Which Flooring Is Better for Me: Laminate or Hardwood?


So, you’ve found yourself considering the pros and cons of two of the most popular flooring remodel materials. When choosing between hardwood and laminate, it’s good to take into account all their specific properties and how they align with your needs. Many people have their hearts set on hardwood because of its classic charm and real-estate value, and with the hardwood flooring market expected to reach $64.04 billion by 2027, it’s clear that this popularity continues to grow. However, it does come with certain challenges.

Hardwood floors need more thorough maintenance, as they’re more prone to mold and splinters. And we’re not just talking about cleaning but also recoating. Laminate, on the other hand, is cheaper and more resistant to moisture but less sophisticated. Are you ready to decide? Let’s delve into today’s article and go over the characteristics of these two flooring options so you can finally make the right call for your kitchen remodel.
Close-up of rich, dark-brown hardwood flooring remodel

Characteristics of Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring is usually produced from mature maple, oak, walnut, or ebony trees. After harvesting, the solid wood is milled into boards with a thickness of 3/4 inches and sanded. Then, it’s stained and finished. Many times, the wood can be finished after installation, though this process is longer and more expensive.

You can choose a type of finishing for hardwood flooring, such as urethane or epoxy. Both of these can affect its features and make it water-resilient. It can be re-sanded and refinished around four times over the years to extend its lifespan and refresh its appearance.

Characteristics of Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is a composite made of resilient synthetic fiberboards and wood byproducts blended together through lamination. Its top layer is photographic and mimics the appearance of wood from afar. This layer is further coated with clear resin to ensure its endurance and protect it from scratching and staining.
Laminate boards are a little thinner than hardwood. They boast a flooring installation advantage, as they easily snap together with no need for nailing. So, if you’re a DIY enthusiast, you’re likely to find this feature of laminate flooring especially appealing.
Close-up of a gray laminate flooring remodel

Hardwood vs. Laminate

Having explained what these two flooring remodel options are, we can further the discussion by analyzing some of their specific properties. Here are some key aspects to consider:


Laminate and hardwood might look similar at first glance. However, there’s one considerable difference – hardwood has the in-demand organic look and warm structure. Each hardwood floor is distinctive. Each boasts elaborate grain patterns, which guarantee one-of-a-kind aesthetics in your home. On the downside, hardwood boards can be vulnerable to stains and discoloration if exposed to sunlight over an extended period. However, what the nature of wood lacks in protection, can be compensated by waterproof hardwood finishings.
Laminate can take up different styles, ones that go beyond the appearance of hardwood, such as tile or stone patterns. Still, their synthetic looks might fail to capture the prestige and natural beauty of organic wood. Newer novelty laminate has more random wood patterns and a more detailed texture, which is a significant upgrade compared to older versions that sloppily repeat their patterns. But no matter how much they improve, even the most affordable hardwood is pricier than laminate flooring, emphasizing the value of hardwood flooring.


When it comes to durability, both kitchen remodel options come with a yearlong lifespan and are resistant to vast foot traffic. However, they do have certain differences. Hardwood is less resilient to water or heat damage, scratches, and warping, while laminate is expected to last a shorter period (15-25 years). UV rays and heavy objects can harm it even further. If a laminate flooring gets damaged, you need to replace the damaged planks. If hardwood gets damaged, though, you can have it resanded and refinished by professionals.


The difference between hardwood and laminate in terms of cleaning is that hardwood cannot tolerate excessive water or harsh chemicals. Make sure you use pads under the legs of your furniture to protect hardwood from scratching, as well as use wood cleaner when mopping.
As for cleaning laminate, try light vacuuming with gentle parts of the vacuum cleaner to avoid scratching. It’s important to note that even though laminate is more tolerant to moisture, you still need to wipe up spills promptly in order to avoid moisture damage.


If you opt for DIY flooring installation, you’d want to go with laminate, as it’s easier to install than hardwood. Hardwood is more difficult to install, as it requires nailing but also attention to detail. This is why hiring a kitchen remodel contractor to install your flooring is a safe bet. They will carefully select the hardwood boards to create an aesthetically pleasing look.
Another reason to hire a contractor is that both materials can emit substances that are hazardous to your health during installation. Wood finishes can emit an odor that isn’t healthy when inhaled, while laminate can emit strong compounds and odors that can linger in your home long after the installation.


Although laminate is much cheaper than hardwood, you should take into account that the lifespan of hardwood is 30-100 years, while laminate is expected to last between 15-25 years. The cost of hardwood ranges between $6 – $12 per square foot, while laminate flooring ranges between $0.70 – $3 per square foot. Keep in mind that these prices are only for the materials and don’t include flooring installation costs. Naturally, the price will depend on the thickness and quality of the material. For example, tropical woods will always be pricier. Refinishing your hardwood will cost between $3 and $8 per square foot.

Resale Value

If kept in decent shape, hardwood flooring will turn out to be a great investment when it comes to resale. Many believe that it can bring back 2+ times its cost when you sell. Solid hardwood and tiles from porcelain or natural stone are the highest-ranked flooring remodel materials.

As for laminate flooring, you can expect an ROI of 50% to 65%, but only if you hire professionals. You can still gain an acceptable ROI if you install it yourself, but make sure you’re equipped with the right skills and techniques.

Need Some Flooring Help?

Whether you’re drawn to the classic beauty and value hardwood adds to your home or prefer the durability and cost-effectiveness of laminate, the decision ultimately hinges on what fits your lifestyle and home goals best. We believe that the right flooring lays the foundation for a kitchen that’s not just a cooking space but a gathering spot filled with warmth and memories. Let us help you navigate the journey of selecting and installing your ideal kitchen flooring, making the process smooth and enjoyable. With SemBro, you’re not just renovating your kitchen; you’re crafting the heart of your home for years of future stories and memories.