Laminate floors were introduced in the late 1970s and were a huge hit because they were durable, affordable, and easy to maintain compared to hardwood floors. While many design advancements have happened since laminate's initial introduction, those three main benefits remain true to this day.
When deciding between hardwood and laminate floors, there are five things to consider which may make laminate a better choice for your space.
1. You Love the Latest Floor Fashion
When it comes to design, laminate can easily go toe to toe with hardwood in modern style. Wide planks, varied lengths, distressed and wire brushed surface treatments, matte finish - all of it can be found in a laminate option.
Laminate has come a long way since the 1970s, including its look and feel. In those early days, laminate had a plastic look and almost anyone could tell that it wasn't hardwood. Today's laminate designs are so on point that even seasoned flooring professionals can't tell the difference. Modern laminate even feels like hardwood with super realistic hand scraped and brushed textures.
2. You Really Need Low Maintenance In Your Life
Life is busy; there isn't the time to stress about your floors. We get it. It may be for this season of your life (or it may be all your seasons) but, you simply don't have time to keep up with the maintenance of hardwood. You need the kind of floors that only require a quick sweep of the broom or a zip through with the vacuum. Using a few smart tips, you can keep your laminate floors looking beautiful for years to come.
Laminate is easy, breezy flooring because it is so durable. Throw a party every weekend and let everyone wear high heeled shoes and sip red wine - laminate can take it. (Dent and stain resistance are laminate's specialty.)
TIP: Keep in mind that while laminate floors are incredibly durable, they are not indestructible. If you try hard enough, you can damage them. To learn more about how to care for your laminate floors, click here.
3. You Have Pets, Children, and/or a Crazy Busy Household
This is a continuation of the paragraph above. Swap out high heels for toy trucks and spilled wine for spilled juice...laminate can take it. Laminate also has fantastic scratch resistance which is ideal for a home with pets.
Modern laminate also has water-resistance which is a huge development from years ago. It used to be that you had to immediately wipe up any spills or else your laminate floors would be damaged, but today's designs have greater durability. While we wouldn't recommend laminate for a bathroom with a shower or tub (waterproof flooring is better suited for these rooms), it can take everyday spills, such as water splashed from a dog's dish or spilled milk, with ease.
TIP: Laminate floors are ranked by AC ratings. This system ranks laminate’s resistance to abrasion, impact, stains and cigarette burns, as well as, how the product has been tested for common wear. A higher AC rating indicates higher wear resistance. An example of a high AC rating is a 4 or 5.
BONUS TIP: Take the time to learn the difference between water resistant and waterproof floors if you are considering new floors in a kitchen, bathroom, or mudroom.
4. You Really Need to Stick to a Budget
You can afford really beautiful, hardworking, durable floors with all the gorgeous looks of hardwood for a fraction of the cost of real hardwood. While there are affordable hardwood flooring options, overall, hardwood costs more than other flooring. Laminate offers a range of prices suitable for any budget. Where the price difference lies is in the thickness of the floors. For example, an 8mm laminate floor is generally less expensive than a 12mm floor. Actual flooring prices will differ between retailers, but this is generally the way it goes.
TIP: Sometimes a laminate floor with a lesser thickness can have a hollow sound when walking on it. Invest in a good underlayment to improve the sound absorption especially if installing laminate on an upper-level floor. Some laminate floors, such as Beauflor's Hydrana, comes with padding attached.
5. You Care About Sustainability and Air Quality
Ok, this is a trick answer! Quality laminate, hardwood, vinyl, and waterproof flooring, such as the options found on Twenty & Oak, have outstanding environmental sustainability. As with many industries, there are companies that cut corners and don't do what is right by the consumer. But, there also are companies that are straight up and do follow procedures - including laminate manufacturers. Don't let one bad apple ruin the bunch. Reputable brands, such as Palmetto Road, have strong relationships with their manufacturing facilities to ensure the best products are being produced. These flooring products are continually tested to keep certifications up to date.
TIP: Do your research and be informed about the flooring you are choosing for your home. The cheapest flooring on the market may be too cheap and not worth the potential risk to the air quality in your home.
Laminate floors are a fantastic option to consider for your home or even a portion of your home. They are perfect for high traffic areas such as a foyer or hallway. They are also ideal for a children's room or playroom because of their outstanding durability Laminate floors are an easy choice when you need high fashion and high-performance flooring. View all of Twenty & Oak's laminate options and order free samples to see which color would be perfect for your home. Not sure which to choose? Our Floor Genius quiz can help you narrow down the choices.