What do you go with? Laminate or wood?
We were faced with this very same dilemma when redoing our living room, kitchen and dining area. After some extensive research, we made our decision. Here's what we found out about laminate:
Laminate Flooring Perks:
- It's super-sturdy. We've dropped tons of drywall, nails, hammers, plates, dishes (and we also have a dog) and the stuff hasn't even gotten a dent.
- It looks real. Everyone who comes over thinks it's real wood. Thanks to being laid overtop of real old wood floors (too damaged and too costly to refinish), it even creaks a bit like real wood. Score.
- Thanks to the thick padding underneath, it doesn't have that high-pitched "tink tink" noise when you walk across it.
- We managed to find some high-quality laminate (aka, the grooves in the laminate match the dark grain so it looks real) for the price of low-quality laminate.
- The price: To put it in our living room, dining room, kitchen, hallway and hall closet, it ran us 900$. Total.
- We were able to easily install it ourselves. Our labor expense: 0$ (unless you count pizza and beer, that is!).
- The laminate is guaranteed to last for years (ours is 25 years), and never needs refinishing.
- Since it's a floating floor (aka, not screwed down into the floor beneath), if we ever want to take it out for whatever reason, it'll be an easy job and the flooring underneath will have been protected and preserved all that time.
Looking for Laminate?
Quality. Like all things, laminate has a wide range of options and prices, and sometimes you do get what you pay for. When we were shopping for our flooring, we found that (for the most part) the cheaper options looked and felt cheap. It took us some time to figure out why, but it was obvious once we found out. If you're looking for a quality laminate that looks and feels like wood, the big thing is to look for laminate that has grooves that match the woodgrain. We found that most of the cheaper ones don't match at all, making them look super-fakey.
Don't forget to look in unexpected places if you're shopping on a budget. Make sure to do your research and search all the areas around town (and even online) so you can get a good idea of the price range and so you'll know a good deal when you see one. We found our laminate (a high quality one for the low-quality price!) at Costco, of all places. They didn't have much of a selection, but what they did have was quality at a fantastic price.
What about you guys? Do you prefer wood or laminate, and why?
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