I know. Every real estate listing on that planet that reads “hardwood floors” is supposed to make your eyes sparkle. Expensive, gloriously pretty hardwood. I get it. But we chose laminate flooring vs hardwood for our home. Why? Because we had engineered hardwood in our previous house and in all honesty, we were not that impressed in the end.
You’re re-reading that sentence like how is that even possible? Laminate flooring vs hardwood and you choose laminate? You have or had engineered hardwood and you love it. Well, not all brands are created equally. The one we chose, dinged so easily that if I dropped a fork in the kitchen, it would leave a mark. And for how much it cost, it was very disappointing to say the least. Had we known then, what we know now, we would have never put it in.
Now. Real hardwood flooring, the type that you see in 100 year farmhouses, that’s the good stuff. I’ll happily take that. I am a sucker for old wood floors, especially pine or maple floors. I love, love, love natural, unpainted wood furniture and my butcher block counter tops.
But when you live in the suburbs and your house is made of plywood and faux brick exterior walls, you’re not unearthing that type of hardwood flooring under your 80’s carpeted stairs. In fact, many time investing in expensive things like hardwood, is not always the way to go, depending on where you live and what your market is like.
Here are the top 3 reasons we chose laminate flooring vs hardwood for our home
We have kids and a dog and sometimes I sit back and wonder who is harder on the floors. Their LEGO, themselves or the creature that actually has sharp teeth and claws. Hint: it’s not the dog.
Between the Nerf guns, cutlery dropping, chair legs missing felt pads and being moved around 24/7 to make forts and running in and out of the house in their boots remembering that one toy they forgot…again, our floors take a beating.
Ok and I lied. It’s a little bit of the dog. Have you ever seen the energy level an Australian Shepherd puppy has when they have zoomies at night?
May I present our then 10 month old Nola (who has her own Instagram) running up and down our hallway, on that laminate floors.
It’s even more fun when the kids get involved with throwing their toys and she goes to catch them.
Here are our old laminate floors. While shiny and not our aesthetic preference, they were beyond durable.
If you can afford an expensive, durable hardwood floor that doesn’t ding, scratch or can easily be refinished, you’re probably not Googling “laminate flooring vs hardwood flooring”. The average family however doesn’t have some endless income, and with hardwood floors, the good brands are NOT cheap. They can easily run $10,000 just for the main floor of an average suburban house. We’re in Canada. It is much more expensive here. Everything is.
Often times decisions for a household upgrade start with your bank account, whether you like it or not.
To put yourself into severe debt to have a pretty floor is at the end of the day, is really something only you can answer. For us it was not even remotely happening.
While I do believe that hardwood floors can be a very good investment and are gorgeous, so much of this is dependent on where you live, your real estate market, and even what is expected of homes in your neck of the woods.
Seriously though, if someone is going to come into your home and be like, “Oh. Is that laminate flooring? Hmmm. Interesting.” You need better friends. Our front room hasn’t had a light in it in three years, and the drop ceiling coiffure is still painted light green.
Did you notice the popcorn on it too? No? Because you’re looking at the shiny laminate floor on the ground. I am kidding. My point is, the only person that will notice anything, is you.
Don’t go into debt to impress yourself.
Goodbye shiny 80’s laminate.
Our McHouse was probably built in a week. With plywood and the minimal amount of effort it took to get the first set of homes up and done, in what is now a 25,000 person plus community. However, the big bad wolf could probably blow this house down.
In our case, while hardwood would be “nice to have”, it’s not a “need to have”.
This is not a Victorian style work of art that is deserving of a restoration that makes you think you walked back in time. If it was, this post would be very different and involve a lot of wood refinishing steps. Our house is the same as 50 other homes in this town. Half of them have IKEA kitchens.
Laminate flooring is so, so, so much less expensive than hardwood. Especially if you are comparing the nice modern wide planks. We just put in luxury vinyl waterproof planks on our master bathroom floor and love them! If you had told us we would have even considered using LVP in there, I would have laughed.
Now I am like, “Ok so the entire upper floor needs to have this flooring”. It is that good.
3) LAMINATE FLOORING HAS COME A LONG WAY
When most people think of laminate flooring, they think of that glossy, super thin, easy to chip, easy to bend, and easy to damage, super thin and uncomfortable to walk on, planks of 80’s. I have had those floors in previous homes and definitely in our first condo. They didn’t last one shower water leak.
PS – I refer to the 80’s a lot in decor because I feel like we’re finally hitting our stride when it comes to developing materials on everything from floors, to lighting and even day to day home products.
I’ve seen laminate flooring samples placed next to hardwood flooring and not only have I not been able to tell them apart, I have actually preferred the laminate ones. A decade ago, that would not have happened.
You can buy laminate flooring that is as thick as hardwood, is waterproof, dent proof, scrape proof and super easy to install.
Red River Hickory Laminate Floors are what we chose
Our floors that we choose after looking at hundreds of samples (I am not exaggerating) are the Red River Hickory laminate from Tosca Floors. They’re made in Germany, have a 30 year warranty and are 10 mm thick. They’re also fade resistant (something our engineered hardwood was not) and extremely durable. And they look pretty damn good.
Way better than this shiny skating rink that we got rid of. This was the type of laminate that had that faux photograph of wood, with what felt like a bad layer of liquid varnish over it. It was also installed very poorly by the previous owners of our house. But again, it was insanely durable.
Aesthetic preferences aside, it was a really good product. Like I have tried gouging that with a knife after tape and glue has gotten stuck to it and it did not budge. The brand FYI, was Armstrong Flooring.
This is the new laminate flooring.
Want to know why we got rid of the first laminate flooring?
Our Air Conditioning broke and the A/C installers accidentally drilled a hole through the floor while attempting to install the thermostat for it. They miscalculated and missed the inside of a wall it was supposed to go on and drilled right into the floor from the basement ceiling.
We did not have extra planks because the floor was quite old.
If you’ve read our nightmare bathroom renovation experience, you’ll know I can’t make this stuff up. Every time we make any changes to this house, it’s because of something like the dishwasher flooding the kitchen or bees flying inside our house after turning the wood windows into their own hive.
So yeah. Bad A/C install = new floors.
And the dog likes them too.
The next time you’re contemplating selling your soul for floors, remember – you could have floors and a perfectly good vacation to somewhere warm with margaritas on a beach. We chose laminate flooring vs hardwood and have no regrets.
Your kids Lego, your pup and your bank account will thank you.