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How to Choose Between Hardwood and Laminate Floors

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Kitchen Floors

If your carpet and tile are looking a little worse for wear, maybe it’s time to consider installing some brand new floors, especially if you’re thinking about putting your home on the market.

The fact is that new flooring can help your home stand head and shoulders above the other Nanaimo real estate listings. But the problem is, when it comes to new flooring, many homeowners have trouble deciding between hardwood and laminate.

There are definitely pros and cons to each. In this article we’ll look at how to choose between hardwood and laminate floors.

Factors to consider

Probably the biggest difference between hardwood and laminate flooring is the price. But while hardwood floors usually cost much more, laminate flooring has also recently become much more attractive in lots of different ways.

Here are some of the main factors to consider when trying to decide between hardwood floors and laminate flooring:

  • Durability: While hardwood floors do last longer, they also need to be refinished every 5 or 10 years. On the other hand, high quality laminate flooring resists wear and tear and can easily last up to 20 years or more.
  • Care: Both hardwood and laminate rank equally in this category, although light colored hardwood may show darker stains.
  • Environment: Trees are used for both hardwood and laminate flooring, but there are environmentally conscious manufacturers who practice sustainable harvesting of chemical-free trees.
  • Installation: Laminate wins in this category. It can be quickly and easily installed, while hardwood floor installation can make your home look and smell like a lumber mill.

Which is best for what room

It’s okay for sellers to say they have laminate floors in their Nanaimo real estate listings.

Although laminate and hardwood floors are both made from trees, the floors are constructed in different ways. Several layers of synthetic and natural material are used to make laminate, while hardwood is formed into planks, sanded down, and then cut to size.


  • Kitchens
  • Bathrooms
  • Affordable budgets
  • Do it yourselfers
  • Older homes
  • Pet owners
  • Wide variety of stylish choices


  • Beautiful living rooms
  • Colonial style homes
  • Long-lasting
  • Radiant heating systems
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Boosts home resale value
  • Easier to repair and maintain

Caring for laminate vs. hardwood

Here’s what to expect when caring for hardwood and laminate flooring:


You can vacuum or mop laminate flooring. It’s water resistant, and also less likely to change color or fade in rooms that have a lot of direct sunlight.

However, laminate floors can easily become damaged if water is left standing for a long period of time. Unlike hardwood floors, laminate can’t be sanded or refinished if damaged – it will need to be entirely replaced.


Easily cleaned with sweeping, mopping (with select cleaners), or with a regular light vacuuming. Although hardwood floors may become scratched, they are relatively easy to refinish and restore.

Just like laminate, standing water can easily damage a hardwood floor. Some tree types used for hardwood flooring are likely to change color after being exposed for long periods of direct sunlight, and all hardwoods tend to scratch easily. Using furniture pads is a must, and mopping hardwood floors should only be done with special cleaners.

Which looks better: hardwood or laminate?


  • Appearance of laminate is getting better and better thanks to new technologies
  • Oftentimes it’s hard to tell the difference between hardwood and laminate
  • Much wider variety of styles and looks with laminate
  • Laminate floors may look ‘glossier’ than true hardwood floors


  • Timeless appeal and the unique grains of hardwood can be difficult for laminate to copy
  • Hardwood floors can be custom stained and finished to match any home decor
  • Light hardwood such as white oak is good for unique stains such as red and blue
  • Hardwood flooring is easier to scratch than laminate and needs to be properly maintained
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