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Choosing Between Hardwood & Laminate

Hardwood and Laminate are the two most popular flooring choices when it comes to residential use. Both provide grains, streams, and applications of wood that provide a great source of comfort experienced throughout the house.

What is the better option for your home?

Hardwood is more of a premium and provides the greatest returns on investment. It is composed of harvested trees, and the price point typically depends on the species and rarity of the tree composure. Popular species include Oak, Maple, and Cherry. For everyday use, hardwood is known to provide warmth, cushion, and comfort. Overall, it is the most visually appealing, as it looks the most natural, and retains the highest real estate value.

Despite paying more of a premium for Hardwood, Hardwood floors are the most cost effective. This means that these floors are able to last between 15-25 years, thus outlasting any other types of flooring. Consequently Hardwood is a premium investment, but a lifetime investment. When scratches or exterior malfunctions occur, these areas can be targeted by sanding down or refinishing these specific areas, as opposed to ripping out the entire floors. In addition the floors expand and contrast with the room temperature, and external environments.

However, despite being hard-wearing, hardwood floors are not recommended to be installed within bathrooms, below grade basements, and/or high moisture areas. Due to its full wood composure, the wood absorbs all apparent wetness and moisture.

All in all, hardwood floors are comprised of 100% natural wood composition, and provide the highest amount of durability when compared to other types of flooring materials.

Laminate, despite mimicking the look of hardwood, is actually composed of a different nature. The core of laminate floors is composed out of high pressured plywood or fibreboard (wooden bi-products that are compressed together at high temperatures). An image of hardwood is then placed over the top of this surface, and is then laminated to finish.

Laminate is typically thinner than hardwood, and less durable. Despite being easier to install with a click and lock system, laminate can not be re-sanded down or refinished if infractions occur. In addition, the lighter material accounts for a rigid surface and louder noise transmittance. However, to prevent this, there are several additional installation techniques that can be used with laminate that can not be applicable with hardwood. A foam underlay can help apply that extra cushion underneath to help make softer surfaces, and in floor radiant heating can also be used.

Overall, despite being composed out of a thinner less durable material, the extra installation techniques can be used to help bring laminates up to the hardwood premium. In addition, due to the minimal wood composition, laminate is more resistant to high moisture areas, and can actually be applied within below grade basements, and bathrooms.

Both Hardwood and Laminate are great for living area applications. Despite hardwood being a natural product, both products are able to capture and apply natural elements such as grains, colour, and warmth. Laminate is great for areas where ‘wood’ products are not practical. For example, when trying to incorporate wood flooring within the basement, laminate serves as a great option because it is able to apply the ‘wood’ look, with a more pragmatic application. However, in common living areas, Hardwood serves as more of a premium as it applies a much thicker application accounting for several benefits.

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