The ever ongoing debate between homeowners, landlords, carpet layers and and flooring enthusiasts everywhere will be solved today, right now in fact. Which is better, solid hardwood flooring or laminate?
What is solid hardwood flooring?
Solid hardwood flooring is carpentered wood turned into flooring. It can be made from various types of wood such as Beech, Oak, Maple and many more.
What is laminate?
Laminate flooring looks very similar to solid hardwood flooring but it’s actually a thin layer of decor paper placed under a hard protective film. Decor paper at its very basic is a photograph of the type of wood the laminate is trying to mimic. This picture is then glued and pressed to a high-density backing board. There is no real wood in laminate, but it can be convincing at first glance.
So what are the differences?
The difference generally comes down to what you are buying for, aesthetics and price. Laminate is on average 50% cheaper to install than Hardwood flooring, it’s a suitable and affordable alternative to solid wood flooring. More expensive laminates can look as good as a real, solid wood flooring but you might be paying a similar price to a hardwood flooring if this is the case. If you’re willing to spend more, hardwood flooring does have its plusses. Laminate struggles to achieve the depth and light variations that hardwood flooring can muster. Laminate does not age as well as hardwood, it chips and scratches more easily while hardwood like a fine leather jacket seems to only get better with age.
The sound of laminate flooring is bemoaned. It can be loud and sterile sounding as you make your way around a room, clapping as you tread. Replicating the solid step or a creak of a wooden floor board is something left for the pleasure of a hardwood floor. Dog owners in particular complain that their dogs sound like they are tap dancing as they jog around the house on laminate. Not to mention that some older dogs, or younger, impetuous pups struggle to stand on the shiny laminate surface and recreate the iconic Bambi on ice scene daily. Real wood flooring has more of a grip, which will allow even the most impulsive pooch a chance to stay upright.
Gone are the days when Laminates were associated with noxious fumes, they’re now environmentally sound. Some laminate companies even use mainly recycled materials to make their flooring. Hardwood flooring companies can get a bad environmental reputation for adding to the deforestation problem, but companies like, The Solid Wood Flooring Company, are environmentally friendly, only sourcing their wood from sustainable Forest Stewardship Council approved forests and commiting themselves to the Timber Trade Federation. This means that for every tree cut down, one or more are re-planted.
Will hardwood increase the value of my property?
Hardwood floors will add value to a house but only if they are of a quality stock of wood and finish. I would suggest if you are buying as the home owner, that hardwood is an investment. If you are developing a property, there’s just no point paying over the odds for hardwood unless you know the wood you are using is going to aid you in turning a profit.
If you’ve got the money, go for the hardwood, it’ll last longer, feel more comforting and your pooch’ll thank you.