Laminate Flooring Pros and Cons

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Thinking about buying laminate floors? We compiled a list of some of the major considerations
you should take into account before making a decision, by creating a laminate floor comparison chart
that reviews other popular laminate flooring alternatives. In addition, the following comparison chart would allow you as well to better understand laminate flooring pros and cons.

However, since the various characteristics of different flooring options cannot be conveyed by words
or images alone, we have also partnered with leading online flooring wholesalers, and invite you to
choose up to 5 Free Flooring Samples of any kind, including laminate flooring samples.
All samples ship free, and would arrive within 1-2 business days straight to your door.

Obtaining free samples would allow you to really hold down the materials and examine their quality and other attributes (e.g., durability, scratch and dent resistance, color matching, feeling of the texture, etc.)
straight from the comfort of your own home. To choose and receive your free samples, simply scroll down to the bottom of the following comparison chart and click on the button in the relevant column.

In addition, you can click here to get a free installation cost estimate for your project.

Laminate Flooring Pros and Cons vs. Vinyl vs. Real Hardwood

Laminate Flooring vs. Vinyl Plank Flooring vs. Real Hardwood Flooring - Comparison:

  Laminate Flooring Luxury Vinyl Flooring
(Planks & Tiles)
Solid Hardwood Flooring
Ease of DIY Installation Easy installation as laminate flooring can be installed floating; previous experience in not necessarily required. Easy installation, similar to laminate flooring, can be installed floating. A certain expertise level is required, since real hardwood flooring should be nailed down or glued. Therefore it could be also more difficult to replace an individual plank in case of damage.
Durability Considered more durable than real wood floors, since laminate floors are mostly made from high enduring synthetic materials. Each Laminate flooring resistance to wear is indexed by the AC Rating, which spans between 1-5. The higher the AC level, the higher the durability. Modern luxury vinyl planks and tiles are highly durable, more than laminate and hardwood floors. Each vinyl tile series has a certain wear layer, the thicker it is, the higher the durability. Proper care of hardwood floors would often dictate their longevity; In general, each wood specie has a different hardness level which reflects its durability. The hardness among different species is indexed by the Janka rating, the higher the rating, the higher the durability (e.g, Brazilian teak, with a 3540 score, is harder than Maple with a 1450 score).
Scratch and dent resistance Better resistance compared to real hardwood; Influenced as well by the specific AC hardness rating; In contrary to hardwood, laminate floors cannot be sanded. Extremely resistant to scratches, denting, and staining. Hardwood floors can always get scratched, no matter how hard the wood is, however, they can be sanded multiple times.
What is it made of Several layers of material fused together; typically consists of a highly dense fiberboard layer, topped by a layer resistant to moisture, laminated with an high-resolution image of the wood specie that it mimics, and eventually finished with a protective coating. Vinyl, fiberglass, felt and dyes, laminated with an high-resolution image of the material it mimics (wood or stone), finished with a protective coating. A real piece of wood carved into the form of plank with tongue and groove edges. With regard to the protective coating, the floors can arrive either unfinished or prefinished.
Thickness 6mm – 15mm 2mm – 10mm; the thicker it is, the more cushioned it would be, which should be considered especially when installed right over concrete. Usually 18mm (= 3/4″)
Areas commonly used Virtually any room, at any level of the house, except wet locations such as bathrooms and laundry rooms, since laminate floors are not waterproof. Much more versatile than laminate floors, as it can be used as well in bathrooms (along with basements and kitchens), at any level of the house, since vinyl is highly resistant to water. Less versatile than laminate and vinyl, as real solid wood should not be used in locations prone to moisture, such as bathrooms and basements.
Cost (material prices) $0.50 - $2.00 /sq ft; Click-lock floating installation reduces labor costs significantly. $1.00 - $5.00 /sq ft; Can be installed as well with the click-lock method. $2.00 - $8.00 /sq ft
Total Cost (with Installaion) Click for Cost Estimate Click for Cost Estimate Click for Cost Estimate Click for Cost Estimate
Dimensions Length: typically ranges 47″-49″; Width: 5″-7″ (6.5″ and above is considered wide plank laminate flooring). Planks: Length: typically ranges 37″-47″; Width: 6″-8″.
Tiles: typically 12″*24″, 18″*18″.
Length: typically ranges 12″-84″; Width: 2.25″-6″.
Climatic Suitability It is advised that laminate flooring should be installed in climate-controlled areas. Suitable for any climate (Indoors). More restrictive; real hardwood suits areas with temperatures of about 60-70 Fahrenheit, and does not suit below grade locations (such as basements).
Care and Maintenance Relatively simple: keep the floors clean, place protective pads under heavy furniture. Very low-maintenance, easy to clean. Keep the floors clean (as dirt and debris make the floor more vulnerable to scratches). minimize impacts with heavy and sharp objects to prevent denting. To preserve the floors from long term wear, it is recommended to refinish them about every 5 years.
Warmth and Feel Laminate floors may feel and sound somewhat artificial when compared to real wood floors; Could also feel somewhat hard underfoot. Luxury vinyl should feel somewhat softer and warmer underfoot compared to laminate floors and hardwood floors. several vinyl planks are manufactured with attached cork underpad, that provides even an better cushion and noise insulation. Real wood feels rich underfoot and very sturdy; however, it can get quite cold at winter time, and contrary to laminate floors, radiant heating should not be installed beneath real wood.
Ease of Cleaning Spills need to be wiped up immediately; excessive water and soap based detergents should be avoided; use acetone to remove tough stains. Less restrictive than laminate flooring; In general, a damp mop or a swiffer should be used; for tough stains use neutral-pH cleaners.Avoid excessive water; keep out dust and debris to prevent scratching to the surface.
Environment friendly Eco-friendly in that almost no wood is utilized in its manufacturing process; however, the waste of laminate floors is less recyclable than real hardwood. The waste of vinyl is difficult to recycle, though it can be recycled into new vinyl. Can be considered less energy-consumptive in its transportation and manufacture compared to several other flooring materials. Solid wood flooring necessitates cutting down trees; however, since wood is an organic material, it is more recyclable than laminate or vinyl flooring; also, in its manufacturing process artificial chemicals are barely used.
Colors and pattern variety All traditional wood patterns, including hand scraped, and a wide color variety (from white and grey shades to dark black) . All traditional wood patterns (vinyl tiles are also offered in various stone patterns). All traditional wood patterns.
Installation surface restrictions Can be installed over most existing hard flat surfaces (such as tile, wood, plywood, vinyl and linoleum, but not over carpet), If installed right over concrete, an underlayment should be used. Similar to laminate flooring, can be installed over various existing subfloors, always check in advance the manufacturer instructions. Thin hardwood planks should be installed over a moisture barrier; Thicker ones may generally be installed right over concrete.
Pattern repetition The digitally printed pattern of laminate floors would usually repeat itself about every 10 planks. May repeat about every 8 planks (laying out the planks in advance before installing them is recommended). Since the product is all natural, each plank would have a unique pattern; rustic grade wood would encompass more mineral streaks and knots.
Can it be installed over radiant heat Generally yes. Generally yes. Not advisable; Exposing solid hardwood floors to changing moisture levels would cause make them contract.
Fading due to UV exposure No. No. Yes.
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Please note: The above data is provided for general information purposes only. Even though the best efforts were made to ensure its accuracy, such general information can never take into account differences between different products from different manufacturers, nor your unique personal circumstances and needs. It is therefore always recommended to seek advice from a qualified professional and carefully follow the relevant manufacturer's instructions.
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