Many people ask us to compare Wood vs Laminate flooring. What are the differences and benefits of laminate, hardwood, or vinyl flooring. What areas of your home, climate, or style works best with each? Well, we’re here to help eliminate the confusion!
In the wood vs laminate flooring race, laminate pulls ahead in many areas. The main benefits of laminate over other types of home flooring, and the reason it is so popular, is affordability, ease of installation and low maintenance. Laminate is less expensive because it’s largely synthetic flooring that’s easily mass produced using low cost materials. It’s easy to install because most laminate uses click and lock assembly which means no nails or glue and you can float it over most existing sub floors. And finally it’s easy to clean and care for because of the thick and clear wear layer that covers the surface of the flooring.
Can you lay laminate all through your home? Well, laminate is a great mid-priced flooring option but there are times when a more expensive hardwood floor or a cheaper vinyl floor could be a better match for your home. Wood vs laminate flooring can be summed up pretty simply in two words… price and style! We think laminate floors look great, there are some exceptional products available, but laminate just doesn’t look the same as solid or engineered hardwood. It’s a fact. In a dining room or master bedroom where style is your main concern you might want to consider spending a little more on a quality hardwood floor. Laminate wood flooring is perfect in a functional setting where practicality is your priority. In a child’s playroom, in the family den or parts of the house where you have dogs running around laminate flooring just makes sense.
It’s attractive, quickly cleaned and hard wearing too. in these situations solid wood flooring seems rather impractical and expensive. Also remember that solid hardwood can stain and can be vulnerable to strong sunlight. If stains and extreme weather conditions are a part of your day to day life then laminate flooring is the smart choice. When it comes to the pros and cons of laminate flooring there are plenty of reasons to choose laminate over hardwood, but its fair to say they are of a practical rather than aesthetic nature. Laminate flooring does a great job of imitating more expensive surfaces like wood, tile and stone and it also has a good long life span, so why would you ever consider vinyl flooring over laminate? For starters, laminate does not mix well with water. They contain a core layer of dense fiberboard and despite the plastic top wear layer and further protective melamine resin layer, laminate flooring will react to standing water and strong humidity in the same way as wood flooring.
So, laminate in the kitchen is okay as long as you keep spills to a minimum and clean up immediately, but you should think twice about laminate in a laundry room, basement or bathroom that regularly experiences standing water. In these instances vinyl flooring would be a much smarter choice.
Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)
Invented in the 1930’s, vinyl flooring first made an impact on the architectural world in the years following World War Two. By the 1950’s it was a major competitor against other resilient options, and had all but usurped linoleum’s position as a low cost water resistant flooring option.
The colors and pattern options that are available with vinyl flooring are nearly endless. Solid and composite vinyl can be combined to create a number of unique, random patterns. Printed vinyl is even more versatile, allowing you to recreate the look of natural stone, hardwood, or any other material you can think of.
You can even mix and match material facades to make it look like you’ve combined different elements in your floor. Vinyl flooring is relatively easy to care for. You have to make sure that grit and dirt are kept swept free to maintain the surface of the floor. Then you can use a damp mop and an approved vinyl floor cleaner to remove stains.
A well installed vinyl floor is almost impervious to water penetration, making this the perfect material for use in a bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, or other high moisture space in the home. Vinyl does not get cold in the winter, and is generally soft beneath your feet. Some vinyl sheets and tiles have a padded layer that can make walking on these floors even more pleasurable. At the low range vinyl can cost as little as fifty cents per square foot. However higher end premium vinyl materials can cost as much as ten dollars a square foot.
The difference in price is determined by the quality of the tile, and the design options found in the surface. Vinyl is generally considered to be a highly durable material that, if properly installed and maintained, can last upwards of ten to twenty years. However the quality of the material that you purchase, and the way it was manufactured, will determine how well your floor lasts over time. Vinyl tiles and vinyl plank flooring is relatively easy to install. However you have to ensure that you have a completely dry, level subfloor to work with. It is possible to do this project yourself, but you may want to have a professional prepare the subfloor for you. While vinyl flooring is low maintenance and highly durable, there are also a number of drawbacks that are associated with this material. Of these, its ecological impact on the personal and world environment may be some of the most disconcerting.
There are many advantages of real or engineered hardwood. Hardwood flooring gives a rich look to your home interior. While it is slightly more expensive than laminate or vinyl, it actually improves over a period of time due to aging. Hardwood flooring is known to last for a lifetime and has a very long shelf life. Given their organic origin and non-electromagnetic nature, they tend to attract less dust. Hence they do not attract allergens, or molds that cause allergies which tend to travel with dust. It is recommended to use by doctors all over the world.
They are extremely hard and are less prone to damage by objects as well. It is seen as a warm addition to your decor and is also comfortable for small babies to play on, as well as practical for pet owners. Hair and dust are easily removed from the surface. While their are many benefits, there are also some disadvantages. The hardwood floors require regular polishing every 3-4 years to maintain its finish especially if it is high traffic area. The cost of polishing, l abor, and polyurethane coating are an extra expense to think about. They also require regular maintenance to prevent termite attack if your house is located in an area which is prone to termites.
Hardwood flooring will be damaged in the event of any water seepage so having them in a basement with occasional water leaks, or a laundry or bathroom, might not be the best idea. You can regularly mop with a wet cloth, but make sure that there is no dripping water. One other set back is that it is much more susceptible to scratching from heavy traffic, high heels or pet nails. As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to every type of flooring, but choosing the right one for your home and budget is the most important thing, and hopefully this article makes that a little bit easier.