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Laminate Wood Flooring Or Hardwood? How I Chose Between Laminate & Hardwood Flooring

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By Aimee

The struggle is real, folks — laminate wood flooring or hardwood?

When building or remodeling your home, there comes a point when it’s time to decide what to do about the floors.

If you want to keep a natural look that also adds class, it’s hard to go wrong with wood.

But then you also have choices between solid, natural hardwood flooring and laminate wood flooring that looks like hardwood. Both are beautiful — so which is the better choice?

How do you install hardwood laminate flooring?

Must read: What’s The Difference Between Engineered & Laminate Floors?

Growing up we had hardwood floors and it was really difficult to keep them pristine like my parents wanted. Water damage, scratches, and fading from the sun used to drive my parents crazy — like “code blue emergency” crazy! I’ll never forget the time a condensation ring was found around my glass of milk on the floor.

When it was my turn to build a house, we went with laminate wood flooring. It was great for us with toddlers and pets. Let’s just say I was much calmer than my parents were when my kids spilled or played with their toys on the laminate.

Nevertheless, you’ll have to choose what’s best for you.

Here are the criteria I used to decide and pros and cons of both laminate wood flooring and real hardwood floors. 


Making The Choice

Both laminate wood flooring and hardwood flooring can be beautiful options for your home. The best choice really comes down to your budget, desired features, and personal preference.

Here are the 3 factors I used when deciding between laminate wood floors vs hardwood:

#1 – Budget. Based on the square footage of the house, laminate wood flooring was cheaper.

#2 – Durability and lifestyle. Since we had 1 golden retriever and 2 kids, laminate worked for us. That way, I wasn’t frantic any time there was an accident in the home. (No “code blues” for me!)

#3 – Resale value. We researched our area and the design of the home and found that hardwood floors would not increase the value of the home.

You should do the same thing — weigh the pros and cons of both to determine which is best for you.

Let’s look at pros and cons of laminate wood flooring first.


All About Laminate Wood Flooring

Laminate wood flooring might look like wood, but it’s really a composite of wood that has been pressed and subjected to high temperatures.

On top of this pressed composite is a thin layer with a specific design or image on top.

How durable is laminate wood flooring?

If you’re looking for laminate flooring that looks like wood, then this top layer will look like your choice of wood.

Here are some of the benefits of installing laminate wood flooring:

TIP: You’ll want to put protective pads on the ends of furniture legs and avoid walking on the flooring with high heels.

Here are some tips for replacing laminate wood flooring.


These are some of the drawbacks to installing laminate wood flooring:

TIP: You can alleviate the hollow sound by using underlayment materials — which simulates the sound of natural hardwood flooring.

There were once concerns about the materials used when manufacturing laminate wood flooring. You can rest assured the EPA has looked into it.

There’s no cause for concern. The amount of formaldehyde in the laminate flooring, if present, can vary due to how the flooring is made. Formaldehyde is normally present at low levels, usually less than 0.03 parts per million (ppm), in both outdoor and indoor air. Source


All About Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood floors are made from real, natural wood that comes from trees all over the world.

Hardwood floors not only add a rich variety of color and texture to a space, they also provide many perks that can enhance your living space.

Is this hardwood or laminate wood flooring? It's hardwood flooring!

Here are some benefits to having real hardwood floors:

Here are some questions to ask before choosing hardwood flooring.


These are some of the disadvantages of real hardwood floors:

After several years of normal wear and tear on your hardwood flooring, you’ll eventually need to refinish it at some point. Doing so makes it look like new again.

You can only sand some engineered floors once or twice, and although solid boards can sustain more refinishes, the number isn’t unlimited. Source


More Tips For Choosing Your Flooring

In addition to the links I’ve included above, here are some other thoughts on wood laminate vs. hardwood flooring: