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Hardwood or Laminate?

Today the Laminate Industry has come a long way in making products that are more appealing then in the Days when Pergo first came to the United States in the early 1990’s. There are many options in thickness, style, sound, color, etc. So the dilemma I am constantly hearing is: “Which floor should I choose? Laminate or Hardwood?”

Today’s Laminate have a much more real look, feel and sound.

Armstrong: Sapele Long Plank - Wrought Iron 12.30 mm Laminate Wood Look

Sapele Long Plank – Wrought Iron
12.30 mm Laminate Wood Look

Laminate has it’s place and I will usually show it if the budget dictates, and that isn’t always true the nicer looking laminates in the market are priced similar to hardwood. Another reason you might choose laminate is if you wanted a more “Green” Product. Laminate in most cases can be more environmentally friendly.

Check out these environmental facts about Laminate:

Laminate flooring is inherently eco-friendly but not all products make the cut. The NALFA certification seal is proof that a laminate floor is sustainable and is built with these qualities:

  • It’s made with natural resources like wood chip fiberboard
  • It’s recyclable
  • It’s free of air-damaging chemicals
  • It complies with formaldehyde emissions regulations for laminate flooring core board set forth by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) sections 93120-93120.12, title 17, of the California Code of Regulations
  • It is comprised of recycled content that may contribute points to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards for homes and businesses
  • It requires no special glues or adhesives during installation (eliminating VOCs) and no special cleaners for proper cleaning and maintenance (improving air quality)

Wood flooring is the most abundantly renewable flooring material available. Sustainable forest management makes it possible to harvest wood without any serious impact on the environment, because trees are a renewable resource that can be replaced time and time again.

Check out these environmental facts about Wood Floors:

  • Average annual net growth for hardwoods is greater than average annual removals (Source: US Department of Agriculture Forest Service)
  • Indoor air quality is better with wood floors (Source: US Environmental Protection Agency)
  • Wood is a carbon neutral product that produces oxygen during its growth cycle and stores carbon during its service life (Source: University of Wisconsin Wood Products Program Solid Wood Flooring Life Cycle Analysis)
  • Wood floors use less water and energy to produce than other flooring options (Source: University of Wisconsin Wood Products Program Solid Wood Flooring Life Cycle Analysis)
  • At the end of its service life, wood flooring can be burned as fuel or recycled (Source: University of Wisconsin Wood Products Program Solid Wood Flooring Life Cycle Analysis)
  • Wood floors last hundreds of years, so won’t need to be replaced as often as other flooring options (Source: National Association of Home Builders)
  • While it takes most hardwood trees 40-60 years to mature, the inventory planted today won’t be needed for 100-plus years (Source: National Wood Flooring Association)

You can learn more about the environmental benefits of wood floors by downloading a copy of the University of Wisconsin Wood Products Program Solid Wood Flooring Life Cycle Analysis

Hardwood gives much better re-sale value to your home. In today’s tough real estate market, sellers are looking for any edge they can find to help sell their home fast. For many sellers, hardwood flooring can help. Across the country, 99% of real estate agents agree that homes with hardwood floors are easier to sell. And, 90% agree that they sell for more money. In many cases a homeowner can double their return on investment by installing hardwood floors. You can’t get a much better bang for your buck than that. With today’s finishes the average lifespan of a hardwood floor is 30 years, so whether you are selling or plan to stay a while, hardwood is always the better option.

Armstrong: Acacia - Natural 4.72 in. Engineered Hardwood Plank

Acacia – Natural
4.72 in. Engineered Hardwood Plank

So, what do we need to look at? Durability, dent resistance, wear layer, moisture resistance, they are all traits that might make us choose one over the other.


Laminate Flooring has four layers: a wear layer, a design layer, an inner core layer and a backing layer.

Wear layer – clear top layer that protects the floor from stains and fading
Design layer – a photographic image of wood, stone, brick or ceramic
Inner core – plastic resin that keeps the laminate stable and flat
Backing – creates a moisture barrier that protects the floor from warping

This layered construction makes laminate floors remarkably durable.

Engineered Hardwood:

Engineered wood floors are real wood floors that are manufactured using three to nine layers of different wood veneers. The sub layers can be of the same species, or of different species. The grain of each layer runs in different directions, which makes it very stable. This means that the wood will expand and contract less than solid wood flooring during fluctuations in humidity and temperature. The top layer of engineered wood flooring consists of high-quality wood. While this type of flooring can be sanded and finished, it cannot be done as many times as solid wood flooring. Engineered wood flooring can be installed above, on or below grade.

One of the most critical elements about either of these products is installation. Many products say DIY, and that sounds wonderful. Neither are any easier to install and I have installed both. Laminate is sold as easier for a Do-It Yourselfer, but I disagree. I found that gluing down my Hardwood floor was much easier then laying my floating laminate floor. to each his own I guess. If you are not up to the challenge and need a reputable company to install your laminate, ProSource Wholesale Floorcoverings has many Members that could assist you with your project and let you buy direct through their account.

To find out more about Laminate Flooring visit: North American Laminate Flooring Association

To find out more about Hardwood Flooring visit: The National Wood Flooring Association

We have 7 Locations to serve you better:

Allen, Texas Phone – 972-521-5115

Austin, Texas Phone – 512-836-7888

North Dallas, Texas Phone – 972-250-4040

Dallas Market Center, Texas Phone – 214-742-3300

Fort Worth, Texas  Phone – 817-831-8181

Little Rock, Arkansas Phone –  501-758-0801

San Antonio, Texas Phone – 210-829-8290

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Filed under Green Products, Hardwood, Laminate, Uncategorized