Floors can be laminated or hardwood depending on the kind of finish you want and the price you are ready to pay. As laminate flooring came into existence many homeowners decided to do away with wood and chose laminate as the new wood. But can it live up to the hype? It is certainly much less expensive, can be cleaned more easily and gives an almost wood like finish but before you decide on the material for your flooring you need to check out the pros and cons of laminate floors.
Advantages and Disadvantages of laminate flooring:
- Installation: Laminate floors are much easier to install than hardwood floors. This is because today’s laminates come with an easy lock and fold design which makes the pieces fit onto each other like a glove. These pieces can be easily combined to give a definite shape to the floor within a few hours whereas Hardwood floors are pretty difficult to install because they do not come in such pieces but have to be installed as slabs. But many difficulties arise in laminates floors when the fold and lock design does not really work out as it should. Once they do not fit together their edges get raised and the floor becomes a sort of trip trap. If you think that forcing the pieces together will work, then think again because then the top layer curls up and the floor loses its ability to retain moisture.
- Cleaning: The laminate floors are much easier to clean because they are not made of real wood. Not being prone to damage from water, it can be easily cleaned with a mop and bucket. But if the laminate is cheap and is prone to water retention then within months the top layer swells up and looks unsightly. They will lump together to form ugly abscesses. There are special laminate floor cleaners available in the market to avoid this to happen.
- Maintenance: As laminate does not possess similar qualities as wood, it is hard to make a dent on them. They are almost entirely scratch proof and resistant to any kind of normal wear and tear. They are generally so tough and durable that even if something heavy falls on them they do not break and not even a scratch is seen on the surface. But unlike wood, laminate has to be entirely replaced if it gets damaged. This is because of its inability to be sanded or polished like wood.
- Functionality: Hardwood floors are extremely hard to stand on, being naturally made from wood. But laminate floors are generally fitted with an under layer which is great for providing a cushion like feeling when you are standing on it. But laminate flooring is extremely slippery and can even conduct static electricity but the conduction of electricity can be prevented if the floor is kept clean and many manufacturers today manufacture slip-resistant laminate.
- Appearance: Laminate floors can reproduce the look and finish of wood very well but it needs to be kept in mind that it is not wood and thus will have no natural patterns. The patterns will recur and upon close observation people can understand that it is not wood. But they are much more environment-friendly and if one can discount that then they are extremely good.
- Resale value: Laminate flooring can mimic wood but it will never bring in the money that real wood does. If you want to resell your house at a higher price, then you should probably go for hardwood floors.