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Is Hardwood Really Better Than Laminate?
When it comes to choosing new flooring, one of the biggest decisions is whether to go for hardwood or laminate. Both have their merits, but many homeowners consider hardwood flooring the gold standard in elegance and value. Are they really better than laminate though? As a leading timber supplier specialising in quality hardwood flooring, we believe the answer is a resounding yes.
The Beauty of Real Wood
Unlike laminate flooring which aims to imitate the look of real wood, hardwood showcases the gorgeous natural grains, textures, and colours of timber. Crafted from solid planks or blocks of oak, ash, maple and other timeless species, hardwood offers a depth and dimension of beauty simply unattainable with printed laminate surfaces. There's something coveted about walking on authentic natural wood sourced sustainably from our own forests.
Of course, laminate manufacturers have become experts at emulating wood visuals. But side by side, discerning eyes can spot the difference. Hardwood also ages gracefully, taking on a coveted patina over decades of love and wear. Properly maintained, it may even look better with vintage character than the day it was installed.
Superior Durability & Value
When evaluating flooring return on investment, hardwood is practically peerless. Like a fine wine, it often increases property worth and appeal for potential home buyers. And while quality hardwood does carry a higher initial price tag than laminate, it pays dividends over time with practically unparalleled longevity and durability.
Properly cared for, solid hardwood can easily last 100+ years. By contrast, most laminate carries warranties of 20 years or less. The protective top layers wear over time, eventually beginning to look cheap as the manufactured composite wood beneath shows through. Moisture damage is also a far graver threat for laminate than true water-resistant wood.
Of course minor scratches and dents can afflict any flooring with everyday wear. But hardwood can be easily sanded and refinished multiple times, returning to like-new condition again and again. Add this to potential home value increases, and hardwood is arguably one of the soundest flooring investments around.
Easier Maintenance & Cleaning
Laminate does enjoy some maintenance advantages. Requiring no waxing or refinishing, it simply needs occasional sweeping, dusting and damp mopping. Meanwhile hardwood requires more routine care like keeping grit off floors to avoid scratching, wood-appropriate cleaning products, and refinishing treatments every 5-10 years on average.
However, laminate’s protective top layer also makes thorough cleaning impossible. If stains manage to penetrate the surface, the options involve replacing planks or ugly makeshift patches at best. In contrast, hardwood’s vulnerable naked surface means blemishes rarely penetrate beyond sandable depths. Proper maintenance pays dividends, but mess-ups are hardly ever catastrophic like they can be for laminate.
Unmatched Environmental Credentials
For the eco-conscious, hardwood also comes out on top. Sourced from abundantly renewable forests across the UK, quality timber is the very definition of sustainable when forests are properly managed. And with responsible harvesting and production methods, its natural carbon-trapping properties make wood one of the greenest mainstream construction materials around.
Laminate, on the other hand, frequently depends on imported wood by-products for its composite materials. Some lack transparency regarding responsible sourcing as well. And when laminates have outlived their usefulness after that relatively brief 20 years at most, off to landfill they go with little prospects of recyclability or biodegrading. And so, for both sourcing and afterlife accountability, hardwood is the standout green choice.
Choosing between hardwood and laminate ultimately comes down to lifestyle factors and personal taste. But for enduring beauty, lifetime value, reliability and eco-friendliness, hardwood remains the superior option that discerning homeowners desire. Paired with timber’s coveted natural charm that matures gracefully over generations, it’s easy to see why hardwood retains its rightful place as a premium flooring darling.
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