hardwood vs laminate flooring

Hardwood vs. Laminate Flooring

Hardwood and laminate flooring are two popular options today.  They have many similarities and differences, though.  Both look like wood, and are very nice in homes.  However, they are made of different materials and they are installed very differently.  They also have very different costs.  A homeowner will want to look carefully at the differences in these flooring choices before making a final decision.

            First, hardwood and laminate flooring are made of very different materials.  Hardwood is made of solid wood boards, and can be made of many different kinds of wood.  It can be oak, maple, or more exotic woods, like rosewood.  Laminate flooring, on the other hand, while it looks very similar once installed, is not made of solid wood.  Instead, it is made of pressed sawdust and glue, which is then covered with a picture of wood grain.  Due to the differences in material, hardwood is stronger than laminate flooring, but it is more temperamental.  Hardwood can warp and can’t be laid in all locations, while laminate flooring will stay in place and can be laid anywhere (Prudehome).

            There is also a big difference in price.  Hardwood varies from $3.00 per square foot on up to $20.00 per square foot, depending on what type of wood it is.  It also must be installed by a professional, and installation can be quite expensive, too.  Laminate flooring can cost less than $1.00 per square foot, up to around $3.00 per square foot.  It can often be installed by a homeowner since no real specialized tools are required.  When adding up the cost of both the flooring itself and the installation, it is obvious that the hardwood will cost much more than the laminate flooring.  However, since the hardwood (being more solid) will last much longer (if well cared for), a homeowner may want to consider how long he intends for his floor to last (Prudehome).

            Finally, there is the ease of care.  Both types of flooring can wear out quickly and break or chip if they are not well cared for.  Both require specific maintenance.  Hardwood, for example, must never be cleaned with a wet mop, and must be waxed periodically.  Wet mops should be used with caution on laminate floors, or not used, as too much moisture may harm the floors, very similar to hardwood.  However, laminate floors don’t need to be waxed.  It is not good to have wood floors in very sunny areas, as the sun can affect the wood over time.  This is not true of laminate flooring.  Neither type of floor is easy to repair, should it become broken (Floor Facts).

            Hardwood and laminate floors each have their pluses and minuses.  Hardwood is much more expensive, temperamental, and difficult to install, but it also lasts longer and is sturdier.  Laminate floor is definitely cheaper and easier to install but may break and be difficult to repair.  Both types of floor require some specific care, however, such as not getting too wet.  Both are good flooring choices that will increase the value of the home they’re put in, and will look nice for quite awhile.

Bibliography

Prudehome, Bill.  “Hardwood Vs. Laminate Flooring – The Truth.”  Ezine Articles.  Accessed July 14, 2008.  Website: http://ezinearticles.com/?Hardwood-Versus-Laminate-Flooring—The-Truth&id=235121.

“Overview of Hardwood and Laminate Floors.”  Floor Facts.  Accessed July 14, 2008.  Website: http://www.floorfacts.com/compare/.

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