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Wood vs. Laminate

Wood and laminate happen to be the two of the most popular types of flooring among builders and homeowners. Sometimes the difference between the two can be rather hard to spot. While wood flooring is so named because it is actual wood, laminate is actually a type of technology that makes floors look like real wood. Based on their manner of manufacture, there are advantages and disadvantages of going with either one.

Price and Aesthetics:

The look and feel of wood on the floor reminds people of the natural wonders that comprise the forest. Moreover, there is a variety of floors to choose from, since wood comprises a wide range of species. It is a look and feel that laminate flooring—comprising multiple wood layers of material covered by a plastic film that has an image of hardwood—cannot quite replicate. In fact, in some cases—where the material is really cheap and has artificial looking wood grain textures—the lamination looks ugly. Even though laminate is not as “natural” as wood, it is considerably less expensive. Since wood flooring is made of actual wood, it tends to be twice as expensive as laminate.

Durability:

Over time, floors show wear and tear due to the traffic load from people walking on them. Laminate flooring has the advantage here, since it consists of compressed wood. The pressed layers make it less susceptible to moisture, scratching, and wear and tear. On the other hand, wood flooring is not as resistant to heavy traffic; the more feet it receives, the quicker it deteriorates. Also, wood can easily get scratched, and it is not a good absorber of moisture.

Maintenance and Repair:

To keep it in the best shape possible over time, floors need to be cleaned regularly. Laminate flooring is comparatively easy to clean; all that is needed are basic cleaning tools: brooms, mops, wipes, and cloths. Wood flooring, on the other hand, requires a little more delicate care. Homeowners must buy cleaning agents that are specifically manufactured for hardwood cleaning. Using just any cleaning product—such as detergent, universal cleaners or furniture polish—can damage, scratch or dull the floor, thus shortening its lifespan. However, when it comes to repairs, wood flooring can be restored with sanding and refinishing out perfections. In fact, wood flooring is known to last for up to 80 years without repair or replacement. Laminate floors do not repair as easily, since it consists of different layers kept together; the lifespan is generally half of that of wood flooring.

http://freshome.com/2010/11/01/the-pros-and-cons-of-hardwood-vs-laminate-wood-flooring/

Deciding Between Hardwood and Laminate Flooring: Which Is Better?