Pros and Cons of Laminate Flooring: Is this Floor for You?

It’s easy to get caught up in the cons of laminate flooring without fully considering the pros. Laminate flooring is not solid wood. However, there are real pros of laminate floors that make it a good flooring option for busy households.

Laminate flooring may not be a solid wood floor, but laminate floors are solidly manufactured (and homeowners should always know what they are buying). These floors are made of multiple layers. The bottom layer is a stable layer of wood. The middle layers are printed to give the laminate flooring the look of wood or tile. The top layer, the wear layer, is a protective cover responsible for this floor’s durability.

Laminate Flooring Pros

Durability

Laminate floors are some of the most durable floors on the market. This floor can withstand heavy foot and paw traffic, even in high traffic spaces, and still look new for years. As with any flooring, laminate is susceptible to scratching. Scratches can be prevented by adding felt pads to furniture, regularly sweeping away debris, and being very careful about moving heavy items.

Easy-to-clean

Laminate flooring falls into the “easy-to-care” category. These floors only require a regular sweep or vacuum and occasional dry mopping. There is one note of caution: laminate floors can be prone to water damage. Because of this, laminate flooring should not be mopped with water and puddles should not be left when finished.

Affordability

When compared to other solid wood floors, laminate floors are typically far more affordable. Laminate floors are also easier to install than hardwood floors, usually making the overall cost of material and installation cheaper than wood floors.

Pet-friendly

For homeowners with four-legged friends, laminate flooring is a good option. Laminate floors can hold up to heavy foot and nail traffic—even when pets use the home as a race track.

Allergy-friendly

Because laminate floors are a hard floor, it is fairly to remove allergens that can trigger annoying allergy symptoms. Any dust, pet hair, or other allergens can be easily taken away with vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.

Easy DIY Installation

Most laminate floors are installed as a floating floor, which means without an adhesive. This makes installation of a laminate floor fairly easy (especially with these laminate floor installation instructions). While installation does require a specialized saw (and an expansion gap), the rest of the installation involves cutting and piecing the laminate floor boards together like a puzzle.

Look

Laminate flooring comes in a variety of styles and colors. There is typically a difference in the look of low- and high-quality floors. Most high-quality floors look like wood floors—so closely that it’s hard to tell.

Laminate Flooring Cons

Risk of Water Damage

In addition to looking like wood floors, laminate flooring shares a common risk: water damage from standing water. If water seeps into board seams, laminate floors can buckle or warp. Some laminate flooring products are water-resistant; however, most laminate floors are not suitable for rooms with high-moisture, such as bathrooms and laundry rooms. While laminate is not recommended, luxury vinyl plank, vinyl sheet flooring, tile, and carpet are still excellent options.

Not Suitable for Basements

Because of the chance for water damage, laminate floors are not recommended basement flooring option. The concrete slab in a basement is porous; because of moisture in the slab and air, laminate flooring is at risk for permanent damage.

No Added Home Value

Though it may resemble wood flooring, laminate flooring does not add to the overall value of a home. Also in contrast to wood floors, laminate floors cannot be sanded down and refinished many times. While laminate floors needed to be replaced instead of refinished, these floors are a long-lasting option that looks great for years to come.

Laminate vs. Luxury Vinyl Plank

Still stuck trying to choose between laminate and luxury vinyl plank? This quick breakdown should be able to help.

Laminate Luxury Vinyl Plank
Easy-to-Clean Yes-only requires a regular sweep or vacuum Yes-only requires a regular sweep or vacuum
Water-resistant No-not suitable for rooms with moisture, can be damaged by standing water Yes-can withstand moisture and puddles
Durability Yes Yes
DIY Installation Yes-fairly easy when installed as a floating floor Yes-fairly easy when installed as a floating floor
Affordability Yes Yes
Pet-friendly Yes Yes

Laminate vs. Wood Flooring

Deciding between laminate and wood flooring? This quick guide can break down the difference between laminate and wood flooring.

Laminate Wood
Easy-to-Clean Yes-only requires a regular sweep or vacuum Yes-only requires a regular sweep or vacuum
Water-resistant No-not suitable for rooms with moisture, can be damaged by standing water No-can be damaged by water in the air and spills
Durability Yes Yes-can be refinished when shows signs of wear
DIY Installation Yes-fairly easy when installed as a floating floor Maybe-engineered hardwood floors are fairly easy to install as a floating floor
Affordability Yes No-typically more expensive than laminate
Pet-friendly Yes Maybe-softer wood floors can be susceptible to scratching from pet claws and nails

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