If you’re looking at new flooring for your home or office, both hardwood and laminate flooring make great options. Nowadays, laminate flooring can be made to look really similar to wood, and so determining which option is best for you can be tough.

We outline the differences in hardwood and laminate flooring, helping you determine which is best for your needs.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is a relatively new form of floor, and is constructed from manufactured layers of fiber. The top finish is made to look like hardwood flooring, and some versions actually use real wood for the very top layer that you walk on.

Laminate is durable and scratch resistant. Many manufacturers rate their floors for 10 years against chips, dings, and scratches.

Cleaning is easy, and you’re fine to use soap and water, or more abrasive cleaners if necessary. You don’t want a vacuum that has harsh bristles, so its important to use a vacuum cleaner designed for engineered floors.

Laminate flooring is significantly cheaper than hardwood, often times 5x-10x less per square foot. While laminate does not have the prestige and longevity of hardwood, it beats it in price and functionality.

Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring is the classic standard of elegance in a home. This style of flooring was extremely common in older homes, and has a wonderful look to it.

This style of floors are made with solid wood, all the way through. There are a variety of different finishes and stains that can be applied, giving this type of flooring a varied look depending on your preferences.

Hardwood is very susceptible to damage, whether from scratching or shoes or even denting. Unfortunately, any damage is hard to remove.

You also need to be careful with how you clean hardwood flooring. You aren’t able to use any abrasive or strong cleaners, and even soap and water has to be limited.

This type of flooring is susceptible to water damage, so make sure to clean up any water spill immediately. Don’t use hardwood floors in the kitchen, bathrooms, or anywhere that are likely to be damp.

Laminate vs Hardwood

First and foremost, you should consider the cost difference between laminate and hardwood floors. True wood is going to cost more, by a wide margin. Unfortunately, this is often the deciding factor for many.

The potential for water damage should also be considered. While neither flooring is great for moisture, laminate floors stand up better to water, especially over time.

Because of this, you don’t want to use either in a kitchen or bathroom. Instead, opt for tile flooring over hardwood or laminate.

Finally, if you have any concerns about scratching, then opt for laminate. For example, pets and their claws can wreak havoc on natural wood floors.