May 03, 2017 35

The Pros And Cons Of Hardwood VS Timber Laminate Flooring

Timber laminate flooring consists of several layers – at its core you will find high-density fibreboard that is bound together with melamine resin. A high-resolution photo of real wood is laid on top, followed by multiple layers of transparent melamine. These days, this flooring and hardwood timber flooring have become bitter rivals – the decision of whether to go with traditional hardwood or venture into the land of laminate isn’t so clear-cut anymore.

Laminate – Pros

• There is a wide range of widths and styles available, all of which mimic real timber. This is especially true in this day and age – the boards no longer resemble a bad plastic job.

• It is fairly affordable to purchase and install. Laminate costs around $90 per square metre installed, compared to hardwood which costs somewhere between $120 and $140 per square metre.

• It is designed to resist staining, scratching and household chemicals. It is also resistant to fading over time. You will find warranties of around 25 years are standard for quality products.

Laminate – Cons

• It cannot be sanded back or refinished – once the boards wear out, they will have to be replaced (although you can expect that they will last a few decades before this needs to occur).

• It has a lower resale value than hardwood or even engineered timber, although the resale value is better than that of carpet. Buyers prefer natural materials, so will preference these.

• It can lack the visual warmth of real timber. It might look real at first glance, but upon closer inspection the truth is revealed. Look for high quality laminates that closely mimic hardwoods.

Hardwood – Pros

• If you decide that you want a change or the boards have been a little scuffed up, you can simply sand them back and apply a wash, wax, stain or even paint them to refresh their look.

• The look and feel of hardwood is hard to beat. There is nothing quite like walking around on genuine timber floors – the sounds and feel cannot be replicated by any other material.

• It is fairly easy to clean. Generally, all you need to do is run the vacuum over the floors weekly. A more thorough clean can be performed using a damp mop (you should avoid soaking the floors).

Hardwood – Cons

• It isn’t water resistant. This means that the boards will expand when wet and contract when they dry out. Over time, you’ll find that warping and cracking are likely to occur.

• It is prone to scratching, denting and other forms of damage. Although the name suggests that the boards are hard, it’s important to remember that this is a natural material that is not solid.

• It can be a little inconvenient. Reputable suppliers will insist on leaving the boards onsite for a few weeks prior to installation to give them a chance to acclimatise. This will help prevent shrinkage and movement.

If you’re trying to determine what type of flooring will best meet your needs, we hope that the information provided above has enabled you to reach a decision. At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that both hardwood and timber laminate flooring have their fair share of pros and cons – it is your responsibility to weigh them up in regards to your home and specific needs. Do not hesitate to ask for assistance if you’re still having trouble deciding.