In 2017, the possibilities are seemingly endless, and owning a home is no exception. Should you go with a ranch style home or a two-story? Granite or marble countertop? Sliding glass door or swinging screen? One of the most commonly addressed debates is regarding flooring. Is it more beneficial to go with laminate or hardwood flooring? JRK Flooring is here to settle the dispute once and for all with this comprehensive pros and cons list, showing which flooring is ultimately the best choice for you. Read on to find out more!
Before getting into the advantages and disadvantages of laminate flooring, it’s important to understand what it is. Laminate flooring is synthetic, and essentially is fake wood. Its top layer looks like wood, but it is not composed of actual wood. Laminate is also referred to as a “floating floor,” as it does not adhere to the subfloor. Pieces are joined together in a click/lock manner, which is comparable to a giant puzzle.
- Less Expensive. One of the biggest advantages to installing laminate flooring is that it’s fairly inexpensive. This is due to the easy installation process, as well as its synthetic nature. Laminate flooring can be produced quickly and at a low cost, resulting in fast turnaround for getting to the customer.
- Easy to Install. Since the pieces are reminiscent of a giant floor puzzle, there is little difficulty in terms of getting installation done quickly and efficiently. Older versions of laminate required gluing as a means of adhesion, modern laminate flooring pieces are snapped into place. Additionally, the planks can be cut with just a hand saw in order to construct the perfect fit. This is due to the fact that they are comprised of a softer particleboard.
- Fairly Durable. The key thing to consider is laminate flooring’s durability given the cost. For a moderately inexpensive price, laminate can hold its own. Laminate flooring is pretty good at withstanding scratches and dents. This is due to a protective layer that resides over the pieces. Stains are also not something to worry about with laminate, as they are pretty easy to get rid of.
- Imperfect Click/Lock Method. Anyone who has worked with a puzzle knows how infuriating it can be if a piece doesn’t fit. Just one piece that’s even slightly out of sync can throw the whole puzzle off! This same mentality transfers over to laminate flooring. The pieces don’t always fit perfectly into place, which serves as a pretty significant disadvantage if this happens to you. Forcing the boards into place can negatively affect or mark up the top protective layer, which somewhat renders the laminate flooring ineffective, depending on the extent of the damage.
- Not Great With Water. A little bit of water isn’t such a big deal, but excessive water will cause swelling. This is particularly important if you live in a place where flooding is a possibility, or in a cold climate where pipes could potentially burst. Additionally, laminate does not respond well to large pools of standing water.
- Can’t Be Easily Fixed. Laminate does a pretty good job of resisting stains and scratches. However, over the course of time, damage is fairly inevitable (regardless of the flooring). Sanding and/or refinishing is not an option, so damaged laminate requires replacing entirely.
Hardwood floors in the United States are about as old as the United States itself. The 17th century saw the early arrivals of colonists, many of whom were stunned at the bountiful forests and woods that existed here (a drastic change from crowded European cities). Hardwood flooring is constructed and installed from some of the hardest woods out there. Oak, maple, and birch are some of the more common woods used for flooring. JRK offers a wide selection of hardwood flooring that promises to satisfy any and every customer!
- Easy to Maintain. For regular maintenance and shine, simply sweep, vacuum, or use a wood floor cleaner on hardwood floor. Not to mention, hardwood floors can last decades upon decades, if not more. Most of the damage or scratching that happens takes place in hardwood flooring’s protective layer – not the wood itself. Sanding and refinishing are great ways to spruce up any hardwood floor.
- Adds Huge Value to Your Home. This is perhaps one of the greatest benefits of hardwood flooring. Laminate floors do virtually nothing to your home’s value, but hardwood flooring is a huge added bonus. Whether you’re in the process of building or remodeling your home, many builders and realtors would agree in their recommendation of considering hardwood floors.
- Style to Your Liking. Although laminate flooring seems to offer many stylistic choices, hardwood flooring is just as comparable – if not more so. Once laminate flooring is established, the only way to change it is by installing a completely new set of laminate. This might not seem like much, but keeping households updated is an important part of adding value to your home. Hardwood flooring can be sanded and refinished, stained to practically any shade you like.
- Needs Occasional Refinishing. Laminate will eventually still show wear and tear, but does not require (or can handle) refinishing. To keep hardwood looking scuff and scratch-free, sanding and restaining is needed on occasion. If hardwood flooring is looking more faded and has only light surface scratches, screening can be done instead. Screening is the process of roughing up the finish that’s already in place, then adding a new finish to the hardwood.
- Higher Cost Than Laminate. This is a bit tricky, because with the higher cost of installing hardwood floors comes a higher reward (in the value added to your home). However, it should be noted that initial installation costs have laminate flooring at a less expensive price than hardwood floors.
- Can Make Some Noise. Anyone who has lived below a neighbor with hardwood floors could attest to the fact that they usually knew when their neighbor was home. Hardwood floors can creak, and where some might find that bothersome, others might find it charming and rustic. There’s a certain character that hardwood brings to a home. The good news is that squeaking floors can be fixed, such as with screws being placed in the subfloor.
While laminate can offer some benefits, hardwood flooring undoubtedly adds the most value to your home, both monetary and in general. The character and style that hardwood brings makes it an optimal choice for flooring in any home. JRK Flooring provides a variety of services, such as hardwood floor refinishing, repair, installation, and replacement. Check out our portfolio to see some fantastic before-and-after photos, and contact us today for a free estimate!