Laminate Flooring Pros & Cons

With so many options available on the floor today, how do you decide?

Are laminate flooring still the popular choice?  Or is it considered outdated and out of date?

Although hardwood flooring remains one of the most popular trends, not everyone can afford it.  So, laminate is a great and affordable alternative.

And despite receiving a bad “rap” at times, the popularity of laminate flooring has not waned.

Many laminate floors today look so similar to hardwood that it is difficult to tell the difference.

Not only does it resemble hardwood floors, there are also new styles that mimic natural stone tiles.  Whether you prefer stone or hardwood tiles, you can achieve a similar look with laminate.

So, if it’s cheaper and looks pretty much the same, why don’t you use it?

Laminate is a great option, but, like anything else, it has its drawbacks.  So can hardwood, cork, bamboo, vinyl, tiles, and even carpets.

Laminate Floor Pros and Cons

With almost any type of flooring, there are advantages and disadvantages.  It always depends on what your specific needs are.

Laminate is no exception to this rule.  Some of the advantages of this type of floor include:

  • Easy to install
  • Low maintenance (see: best laminate vacuum cleaners)
  • Cheap
  • Water and moisture resistant
  • It looks like hardwood or tile.

Now, you might be thinking that with all these great benefits, what’s not to love about lamination?  Apart from all the great amenities, there are also some disadvantages to this floor:

  • Unable to sand or repair damaged boards
  • Sometimes it’s slippery
  • Not waterproof (most laminates are not waterproof, but waterproof options are now being made)
  • Can look “fake”
  • Does not increase resale value.

Let’s see how this floor arrangement compares to the other types of flooring available.

  Laminate vs.  Hardwood

You want the hardwood look, but aren’t sure if you want to invest in it.  Here’s how it compares to lamination:

  • Laminate is cheaper than hardwood.
  • Laminates are easier to install on their own.
  • Easy to care for laminate, but not easy to repair.
  • Hardwood can be sanded and smoothed.
  • Both offer a wide variety of styles and colors.
  • Hardwood gives a more natural look.
  • Hardwood increases the resale value of your home.

Also, consider installation.  If you want to install laminate flooring yourself, lamination is usually easier.

While both flooring options are extremely durable, they both have their own challenges.

If you scratch or break the laminate, it is difficult to repair.  Your best bet is to replace the damaged board.

Hardwoods, even the most engineered hardwoods, can be sanded and refined to repair scratches.

If you’re looking for a specific look or color, both laminate and hardwood offer a wide selection to choose from.

Hardwoods come in many different species, shades and grains.  And laminates are designed to mimic many of these.

So, however, you can find a style that suits your taste.  Now, if you are considering selling your home, you may want to consider more than just your personal preferences.

Most potential home buyers prefer hardwood over laminate.  If resale value is a priority, then hardwood may be worth the investment.

  Laminate vs.  Cork

Laminate and cork have many similarities and differences.  Let’s compare the two:

  • They are both very durable, in different ways.
  • Cork is much greener than laminate.
  • Corks are softer and easier to pass.
  • Laminate is cheaper than cork.
  • Laminates offer more choices.
  • Both are waterproof.
  • Both types of flooring are easy to install.

Laminate and cork are in some ways completely opposite to each other.

Both are durable.  However, laminate is durable due to its hard top surface whereas cork is durable due to its soft and pliable top layer.

The softness of the cork makes it easier to walk and stand for longer periods of time.  Yet lamination is hard and, depending on the sheen, can even be slippery.

Laminates are manufactured with poison and resin, so you can expect exhaust gases with this product.

So, if air quality or allergies are an issue, cork is a better choice.

Both options are water and moisture resistant when installed properly.  And both types of flooring are easy to install.

Both can be installed as floating floors.  And both of them can be DIY projects.

However, lamination is cheaper than cork.  Laminate prices range from about $ 1 to $ 10 per square foot, while cork costs around $ 4 to $ 15 per square foot.

And you also have more choices of colors and styles with laminates.

Laminate vs.  Bamboo

If you’re arguing between laminate and bamboo flooring, here’s how they stack up against each other:

  • Both are quite cheap.
  • Both are easy to clean.
  • Both are low maintenance.
  • Both can affect your ability to sell your home.
  • Laminates have more style options.
  • Laminate is not easily scratched like bamboo.
  • Bamboo is a more natural and environmentally friendly choice.

Both of these flooring options have some of the same pros and cons.  There are no options that will break the bank financially.

And both are easy to clean and maintain.

However, both of these options can be good or bad for the resale value of your home.

A high-quality laminate that closely resembles wood probably won’t deter your home from selling, however, a laminate that looks cheap can bring its value down.

And bamboo has a very modern appeal.  This can reduce potential home buyers to prefer a more traditional look.

So, unless you want a modern look, you may be better off choosing from one of the many options available in laminates.

Another benefit of laminating on bamboo is the fact that it doesn’t scratch easily.  If the room has heavy furniture or a lot of traffic, bamboo may not be a good choice.

But, if eco-friendly flooring is important to you, bamboo is a much better choice.  It is very green in color and will not release VOCs like laminates.

  Laminate vs.  Vinyl

Laminate and vinyl planks are cheap flooring options, but what is one of the better options for your home?  Let’s compare these two options:

  • Vinyl planks are made of plastic, while laminates are mostly made of wood.
  • Vinyl is more moisture resistant than laminate.
  • Laminate looks more natural.
  • Vinyl is softer to walk on.
  • They are both inexpensive and easy to install.
  • Nothing adds value to your home.

For homeowners looking to achieve the hardwood look without a hefty price tag, laminates and vinyl are possible options.

Both have technology very similar to wood. And while this helps the laminate look a little closer to the hardwood, it also means the laminate is more susceptible to water.  Since vinyl is made of plastic, water doesn’t damage it.

There is a huge selection of colors and styles for every floor type and none of them are particularly expensive.  Plus, both of them can be installed easily. And both of them can be installed over the existing floor.

Laminate vs.  Tile

If you are debating between laminate and tile for your floor, consider which room the new floor will occupy.  This can affect your choice between the two:

  • Laminate can mimic the appearance of a tile, but it is easier to install.
  • Both can be inexpensive options.
  • Tiles are more resistant to water and moisture.
  • Laminate is more comfortable than tile.
  • Both offer a large selection of patterns and colors.
  • Tiles can increase the resale value of your home.

Laminate not only has planks that resemble hardwood, you can also find a large selection of stone.  So, if you like the look of tiles, you can also use laminate instead.

But should you?  There are tiles that are expensive, but also those that are comparable in price to laminate.

However, while you can try tiling yourself, it’s probably best to let a professional do it.  Laminate can be a DIY project.

If you decide between these two options, one factor will be the room in which you plan to use the floor.

Laminates are more prone to water damage.  So, you might be better off using tiles in the kitchen and especially in the bathroom.

Tiles can feel hard and cold.  So, if you prefer, you may want to invest in rugs, especially in the bedroom or living room.

Laminates are more comfortable to walk through, especially if they have a thick undercoat.  However, if you choose a laminate that is not textured, it can be slippery.

Both laminate and tile have many options.  With laminates, you can choose from a variety of wood or stone looks.

Tiles come in a variety of styles and textures.  There are natural stones such as travertine and marble, or you can choose porcelain or ceramic tiles in various hues and colors.

But, keep in mind, if resale value is a factor, tiles can help your home.  Laminate probably won’t increase the value of your home.

Laminate vs.  Carpet

Laminates and carpets are very different in many ways.  But they also have some things in common.  Here’s a comparison:

  • Carpet soft and warm, no laminate.
  • Laminate is easier to clean and maintain than carpets.
  • Both offer inexpensive options.
  • Easier installation with laminate.
  • Don’t get wet.
  • Carpets can be a deterrent for potential home buyers.
  • The carpet was warm and soft.  It feels good walking or sitting.
  • Hard and slippery laminate.  Not as safe as rugs for young children or the elderly.

However, lamination is much easier to care for.  And it is much safer for those who suffer from allergies.

Even if you vacuum regularly, you can’t remove everything that’s trapped in your carpet.

Dirt and dirt are easily washed off the laminate.  There is nowhere to hide.

Rugs can be expensive, depending on what you choose.  However, there are many inexpensive options.

So you can find a carpet or laminate option that fits your budget.  But only one really serves as a DIY project.

Laminates are easy to install and can be placed on top of existing floors.  Carpets really need to be installed professionally and old floors should be removed.

And neither of these options work well in the bathroom.  Laminate can fit into your kitchen, but there are better options for your kitchen.

As far as reselling, many potential buyers don’t like looking at carpets.  So while laminates don’t add value to your home, they are generally more attractive to potential home buyers than carpets.

  Conclusion

If you are unsure whether to use laminate over other flooring options, the best way to decide is to find out your priorities.

Are you limited by your budget?  Do you want to install the floor yourself?

Which room floor?  Do you have pets, children, elderly relatives you live with?

The answers to these questions can influence which floor is most suitable for you.

Laminate is a great choice if you want the look of hardwood or natural stone tile without spending a fortune.  There are many new options in laminates that are very similar to stone and wood.

It’s also very durable and easy to clean.

Laminate is not an environmentally friendly floor;  however, many manufacturers are creating more environmentally friendly options.

In the end, choose a floor that appeals to you and meets the needs of your family.

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