure they can do it themselves), huge gaps, water damage and so on. Sure it is cheaper, but definitely not better.
     
  15. Apr 15, 2010 #15

    Grofica

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    I agree with most of the posters... i chose laminate it suited my needs.

    However i do know lots of people who have laminate flooring for a lot longer then 5 years... it depends on the quality... my mother in law has 10mm laminate, i opted for the 12mm laminate with a really good underlay.... my MIL floor is 7 years and going and still looks like brand new....

    Mine is still under construction ha ha ha ha ha ha
     
  16. Apr 25, 2010 #16

    SJNServices

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    I personally don't care for most of the laminate products. The "engineered hardwood" floors are much more realistic (particularly the distressed flooring), has a better feel underfoot since it's typically a glue-down instead of a floating floor. Engineered hardwood floors also hold up better to moisture or spills. A natural hardwood (not engineered) are great for doing patterns or designs in a hardwood floor as long as you always use a biscuit jointer so you have some kind of mechanical connection like a T&G and a full glue-down. That said, wood floors are my favorite. :2cents:
     
  17. Apr 25, 2010 #17

    Rustedbird

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    The one nice thing about laminate floors is that they are real easy to tear out. Yellow pine (Longleaf only) is really beautiful in the sunlight if finished clear. It's just too soft though, so I lean toward Red Oak me-self.
     
  18. May 6, 2010 #18

    AngieR

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    i lucked out about a month ago and found 1500 square feet of solid oak flooring on Craigslist that someone had removed from their home and was selling for $150.00! even the nails were removed because they were planning to reinstall it in their basement but changed their mind. i've had laminate installed in a basement bedroom, but wouldn't have it upstairs at all. i think as far as durability you can't beat hardwood. i'm looking at my reclaimed floor and once it's buffed stained and varnished it's going to look amazing, and the planks are 15 yrs. old. it's certainly worth the work we put into cleaning and stalling the wood ourselves.
     
  19. May 16, 2010 #19

    cal

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    It depends what characteristics you want in the floor. I tried Johnsonite flooring and had a bad expereince. Select carefully !
     
  20. Jun 27, 2010 #20

    woodflooringguy

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    Well, there's a lot of laminate options that actually are more durable than hardwood flooring and do better job repelling water. If you use a rubber walk pad for sound and water emission sealer any good laminate floor will outlast most traditional wood floors hands down.

    Water is usually the killer of both floors but most newer laminates on the market take advantage of sealing both sides of the floor keeping moisture out. Most manufacturers have been building up the aluminum oxide finish with a layer of microbial surface just like a countertop basically keeping everything that used to destroy laminate flooring off the surface.

    Anyway just my 2 cents but I've installed alot of wood floors and laminate floors and I tend not to get call backs on the laminate jobs I've done.
     

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