The biggest difference between laminate flooring and hardwood is probably the price. Laminate flooring can save you about 20-25% when compared to real hardwood floors; however hardwood floors may increase the resale value of your home and be better for you in the long run if you don't plan on living there long-term.
Another important difference to note is the longevity of your flooring. Laminate flooring can stand the test of time much better than hardwood, which can be subject to sun and water damage as well as wear-and-tear caused by traffic. Some people consider this fact of hardwood floors appealing, as "weathering" can give a floor (and in turn, a room) more "character". However, laminate flooring can withstand the heavy traffic of a modern family home without as much weathering or damage a whole lot better.
The cost of maintenance and upkeep of your floor is also something to consider when you are choosing between genuine wood or laminate flooring. Hardwood floors can require a lot of time, money and effort to keep in top condition, and you can expect to re-sand and refinish real hardwood floors periodically. With laminate flooring, on the other hand, your floor will need much less maintenance and remain gorgeous for a fairly long time with minimal upkeep.
Laminate flooring is created by bonding many layers of various fibres together, treated in several ways to protect your floor against weathering and wear. Your floor can keep the same colour for years, unaffected by sunlight and moisture. This makes it easy to replace a single damaged tile and maintain the uniform colour and pattern of your floor. With hardwood however, replacing a single plank after years of wear can be impossible without contrast to the surrounding boards. If one area becomes stained or damaged, it's often necessary to replace the flooring of the entire room.
Installation is also a topic to discuss before you decide whether to buy real hardwood or laminate. If you choose hardwood, you can expect to pay experienced professionals to complete the installation perfectly. Doing this job yourself as a homeowner is not in any way fail-safe and there are many risks involved with taking on such a big project. It would take time, effort and extensive knowledge to install real hardwood floors correctly.
The installation of laminate is much simpler. You actually have a few different options for installation, but it's far more reasonable to install laminate flooring without professional help. You can choose flooring that comes pre-glued, that you must glue yourself, or even laminate flooring that requires no glue at all. It's also unnecessary to remove your old flooring when you install laminate tiles or planks; they can usually be installed on top of your existing floor.
Choosing between laminate and hardwood flooring is a personal decision. You want to consider your family lifestyle and pick appropriate flooring based on affordability and durability, as well as style. There are many options however, so you can easily find the perfect flooring for your home.
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Article Added on Sunday, October 19, 2008
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