Is Laminate Flooring WorthCompared to traditional hardwood, laminate offers a number of benefits. Coming in without the hassle or cost of traditional hardwood, laminate offers homeowners the look and feel of its more expensive counterpart. To boot, laminate isn’t nearly as high-maintenance.
That said, does laminate stack up against hardwood where it counts the most?
Contrary to what you might expect, laminate flooring can actually be even more durable than solid hardwood.
The biggest problem traditional hardwood has is its lack of resilience. In places with high humidity or cities with intense winters, hardwood tends to buckle under the pressure of environmental extremes. Humidity wreaks havoc on the planks themselves, making installation and maintenance tricky.
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When laying the wood down, you’ll need a professional to tell you exactly how far apart each plank must be. In addition, the sub-floor beneath the wood must be completely clear of debris and entirely dry.
Laminate is not only easier to install, it also resists humidity and temperature change. It’s resistance to scratches also makes it ideal for high-traffic areas of your home.
Also, something you can get away with for laminate but not hardwood is cleaning it with a wet mob. That facility makes maintenance a breeze.
Manufacturers are so confident in the material’s durability that most will even offer 10-year warranties as part of the basic package.
● Cost and Installation
Hardwood floors are among the more expensive options, making laminate a budget-friendly alternative.
Prices for laminate flooring range anywhere from $1.50 to $3.00 per sq. ft., though you can just as easily find even cheaper rates from the wholesaler. Laminate flooring can also be placed on top of any surface, giving retailers the flexibility they need to sell even glue-free, tongue-and-groove system installations – perfect for DIYers.
Hardwood, on the other hand, requires the royal treatment. Perfect sub-flooring that must always be either plywood or regular wood and a completely smooth and clear surface. Laminate not only doesn’t need these things, but it’s also incredibly easy to replace, especially if there’s no glue or nails involved.
● Look and Feel
This is the only category where laminate doesn’t quite measure up to hard wood.
This is mostly because people can always tell the difference between real hard wood and laminate. One of the biggest giveaways is the noise laminate makes when you walk across it. Compared to hardwood, laminate does not do a good job of absorbing sound.
This can also be a problem when trying to sell your home. While most buyers prefer wood to carpet, laminate flooring can still be costly to replace with true hardwood – especially if the base isn’t right for it. The flip side to this is that carpet can easily be replaced by laminate, and it will drive up the value of your home for relatively little investment.
One final drawback is that the look of the flooring is set in stone by its manufacturer. The choice is limited because you’re unable to adjust color or shine. Hardwood floors, especially solid hardwood, can be sanded and re-stained.