Hardwood Floor Installation & Refinishing

Hardwood vs. Laminate: Which Option is Best for Your Home?

Hardwood v/s Laminate Flooring - Big Bro Hardwood

Choosing your house floor can be as tricky as picking the perfect playlist for a road trip. Seriously, think about it! You need to think about a lot of things here: the budget, your lifestyle, and what you like to look at (simply the aesthetics).

So, which floor should you consider then???

There are two on the list of considerations:  hardwood and laminate flooring. Now, remember that classic tunes never get old in music, and you never get bored of listening to them. Likewise, hardwood flooring is timeless and durable. Laminate flooring, on the other hand, offers variety like a playlist with all kinds of songs – it’s practical and versatile.

But the real questions are: hardwood flooring or laminate flooring, which is better for you? Should you invest in the timeless beauty and lasting value of hardwood or settle for a laminate imitation? This blog will help you decide. We’ll look into what both types of flooring offer and help you choose the one that stands out for your needs. Let’s begin

Hardwood Floors (A Classic For A Reason!)

Hardwood floors are the OG of house floors! They’re made from solid planks of natural wood milled from different hardwood tree species like oak, maple, or walnut. These floors are tough as nails and give your space that cozy, classic vibe that everyone loves to have in their beloved home. They’re prized for their beauty, durability, and ability to uplift the value of your home.

Types

Hardwood floors come in different types. They each have special things about them. The most usual types are::

  • Solid Hardwood: Made from a single piece of wood, solid hardwood floors are thick and can be sanded and refinished multiple times, allowing for long-term durability.
  • Engineered Hardwood: Constructed from layers of wood veneer glued together, engineered hardwood is more dimensionally stable than solid hardwood, making it suitable for areas with fluctuating humidity levels.
  • Exotic Hardwood: Exotic hardwood species, such as Brazilian cherry or tigerwood, offer distinct grain patterns and colors, adding a touch of luxury and uniqueness to your space.

Installation Methods 

  • Nail Down: It’s the traditional hardwood flooring installation method in which hardwood planks are nailed or stapled to a plywood subfloor.
  • Glue Down: Hardwood planks are glued directly to the subfloor using adhesive, providing a strong and stable installation.
  • Floating: This method involves installing hardwood planks over an underlayment without any adhesive or nails. The planks are interlocked together, creating a floating floor that expands and contracts with changes in humidity.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is a type of floor covering made from synthetic materials that mimic the look of hardwood, tile, or stone. It typically consists of several layers fused together under high pressure to create a durable and attractive surface.

Types

There are different types of laminate flooring based on the installation method and the materials used. These include:

  • Glueless laminate: These planks or tiles have a locking mechanism that allows them to snap together without the need for adhesive.
  • Glued laminate: This type requires the use of adhesive to secure the planks or tiles to the subfloor.
  • Water-resistant laminate: Designed to withstand moisture, this type of laminate flooring is suitable for areas prone to spills or humidity, such as kitchens and bathrooms.

Installation Methods

  • Floating Installation: The most popular method for laminate flooring. Planks or tiles are laid over the underlayment, and there is no gluing or nailing to the subfloor. Click-and-lock or tongue-and-groove system for stability.
  • Glueless Click Lock Installation: A type of floating method where planks or tiles click together without glue. Installed over underlayment, they fit snugly for easy installation and a seamless look.
  • Pre-Glued Installation: Quick and easy method with adhesive already applied to edges. Activated by moisture during installation, planks or tiles are simply fitted together and pressed firmly for a secure bond. Saves time compared to traditional methods.

 

But Here’s the Catch:  Weighing Hardwood vs. Laminate

When comparing hardwood and laminate flooring, the debate often centers around their respective strengths and weaknesses. Here’s how it goes when comparing them side by side:

  1. Firstly, Lifestyle Factors

In this debate, lifestyle factors are key to consider. While hardwood floors may not be the most practical choice for households with high foot traffic, particularly those with pets or children prone to scratching the surface, they do offer timeless elegance and a sense of warmth that can’t be replicated.

Despite their susceptibility to scratches, hardwood floors can be refinished multiple times, allowing them to regain their original beauty. So, if you’re willing to put in a little extra care, hardwood floors can still be a fantastic option for adding a touch of sophistication to your home.

On the other hand, laminate flooring is more resistant to water, which makes it great for places like kitchens and bathrooms where there’s often moisture. Plus, it can handle spills and accidents better than hardwood. So, if you’re worried about scratches and spills, laminate might be the way to go.

  1. Maintenance 

Maintenance needs also differ between the two options. Hardwood floors need regular cleaning routines to maintain their beauty, but they offer the advantage of being refinished when needed, prolonging their lifespan, and retaining their aesthetic appeal. 

Laminate flooring demands less maintenance overall but lacks the ability to be refinished, meaning it may need replacement sooner, thereby compromising long-term value.

  1. Long Term Value

Speaking of value, hardwood floors undoubtedly offer superior long-term value compared to laminate. While the initial cost of hardwood flooring may be higher, its durability, timeless appeal, and potential for refinishing make it a worthwhile investment in the long run.

In contrast, laminate flooring may require eventual replacement due to wear and tear, resulting in additional expenses over time.

  1. Potential Concerns 

One significant concern with laminate flooring is its vulnerability to moisture exposure. While laminate is water-resistant to a certain extent, prolonged exposure to moisture can cause swelling and damage to the planks, leading to the need for replacement. This is where hardwood floors shine, as they are naturally resistant to moisture and can withstand environmental changes with proper care.

  1. Comfort Underfoot

Hardwood floors offer unmatched comfort underfoot compared to laminate. Walking barefoot on hardwood floors provides a sense of warmth and coziness, making your home feel inviting and snug. Additionally, hardwood floors absorb sound, reducing noise concerns and creating a more peaceful environment compared to laminate.

  1. Options to Choose From

The variety and customization options available with hardwood floors far exceed those of laminate. From rich, dark woods to light and airy shades, hardwood offers a plethora of choices to suit every taste and style preference. Different finishes and textures add personality and depth to hardwood floors, enhancing the overall aesthetic of your home in a way that laminate cannot replicate.

  1. Beyond the Initial Cost

If you ask, ‘Is laminate cheaper than hardwood’? Then it’s a yes. But here’s the twist: While laminate flooring may be more budget-friendly initially, it’s essential to consider the long-term value of your investment. Hardwood flooring, despite its higher upfront cost, offers superior durability and longevity.

With proper care, hardwood floors can last for decades, adding value to your home and potentially saving you money on replacements in the long run. Therefore, while laminate flooring may seem like the more affordable option at first glance, hardwood flooring proves to be the more cost-effective choice over time.

The Final Choice? 

It’s all about your priorities. Ultimately, the decision between hardwood and laminate flooring comes down to what matters most to you. 

If you’re after timeless appeal and durability, hardwood is the way forward. It’s an investment that adds value to your home and can be refinished if scratched. However, if budget and practicality are top priorities, laminate is a solid choice.

In the end, it’s all about what fits your lifestyle and budget. Both options have their pros and cons, so choose the one that works best for you and your home.

We Can Help Upgrade Your Home!

At Big Bro Hardwood, we’re all about providing top-quality hardwood floors and services that go above and beyond. If you’ve chosen to upgrade your floors with hardwood, count on us for unmatched quality and support at every stage.

Get in touch now to book a consultation and see the difference hardwood floors can bring to your home!