Are you ready to re-do the floors in your home, but aren’t sure what material you want to install? For many Colorado Springs homeowners, laminate and hardwood are two of the top choices. They both have many pros and cons to debate over when it comes time to pick a flooring type.
What is Laminate?
Laminate flooring is a synthetically made multi-layer flooring product that is very commonly used in the United States. This type of flooring is made to imitate real hardwood, but is a much more affordable option. The core layer of laminate flooring is made primarily from melamine resin and fiber board material. Then on the top layer there is an imprinted textured image made to look like real wood.
What is Hardwood?
When it comes to hardwood flooring, there are two types that you can choose from: engineered hardwood or solid hardwood. Engineered hardwood flooring is made with several different layers. The bottom two are either solid wood or plywood planks, with the top layer usually consisting of a solid sawn wood lamella. This is often stained and prefinished in a factory setting. Solid wood flooring is different in that the planks are produced from single pieces of wood, and you can buy them either prefinished or unfinished.
Pros and Cons
Between solid wood flooring and laminate flooring, there are some similarities and several differences, here are a few of the most important ones:
Durability: Laminate is the less durable of the two. Because of the way that laminate flooring is made, it often ends up being a harder surface than solid wood flooring, and can anywhere from 10-25 years. Decent quality laminate flooring is highly resistant to stains and fading, and moisture damage, so it really is a durable flooring option. Solid wood flooring can last a lifetime, if it’s not seriously damaged. Solid wood is a softer material than a pressurized plank made in a factory, therefore it’s more susceptible to dents and several types of damage. Although it can be damaged easier, hardwood flooring can be easily repaired, renewed, and refinished. Laminate flooring cannot be easily repaired without ripping up a large section of the flooring and putting down new laminate.
Appearance: Laminate and hardwood flooring can differ so greatly in the color, stain, pattern, etc. However, they are still easy to tell apart. Real hardwood flooring is very unique because each plank is different. The patterns and striations on each plank will differ, and it’s a very majestic look when it all comes together in a home. Laminate flooring has pre-designed patterns imprinted onto the planks, to imitate real wood. Because of this the patterns differ, but you will find repeat wood plank patterns every 4-5 boards or so. Although some high-quality laminate may look almost identical to real wood, the repetition in the pattern is unavoidable. Manufacturers can’t replicate the unique pattern that real wood has.
Cost: As it’s already well known, laminate flooring is cheaper than hardwood flooring, but by how much? This is something that can vary but here are some basic pricing options. Good quality laminate starts around $3 per square foot, although you can find it cheaper, but risk the poorer quality and look of the flooring. With hardwood, pricing starts around $3 a square foot for low-end maple, oak, and ash. For better quality wood, pricing goes up to $5, and can get very expensive from there, it’s really your discretion on budget for how much you spend on hardwood.
Overall, hardwood flooring and laminate flooring are two very reasonable flooring options. If you are looking to put in new floors, cheaply, quickly, and something easy to maintain, go with laminate. If you’re intention is to add value to your home for yourself, and future homeowners, take the time and money to go with hardwood flooring.
Valor Flooring has a huge selection of both laminate and hardwood. Visit our Colorado Springs flooring showroom to browse through our flooring types and choose the look and quality that fits you and your budget!