Laminate vs. Timber Flooring – Pros and Cons
Whether you’re building or renovating in Melbourne, your choice of flooring will have a major affect on the aesthetics and budget of your project. From carpeting to parquetry, laminates to timber, there is a huge range of flooring options to choose from.
To help you narrow down your choices, we’re going to focus on two options: timber flooring and laminate flooring. We’ll run your through the differences between the two and the pros and cons of each option.
What is laminate flooring?
Laminate flooring is an engineered timber product designed to look like wooden flooring. It’s a cheap, hard-wearing alternative to hardwood or solid timber flooring. It is a multi-layer synthetic flooring product that is made of a photographic applique layer under a clear protective layer. The core is composed of a moisture-resistant HDF boad and backing layer.
Pros of laminate flooring
There are many advantages of using this type of flooring. Its ease of installation and low maintenance requirements gives it an edge over traditional hardwood flooring. Laminate flooring doesn’t require sanding or sealing to maintain the finish. And because it’s stain resistant, simple washing is sufficient to remove stains.
Laminates are also tough and durable, resistant to moisture and scratching and great for high-traffic areas.
Laminates are a cheap flooring option, especially when compared with hardwood flooring. It’s manufactured from cheap materials and is also much cheaper to install than timber flooring. It’s low maintenance requirements also helps to reduce ongoing maintenance costs.
Cons of laminate flooring
The main downside is the aesthetics. Laminate flooring cannot replicate the look and feel of real timber. No matter how good the laminates, they will always look artificial. With cheaper laminates, you also run the risk of pattern repetition as some products will only have a few pattern variations.
This type of flooring can also be difficult to repair, since repairs require purchasing replacement boards. Depending on the age and wear and tear of the flooring, it may be difficult to get the new sections of floor to match the old. And since laminate flooring cannot be sanded back and re-stained like timber flooring, there may be no way to blend the repairs into the old floor. Read our blog post on Parquetry and Laminate Flooring: Understanding the Differences
What about hardwood flooring?
Hardwood flooring is available in a range of different timbers from cheaper pine boards through to expensive Australian and imported hardwoods. Hardwood floors are highly prized for a variety of reasons.
When it comes to flooring, nothing compares with natural beauty and feel of timber. The rich grains and patterning can’t be replicated by any synthetic products. There’s also a wide range of timber types to choose from each with their own properties, colours and grain patterns.
Despite the maintenance requirements, timber flooring is extremely durable and with proper care can be expected to last a lifetime. Quality hardwood flooring can also increase the value of your property and make it more attractive to prospective buyers.
There are some downsides to timber flooring. Firstly, it’s susceptible to damage from moisture, insects and general wear and tear. Timber also requires ongoing maintenance over the lifetime of the surface. This includes sanding and staining to rejuvenate the surface. Learn more about timber floor sanding.
And finally, timber flooring is much more expensive than laminate flooring.
Which to choose?
When it comes down to choosing between laminate and timber flooring, your choice essentially comes down to a question of aesthetics and budget. If you’re less concerned about the look and you want a cheap and durable surface, then laminate is the way to go.However, it you want to invest in quality flooring that will last a lifetime, then timber flooring is for you.