Flooring is quite literally the foundation of our homes. The surfaces we walk on, put furniture on, and build our lives on should be very important when designing a house. One of the more popular finishes these days is wood flooring. There are two general choices: hardwood and laminate, which is essentially pressed wood. How do you know which one to pick?

Both options will look stunning and contemporary in your home if you buy quality brands. Choosing between hardwood and laminate is not a decision to take lightly. Lower quality trees or composed woods will not last as long and will be more expensive to maintain in the long run.

hardwood flooring

The advantages to hardwood flooring begin with luxury. It is 100% real wood and very thick. The more exotic the tree, the more interesting the pattern will be on your floor. There are multitudes of patterns, colors, and ways to lay each piece because no tree is the same. With the diversity of options comes a higher difficulty of installing. Hardwood floors should be installed by an experienced professional. This is not something you can DIY with directions from Pinterest. Hardwood expands in the summer and contracts in winter. Humidity levels that are either too high or too low can cause hardwood to warp and crack. Water spills should be cleaned up immediately to avoid damage.

A more economical alternative to hardwood flooring is engineered hardwood. Instead of 100% real wood, these panels have a cover of real wood on the top and then a less expensive material like plywood on the bottom. The maintenance and quality of the panels are the same as hardwood flooring because the surface is real, but the materials and installations are less expensive.

Laminate flooring

Laminate flooring is typically slightly less expensive than hardwood flooring, and DIYers will be happy to know they can install it easily on their own. Each piece snaps into the next one in tongue and groove planks. Laminate flooring is a synthetic material comprised of multiple different layers and then finished with a wood or natural print on top of each panel. Quality laminate brands will last quite a long time and look like real hardwood. They have UV protection finishes, so they won’t fade. Additionally, laminate floors are very durable; they don’t scratch as easily as hardwood, and many laminate flooring options can withstand water damage. Because of this, laminate flooring is the more pet-friendly of the two options.

Knowing the advantages to each type of flooring will best equip you for your decision. Understanding how to clean each option should also affect your choice. Before settling on a flooring option, talk to your contractor about the quality, costs and up-keep of any brand you pick.