What You Need to Know
You’ve heard that laminate flooring mimics the look of hardwood, and may be cheaper. But is it really worth it in the long run? Let’s examine the surprising truths about laminate flooring so you can make the most informed decision.
Durability. Some will say that since laminate is made from pressed wood, it’s more durable and scratch resistant. But consider this: Laminate floors have a single wear layer that CANNOT be refinished. So when that layer is damaged, it needs to be replaced. Even if you’re very careful with your floor, over time, the scratches will begin to show on the surface. When you start to notice them, you’ll need to replace the whole floor. If you pay less for laminate in the beginning, having to replace pieces or the entire floor will end up costing you more in the long run.
If you must replace part or all of a laminate floor, it won’t be easy. Depending on the age of the floor, a new piece of laminate may not match correctly. Hardwood, on the other hand, can be easily repaired by sanding and refinishing out any scratches or dents. This is a big advantage, which contributes to the overall superior longevity of hardwood flooring.
Longevity: Properly maintained hardwood floors can last for decades. With laminate, depending on the type you choose, you may have to replace it much sooner. Generally, the lifespan of laminate is 15-25 years, not as long as hardwood flooring, which can last well beyond 25 years.
Look and feel. One of the biggest complaints, and concerns, for homeowners is that laminate won’t look like real wood. The truth is, it isn’t as visually appealing as the beauty of real hardwood. If you buy a cheaper quality of laminate, it may have artificial-looking wood grain textures, which only make it seem more artificial. Even with laminate that is more authentic in appearance, the feel of it immediately gives it away as a man-made material. Another factor to consider about laminate flooring is the hollow sound it makes when you walk on it. This makes it obvious that it is fake wood, which is exactly what most homeowners DON’T want.
Before you purchase flooring, you want to know how it will feel when you walk on it. Laminate floors are very hard and unyielding, which is important to know if you have any foot or back problems. As we mentioned in an earlier blog, cork flooring can be a great choice for the softness and flexibility it offers when you walk on it. But even if you place a layer of cork or foam padding underneath a laminate floor, you still won’t be able to alleviate the hardness of the laminate surface.
Environmental impact. Hardwoods are very environmentally friendly, and an excellent choice for people with allergies. Laminate materials have raised concerns because they are made with compounds derived from formaldehyde. Environmental experts have said that these materials can release organic chemicals that could have harmful effects on the air quality in your home. The environmental effect of laminate isn’t easy to determine, but on the plus side, recycled materials are used in the making of laminate materials.
Resale value. There’s no question that genuine hardwood is worth more and increases the value of your home. It’s the “real deal,” so you have to consider if it’s worth spending a little more to gain greater benefits in the long run.
Sequoia Ltd. offers a wide selection of hardwood floors, luxury vinyl tile and more. We’re your one-stop shop for purchase, installation and maintenance. Contact us today to get started!