Laminate flooring, or a real hardwood floor?

If you are redecorating, moving house, or just want a change, you may have been stuck on this question. These days, the quality of laminate flooring is so high that it can really be a match for the real deal!

So, with that in mind, what are the real differences between a laminate floor and a hardwood floor?

We’re here to tell you about its durability, cleaning, maintenance, costs and all you need to know to help you make the right decision!

RELATED LINK: Three reasons why laminate flooring rules


Laminate flooring

Because  laminate wood flooring is made from pressed wood, it is very durable and resistant to scratches, moisture and wear and tear. Laminate flooring is also easier to clean on a routine basis. Because laminate flooring is literally ‘Laminated’ wood, you could think of it as having an extra protective layer. This layer is protective and also smooth and easy to clean after unexpected spillages. Nowadays laminate flooring can be used for more than 15 years even in a heavy commercial usage.

Hardwood floor

Damaged laminate flooringUltimately, because a hardwood floor is unprocessed, it is softer than laminated boards. This makes it susceptible to dents and markings. A hardwood floors has only a layer of wax for protection. Keeping this kind of flooring in good condition is harder than its competitor counterpart.

Which leads us to

Cleaning and maintenance

Laminate floor flooring

Cleaning a laminated floor is no different than hoovering a carpet, as far as effort goes. You just need to either sweep or hoover as you feel necessary, and cleanliness is restored! You should mop regularly also, and voilà, a fresh, clean, gleaming surface. Keeping a laminate floor looking fresh is easy.

Laminate flooring - SweepingOther than that, no maintenance is required – a lamintate floor is very resistant to fading and UV rays. A quality laminate floor will keep its style and design for years and years, with no need to revarnish or refinish!

Hardwood floor

Because a hardwood floor has a layer of wax on top of it, it is susceptible to picking up dirt and holding on to it. You can mop this, but it is likely that you will get a less than satisfying result – it is likely that the dirt will become embedded in the wax.

A hardwood floor may have a reputation for being incomparable, but you sure do have to work for it!

To maintain a fresh look requires regular refinishing – ie regular sanding, re-waxing, buffering, and regular re-varnishing in heavily trafficked areas.

This is of course, additional cost to an already expensive floor.

That being said, a real wood floor has its advantages in terms of longevity. You could get a major stain or scratch on your floor, and instead of refitting planks, you could just sand over and reveal fresh untouched wood!

This is also apparent if you are redecorating; want a new shade of floor? Just sand and re-stain!

Although a real hardwood floor could last a lifetime, it is worth considering that the right laminate floor could also last a lifetime, and at a fraction of the price and maintenance!

If you do decide to change your laminate floor, it is cheap to buy, and easy to install!


Laminate flooring

laminate flooring really is the definition of cheap and cheerful. In the past, it has been a case of ‘you get what you pay for’, and what you got was an imitation of real wood that never came close to matching the real thing. However, nowadays laminate flooring quality has improved so much that you really can get more than you bargained for! There are so many styles and wood grains available that you are sure to find just what you are looking for, with a sought after price tag to match!

Hardwood floor

The offset cost of a real hardwood floor is exponential compared to a laminate. This is because you are not paying for a thin layer of tree to be pressed against a board of MDF and finished with a protective layer; you are paying for a whole plank of real tree; and trees are important!

Think about how many planks it would take to fill your living room, and you can see how the cost can easily sky rocket!

Add to this the cost for maintenance – Waxing, buffering, sanding and varnishing – You can hire the tools necessary and do the job yourself, or pay for a professional to do the job.

Laminate flooring - Wood feelA popular argument for a real wood floor is that it will add value to your home – but lets think about that for a minute – yes, the money you paid for your real wood floor will come back to you if you sell. But it is still the money you paid – it is not free money!


It seems that whilst hardwood flooring may have been the original and undisputed choice in the past, we are now living in times when the quality of laminate flooring means that everyone can enjoy the look and feel of a natural wood floor, without the cost to ourselves, our time, or the environment!