Why Should I Choose Laminate Wood Flooring?
Laminate flooring, often known by their trade names such as Pergo, Trafficmaster, and Mohawk, has several advantages over their natural wood cousin’s, including:
- Wide Range of Options: There are many manufacturers of laminate wood flooring that offer dozens, if not hundreds, of styles and colors that go well with any room décor.
- Affordability: Laminate flooring is much friendlier to homeowners on a budget. A red oak laminate floor is often a fraction of the cost of a natural red oak hardwood floor.
- Longevity: Laminates are constructed using several ply’s (or layers) – a protective, clear outer layer, a decorative layer, and a fill layer consisting of either high-density fiberboard or a wood product. This type of construction is much sturdier against warping, swelling, and splitting due to moisture and temperature changes, meaning a longer lifespan for the floor.
- Ease of Installation: Most laminates can be installed as a floating floor if necessary. This reduces labor costs significantly, as a floating floor snaps together without glue or fasteners, and can often be installed over an existing floor as long as it is structurally sound and level.
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Why Should I Choose Natural Hardwood Flooring?
While many “faux hardwood” manufacturers claim to be as good as the real thing, there is simply no substitute for natural, elegant hardwood flooring. Other arguments to support a hardwood floor installation include:
- Durability: Hardwood floors are naturally durable to all types of physical damage. And unlike laminates (due to the clear protective layer), any damage a solid hardwood floor does receive is able to be sanded out.
- Options: While laminates also offer a wide variety of styles and colors, they are all based on a species of hardwood. Whatever your color or style preference, chances are there is a hardwood that matches what you have in mind.
- Solid Construction: Hardwoods have nothing but solid wood in its makeup, unlike laminate flooring which is often made up of 3 or more different materials. The individual boards are glued or nailed (or both) to the subfloor to give extra durability to the installation.
Laminate and Hardwood Flooring Costs
Keep in mind that these prices are based on national averages and may fluctuate slightly due to your exact location. Exotic hardwood species will also fluctuate with oil prices due to the large distances they must travel.
- Laminate flooring prices range from $.70-$6 per square foot for materials. Properties such as thickness, width, and quality of construction all affect cost. Padded underlayment, which is recommended for most installations, costs an additional $.50-$1.00 per square foot.
- Installing laminate flooring typically costs $2-$4 per square foot. For a typical 200 square foot room, a complete installation including materials would cost $660-$2,200.
- Hardwood floors typically cost $4-$20 per square foot. Domestic species are on the lower end of the spectrum, while more exotic species tend to push the $20 mark.
- Hardwood flooring installations cost $3-$5 per square foot. If an existing floor must be removed, this can add $1-$4 per square foot to the total cost, depending on the type of floor being removed.