September 1, 2022

The Great Debate: Hardwood Flooring vs. Laminate

Like the battle Miller Lite drinkers continuously fight–with some destined to revere its great taste while others extoll its less-filling nature–the debate between hardwood flooring and laminate flooring remains a hot topic among homeowners and interior designers alike.

For those firmly on Team Hardwood Flooring, it’s all about the durability and looks; for laminate flooring true believers, ease of installment and relative inexpensiveness are the name of the game. Who is right and who is wrong? Let’s analyze the facts!


There’s no way to sugarcoat it: hardwood flooring is expensive–more expensive than laminate flooring options in terms of material cost, and more expensive in terms of labor. This is mostly because hardwood flooring is cut into three-quarter-inch planks from larger pieces of wood (similar to how lumber is made, but with far more intricacy), while laminate flooring is constructed with multiple layers surrounding a fiber board core. Even though this process includes a final chemical treatment, laminate flooring is still less costly than hardwood flooring.

Winner: Laminate flooring


Because it’s a completely constructed unit, laminate flooring tends to fit together with just a “click,” much the same way a children’s construction set would snap together. Though the planks of hardwood flooring have a tongue and groove along their sides, making for some relative ease in installation, they are nowhere near as easy compared to laminate flooring. But…

…That click that laminate flooring boasts also means there’s no room for the flooring pieces to breathe when the natural expansion and contraction of time occurs. Conversely, hardwood flooring can breathe, and adapt to the stresses floors face due to everyday use.

Is laminate flooring easier to install? Yes, but that slightly more complex installation process required of hardwood flooring is worth it.

Winner: Hardwood flooring


Remember when we admitted that hardwood flooring is more expensive? This is where that extra money is going.

When it comes to resilience, and the ability to withstand years of punishment via countless feet, paws, hooves and whatever else you have running through your house, hardwood flooring can’t be beat.

Sure, dents and wear and tear can happen. But if they do, hardwood flooring can be sanded and buffed until they’re good as new; when a section of laminate flooring is damaged, it generally must be replaced.

Winner: Hardwood flooring

Bonus Round: Appearance

At this point, hardwood flooring is clearly ahead of points, so consider this the knockout blow.

When it comes to appearance, the finish of hardwood flooring can’t be beat. After all, when it’s installed and stained–or even left unstained–hardwood flooring looks like what the ideal floor is supposed to look like. Laminate flooring, on the other hand, is manufactured to look like hardwood flooring. Guess who wins this round of the debate?

Winner: Hardwood flooring

Final tally: hardwood flooring by knockout in four rounds.

If this debate has convinced you, and you need hardwood floor installation in Austin, check out Kelly Hardwood Flooring!