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Home Improvement - Laminate Vs Hardwood Flooring

Oct 11, 2007
There's no doubt about it: hardwood floors are elegant and beautiful. But, they aren't always the best choice for a busy household. First, hardwood can be very expensive, depending on the plank size and grain chosen. They also aren't always as durable as the newer laminate options now available. With today's high-quality laminate flooring rivaling many traditional hardwoods in many homes; it is becoming more and more difficult for some homeowners to decide which to choose when instilling new flooring.

Both have their good points, and bad, according to the experts at Bruce Flooring. Here are some of the pros and cons of each:

Hardwood:
While hardwood remains the most popular options for higher-end homes due to its appearance and reputation, it does have a few drawbacks for some homeowners, especially those with pets and small children. While hardwood improves with age, is long lasting, and increases a home's value more than laminate flooring, it does often scratch in high traffic areas and from pet nails, offers limited options in below grade stock and is not recommended for bathrooms and other high-humidity areas such as basements. It is also hard to transition from hardwood to other flooring materials such as tile and carpet. The good news about hardwood is that it looks better with age; can be recoated fairly easily when worn (no need to replace it), and is easy to care for and maintain.

Laminate Flooring:
In comparison, laminate flooring is a much less expensive alternative than hardwood, provides an extremely realistic look of wood, tile or stone; is very durable and quite easy to install - even for a beginner. It also provides an easy transition from other flooring materials, is child and pet friendly, made of recycled materials for a more earth-friendly flooring options and lasts for 15-30 years.

The downside to laminate flooring is its inability to be recoated or refinished when it finally begins to show wear and tear and an inability to replace just one or two boards as is the case with hardwood, which can be sanded and stained to match older pieces. It also adds less value to your home than traditional hardwood and can often make a hollow sound when walked on if not installed properly.

Whether you are looming for the grandeur of traditional hardwood flooring, or the durability of today's less expensive laminate flooring options, the fact remains that today's homeowner has more choices in flooring options than ever before. Which you choose really depends on your style; lifestyle and budget more than the quality or availability of products.
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