If you’re planning to replace the flooring in your home, you might have already heard wonderful things about hardwood. However, you’ve probably also heard about the hardwood wannabe: laminate.

So, how to know which is better and which compensates more budget-wise? Hope this pros and cons guide will help you in your remodeling project!

“Simplicity is natures first step, and the last of art.” - Philip James Bailey


Laminate can replicate hardwood.
Laminate can replicate hardwood. Image source: The Spruce

Laminate flooring is made from recycled materials (points for laminate already) and of several layers:

  • The stabilizing layer (a.k.a. The bottom layer)
  • The middle layer, topping the bottom layer with synthetic fiberboards
  • The photographic layer
  • The melamine resin layer

Each layer has its own purpose, each in order: to resist moisture, to give strength, to create the design, to give finish. Even though it’s a great material, you still need to consider a few details like it’s life-expectancy of 25 years max and the low cost that leads to a lower resale value.

Added to that, here are the pros and cons of laminate flooring:


Laminate has many colors to choose from
Laminate has many colors to choose from. Image source: Little Green Notebook
  • People are always working on making synthetic materials better-quality ones, including laminate flooring
  • The photographic layer can imitate other types of materials (stone, fabric, bamboo, etc.), so you have many options to choose from
  • It’s super easy to clean: it doesn’t trap dust and it’s water resistant
  • Easy to install
  • It comes prefinished (doesn’t need sanding, waxing, or refinishing)
  • Resistant to scratches, stains, dents, and moisture
  • Less likely to have mold problems
  • Great for pet-owners (let’s repeat: doesn’t scratch, easy to clean, and water resistant!)


Laminate doesn't last long and can't be repaired.
Laminate doesn’t last long and can’t be repaired. Image source: Coastal Shows
  • Some types of copied material may not look as good as the genuine ones
  • Even though the floor is water-resistant, if water (or juice/sodas/coffee) is left standing too long on the surface, you will have problems
  • Damaged floors can’t be sanded or refinished, the only solution is replacing it
  • After installation, they can emit VOCs due to the synthetic materials (much like carpets do)
  • Their life expectancy is 15 to 25 years (how long it lasts depends on the quality of the material)
  • For radiant heating systems, you need a laminate flooring specially made for this reason
  • Pet waste is easy to clean, but it needs to be done right away, otherwise it will bring an unfortunate smell


Hardwood is the best flooring type to boost resale value.
Hardwood is the best flooring type to boost resale value. Image source: Houzz

This is how hardwood floors are made:

  • They’re harvested from trees
  • Formed into planks
  • Sanded down

Cuts and sizes are variable and colors can range from a pale beige to a deep bronze. Despite not having that many varieties of options, people love hardwood flooring! Even more homeowners trying to sell their house since this type of material boosts like crazy the resale value!

Of course, that happens because hardwood has a higher purchasing and installation cost, but it’s also because it has a durability of generations! Even more than that, they have the bright side of being biodegradable and eco-friendly.


Hardwood is a great material for your living room.
Hardwood is a great material for your living room. Image source: Home Talk
  • The natural texture gives it a timeless look quality
  • You can have different looks according to custom staining, finishes, and wax coating options
  • They’re easy to clean (vacuuming, sweeping, and mopping with specific cleaners)
  • They can easily be refinished if scratched
  • Some options are available prefinished
  • It’s possible to DIY using tongue-and-groove planks (though recommend to leave it to the pros)
  • They’re long-lasting, having a minimum life expectancy of 20 years, but there are homes with over 100 years in history with floorings still conserved
  • There are moisture-tolerating species
  • For pet owners, it’s easy to clean and to refinish if scratching is an issue


Moisture can be hard to deal with.
Moisture can be hard to deal with. Image source: Home Bunch
  • Needs to be properly maintained to keep their beauty
  • Some types can be damaged with too much sun expose
  • Cleaning needs to be done with specific products
  • You will need to use furniture pads
  • Standing water is not okay at all
  • Can’t be installed below grade and doesn’t float over existing floors
  • You’ll need to stay out of the house for a day or two so the job can be completed (with sanding and finishing the floors)
  • Durability will depend on type of wood
  • The organic material can grow mold more easily when compared to other types of flooring (specially if exposure to moisture is regular and the hardwood is unfinished)
  • Refinishing can be a bit pricey
  • For pet-owners, the floors need to be finished and regularly maintained

General Outlook

Laminate flooring vs hardwood is a good fight.
Laminate flooring vs hardwood is a good fight. Image source: Design Mom

All of that being said, here’s a general look on what type is better for what:

  • Laminated flooring has simpler installation and care, it’s best for saving costs, for pet owners and for kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Hardwood flooring is better with repair and maintenance, for resale value, for radiant heating systems, for eco-friendly homeowners and is more durable.

Have you decided on which type of flooring to use yet? Get a free quote to have it installed!

More from homeyou:

Join the conversation