Laminate flooring is a great and cost effective option to make your custom home appear that it has hardwood flooring, but is it worth the investment? This post is part of our series on flooring pros and cons, you can read our previous posts about bamboo flooring and hardwood flooring vs. carpet.
Benefits of Laminate
Laminate flooring is significantly cheaper than hardwood flooring and can also be more resistant to scratches, moisture, and stains. This of course depends entirely on the quality of the laminate and maintenance. Laminate can imitate the appearance of hardwood or stone, or almost anything. Because hardwood flooring is susceptible to moisture or direct sunlight, it is not always the best choice for bathrooms, kitchens, or in rooms with harsh sunlight. Upkeep for laminate flooring is easier than hardwood, there is no need for polishing or waxing, but it should be frequently cleaned. The average cost of laminate flooring averages from $4-8 per square foot, but can often be found for less.
Benefits of Hardwood
Hardwood flooring, because it is made from natural, durable material and finished, can last more than 75-100 years when properly maintained. In comparison, laminate flooring, made of synthetic fiberboard with a laminate finish will never last that long; top quality laminate will need to be replaced about 15-25 years after installation but repairs and installation can be far cheaper than repairing or replacing hardwood floors. Upfront costs for hardwood flooring is the primary deterrent of installation, the average price of hardwood floors is $8-15 per square foot (though the cost can range from $2.75-200 depending on the quality and type of wood). The general rule for hardwood flooring is the harder the wood, the more durable and more expensive.
As a rule, laminate and hardwood are both easy to maintain but that doesn’t mean that maintenance is not necessary. Both types of flooring will last longer when harsh chemical treatments are not used and when kept clean. The use of rugs and felt pads on the feet of furniture is also a good way to ensure that your floors last longer.