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Flooring Showdown: Laminate vs Hardwood

Throughout the years, there has been a steady increase in flooring options available to builders and homeowners alike. Choosing a floor that fits your needs includes a number of attractive choices such as wood, tile, marble, stone, and more. In the wood flooring arena, two options stand out: traditional hardwood and the more popular than ever laminate flooring.


Tradition and Innovation

Hardwood flooring is the traditional choice for residences and commercial buildings because of its solid reputation as a reliable flooring material. Laminate flooring, on the other hand, is a more recent development. It has been used in Europe for many years, which is where it originated, and is continually gaining popularity in North America. Many say that laminate flooring is a worthy substitute for hardwood flooring.

Core Differences

Being similar in appearance, hardwood flooring and laminate flooring are often compared to each other. Although they both offer advantages to the homeowner and can be very similar in appearance, they are very different surfaces. Traditional hardwood flooring offers a solid natural surface, whereas laminate is a replica, manufactured from paper, fiberboard, and innovative print technology.

Wood Grain Patterns and Colors

Hardwood flooring has naturally beautiful and distinct grain patterns and rich color ranges that set the standard for laminate flooring, which also exhibits beautiful and distinct grain patterns found in wood. But laminate flooring is a photograph of wood that is laminated onto a base.


Cost Comparisons

Cost-wise, it is no surprise that hardwood is generally more expensive than laminate flooring. Laminate delivers on look, while being made up of less expensive materials. Hardwood is often the flooring of choice in more affluent settings and where additional structural strength is important. Laminate flooring adds no such strength.

Care & Maintenance Differences for Hardwood and Laminate Flooring

Laminate floors are easier to maintain compared to traditional wood floors. Another advantage of laminate flooring is that it can be installed on pretty much any flat, dry, and clean surface. However, unlike hardwood, laminate flooring is difficult to repair if it becomes damaged, and refinishing is not an option.

(2) Comments

  1. BuildDirect Product Expert Team

    Hi Mary,

    Thank you for your inquiry! I would suggest going with either a harder species of hardwood like hickory or cumaru, strand woven bamboo or a luxury vinyl plank. All these options are very durable and will be more scratch resistant. The luxury vinyl plank may be your best option because it is also water resistant which means it is the easiest to clean. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  2. I have a dog and am looking for flooring that will not scratch. I have some Hardwood in the entrance way to my home and it is scratched due to the dog, so I need something durable enough that will not scratch due to the dog. Please help me with suggestions.

    Thank you very much.

    Best Regards,
    Mary Dilutis

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