Real Hardwood Floors or Laminate Hardwood Floors. This is the eternal debate! We recently installed Laminate Wood Flooring in our home (you can read more HERE), and I wanted to take a moment to explain why we went with laminate floors and the pros and cons of each!
First of all, they can BOTH create beautiful floors and they are both nicer then linoleum and even sometimes carpet! A big chunk of our downstairs was linoleum flooring. It was nice, it was an upgrade from the standard builder grade flooring, it was the perfect color, being light yet not showing ANYTHING! And honestly linoleum is really durable and very kid friendly! It also has easy upkeep and we have really enjoyed it.
But. We desperately wanted wood floors! We love real hardwood floors however, they are not always the best choice. We chose to install floating, click and lock laminate wood flooring based on many factors. Here are a few pros and cons to each!
Floating Click-Lock Laminate Wood Flooring
- cost effective (as low as $1.25 sq ft)
- easy to install and can often be installed over existing flooring
- snaps and locks into place and floats over your existing subfloor
- little or no prep work for your subfloors
- a good mid-grade home improvement project. Not ideal for a very high-end or custom neighborhood depending on location. Always research what other homes in your neighborhood have as you don't want to over or under upgrade your home.
- not easily damaged, good for people with dogs and small children
- easy to clean, no yearly maintenance
Real Hardwood Flooring (either solid wood or engineered hardwood)
- more expensive (starting usually around $3 sq ft)
- more difficult to install and requires your floor to be bare concrete or subfloor prior to installing
- install with glue and / or nails directly to your subfloor unless it is engineered
- you must often self-level your concrete floors or reinforce your wood subfloors prior to installing
- a more expensive and higher-end home improvement project. Ideal for custom or high-end homes. If you install in a started home, you may price your home out of the market in your area. So always research what is "normal" for your neighborhood prior to making any decisions.
- can be easily damaged and can be difficult to maintain a perfect looking quality with dogs or young children in the home
- easy to clean, but requires re-sealing every year or two to maintain it's appearance and to keep it in good condition
Our home is in a nice neighborhood, they are not starter homes, but they are not crazy high-end homes either. There are a few people in our neighborhood who have real wood, but most people have either linoleum or laminate wood flooring. So for resale, real hardwood floors would be on the high-end for our neighborhood.
But also, real hardwood floors cost a lot more money. We were able to get a great deal on really nice looking, distressed, 6" wide plank laminate flooring but hardwood floors were out of our budget for as much square footage as we have!
In addition to cost and resale value, we also considered the prep work. If we installed real hardwood floors we would need to rip up our existing linoleum, self level our concrete floors and then glue the flooring down. With laminate flooring we had zero prep work with regards to the floor.
So in the end, for budget, resale and amount of work involved, we knew that Floating Laminate Wood Floors were the right choice for our home!