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The Cost Differences Between Hardwood and Laminate Floors

When you want the look of
natural hardwood flooring in
your home, you can choose
between genuine hardwood and remarkably realistic-looking wood laminate. Both hardwood and laminate make long-lasting and beautiful floors, with laminate looking exactly like the wood species from which it takes inspiration. Both hold up well in active households, including those with
kids and pets. Both are easy to clean
with just regular sweeping and occasional damp mopping.

Likewise, there are a few differences. Laminate can go anywhere in the house while hardwood is not recommended for frequently damp areas like bathrooms and basements. In cost considerations, hardwood boards do cost more than laminate, yet that distinction deserves a closer look.

Here are the facts concerning the cost of hardwood vs. laminate that may make your buying decision a little easier.

Is hardwood more expensive than laminate?

This question can be answered by looking at three factors: cost, floor life and resale value.

Armstrong wood laminate flooring
Realistic-looking laminate floor
Cost
The cost of quality, domestic hardwood ranges from *$8.00 – $12.00 per sq. ft., uninstalled, for pre-finished, standard width. Installation costs depend on local rates of hardwood flooring installers. For rough estimating, however, figure the cost to be slightly less than the cost of the boards.

Laminate flooring costs range from *$1.00 – $7.00 per sq. ft., uninstalled, with the higher cost reflecting better quality, more realistic-looking designs. If an underlayment is needed, add $1.00 to $2.00 per sq. ft. The cost to install laminate depends on local area labor rates, but for a ballpark figure, installers suggest calculating the cost to be slightly less than the cost of the actual laminate flooring.

*These estimates are generalizations for the sake of comparison and don’t include associated costs such as the removal of an existing floor, product delivery, trims and moldings. Additionally, many homeowners choose to install DIY-friendly laminate themselves, saving the expense of hiring an installer.

Floor life
How long a floor will last depends on wear, tear and maintenance. Under ideal conditions, laminate floors typically last 20 – 30 years while hardwood floors can easily last a lifetime or longer. The significant difference in life cycles is explained by the fact that laminate floors cannot be refinished when they get damaged or show signs of wear. Hardwood floors, on the other hand, can be rejuvenated with sanding and refinishing, not only once but 10 – 12 times during the floor’s life, making it a bargain on a cost-per-year-basis! But what if you don’t plan on keeping your house for very long?

Resale value
A hardwood floor is considered an investment because it often dictates higher resale value when it comes time to sell your home. Prospective buyers will recognize the level of quality you chose. Laminate, on the other hand, may look like genuine hardwood, but it doesn’t have the same market appeal.

So, what’s the best choice when comparing the cost of hardwood vs. laminate? After considering the total cost, floor life and resale value factors, hardwood flooring is an excellent value.

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