So, you hate carpet. And you don’t want to put down tile in your new Santa Clarita home. You think it’s too cold. Understandable. So that leaves you considering wood and laminate. But don’t like the look of laminate and you don’t like the price of wood. How are you going to choose?
What you have to do is pit the two against each other in a gladiator-style duel to the death in your mind. Do the benefits of wood beat out the benefits of laminate? Do the cons of laminate weigh less on your mind than the cons of hardwood? Once you’re able to answer
a question like those two, you’ll know what’s best for you. But first, you’ll need those pros and cons.
Let’s start with wood. What are the pros? Firstly, putting down a wood floor in your home immediately increases its resale value, sometimes by a large amount. This usually becomes a fairly important point for folks who plan on moving neighborhoods down the line. Wood absolutely dwarfs laminate in terms of adding value to your home.
Outside of the long-term financial benefits a wood floor provides over laminate, there are a few minor benefits that fall into the pro category. Wood acts as an insulator, meaning it keeps your home warmer when it’s cold and cooler when it’s hot. Laminate doesn’t function in this way whatsoever. Wood also enjoys an aesthetic advantage for many folks. While in our opinion, laminate flooring has come a VERY long way in terms of recreating an authentic, real wood look; obviously real wood is always going to look good. Installation wise, wood is more versatile. It can be nailed down, glued down, or floated.
So, now, what are the cons of putting down a wood floor in your house when compared to laminate? For starters, wood is wood. It’s a tree that you’re walking around on. You know how there’s always that tree at the park that a young couple dug their initials into? Your dog is doing that to your floor whenever he walks around on it. Except Fido doesn’t know his initials and he doesn’t even know he’s doing it. Wood is not durable. You can consult the Janka Scale to determine a species of wood that will be harder, but it will still scratch. And wood is ESPECIALLY prone to water damage. Flooding or bad spills that are left to soak into the floor can create long lasting problems like warping and mold. Maintenance on wood is a hassle, no getting around it.
Wood can also run your price tag up a bit on whatever project you had planned. It’s just the way it is. Buying a wood floor means you’re paying the guy who chopped the tree down, the guys who loaded it up into the trucks, the guys who turned it from a tree into a pretty floor, and then the truckers again when they bring it to the home base. Then you pay us for selling it to you! Like I said earlier, wood is a long-term financial investment. In the short term, a very nice wood floor can lighten your wallet considerably.
So you maybe don’t want to spend the money on wood. Maybe you own a rental or something. Or maybe you have 4 untrained Saint Bernards that have free reign of the house. What are the pros of laminate floors?
At this point, everyone knows laminate is going to generally cost much less than a wood floor. There are some high-end laminate floors that actually cost more than the low-end wood, but by and large, laminate floors are MUCH easier to budget.
There’s more than just price. Laminate is basically more durable than wood. It’s far from scratch proof or waterproof, but it will hold up better than most wood in both regards. Plus, when wood undergoes water damage, it can cause several other lasting and more problematic effects. Laminate’s water damage is mostly cosmetic. Laminate will not warp when damaged by water. Instead, it will bubble up like a bad car tint job. It’s ugly, but it won’t cause any other problems.
The pros of laminate are obvious and they are mighty ones. But what about the cons?
Laminate makes a hollow, echo-like sound when stepped on. This is especially true for the thinner, less expensive, lower quality products. In my experience, this drives certain people insane. If you have high ceilings or nothing that can absorb sound in your room, and you put laminate in there it’s going to sound like you’re walking around a castle. Laminate is a loud floor. And if you want to negate this attribute, you will need to spring for a thicker more expensive product or you’ll need to buy a more expensive underlayment designed to muffle sound.
Repair work on laminate floors can be a pain. If there ever is the need for a plank or two to come up, many times you’ll have to work your way from the wall to the area that needs to be repaired. It’s not like wood in the regard that you can just float it. Laminate needs to be attached to its underlayment. So if there is a bubbled-up spot you’d like to replace, you’ll probably need to get someone to come in and do it.
There you go! A semi-comprehensive look at the wood vs. laminate debate you’re having. To make it simple, remember; wood raises the value of your home and it looks gorgeous, but it can be a total pain to maintain and it can be very expensive. Laminate, on the other hand, is cheap, quick, and you can usually tell it was those first two things if you don’t go out of your way to make it nice. And remember to do your research! Both products can look BEAUTIFUL in any home as long as it’s done right and you choose the right floor. Trust your self and your sense of style. Good luck.