Laminate or Hardwood Flooring?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Moe Maishlish, Apr 2, 2004.

  1. Moe Maishlish

    Moe Maishlish Supporting Actor

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    Hey all,

    So I just recently purchased my first house, and I'm moving in on April 21st. Among the various renovations that I plan on doing (Roof repair, Painting, Crown-Moulding, Kitchen remod, etc.) I intend to rip out the god-awful carpeting and install a flooring system.

    I'm kind of on the fence as to which kind of flooring system I want to install though. I've checked into what's available, and I'm torn between installing a Laminate, or Hardwood. I went to Home Depot and talked with their "Flooring Guy", and he basically told me that he prefers laminate.

    For those who are unaware of the difference, Laminate is not really hardwood - it's just a PICTURE of hardwood on long strips of plastic or some other durable surface. The laminate look very realistic (and can be of stone, marble, etc), is easy to install (tongue & groove system), and is quite durable as it will not scratch, separate, or peel. However, I was told that laminate doesn't increase the property-value as hardwood would.

    On the other hand, Hardwood is actually wood, but is much more difficult to install, scratches easily, and requires constant maintenance. Hardwood though is supposed to increase property value according to what I've been told.

    The price of the materials is about the same (between $5 and $6 per square foot). While I can purchase cheaper laminate depending on the pattern & manufacturer, hardwood pretty much stays around that price, and doesn't include the rental of all the tools, the glues, the sanding, etc.

    Does anyone have any experience with either of these? Anyone have them installed in their homes? I'd like to do a little bit of research before I invest thousands of dollars into either of these.

    Moe.
     
  2. Denward

    Denward Supporting Actor

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    I have hardwood in my 90 year old house. I installed laminate (wood look) in a finished basement room. I'm happy with both, but they serve different functions. The basement is all about function, not aesthetics. I don't think a semi-experienced homeowner would ever mistake laminate for the real thing. The killer about simulated marble, wood, stone or whatever is that once you do a large area, the repeating identical pieces kind of jump out at me. You don't have the randomness of the real McCoy.

    If you're doing your main living space, go with real stuff. It will look much better. For more casual areas, you can step down in authenticity.
     
  3. LDfan

    LDfan Supporting Actor

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    I just had Bruce hardwood put down in my house a couple months ago. Very very nice. Yes it does get a little nicked up but so far it requires very little work. Guess it depends on whether you have a lot of activity in your house such as kids and/or pets. I have lots of pets and so far they floors are holding up nicely. Even with some pet accidents there have been no stains or damage to the wood thanks to the multi-layered poly coats on the wood.
    I'm not a big fan of laminate style floors but they do have their advantages though.

    Good Luck,
    Jeff
     
  4. Craig F

    Craig F Second Unit

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    We went with laminate. High durability was crucial. Turned out to be a better choice because the floors were not very level. The installer said hardwood would never have worked. Laminate has a padding underneath that makes it more forgiving of uneven floors.
     
  5. Tim K

    Tim K Second Unit

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    It really depends on the rooms and usage. If it is going in a main room of your house, I'd go with hardwood. If you are redoing a game room or something like that I'd use laminate. The subfloor will also affect your choice. If you don't have a level subfloor you'll have trouble with hardwood.

    I recently put down a Bruce hardwood floor in my mother's livingroom. It turned out beautifully if I do say so myself. It was hard work, but I enjoyed the experience. As far as durability/maintenance goes....you do have to be more careful with hardwood as well as pay more attention when cleaning, but it is much nicer looking and adds value to your home. If you are concerned with scratches and such, you can put a large area rug over the hardwood and it will look very nice with the exposed wood around the outside.
     
  6. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    My house has Bruce cherry hardwood and it's stunning.
     
  7. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    I also have Bruce hardwood flooring ("gunstock" color) throughout my house, including the kitchen. Hardwood is the way-to-go.

    It looks great, and it is something that will be a selling point if that becomes an issue down the road. As far as durability, yes, hardwood gets nicks, dents and scratches, but that's also part of the character of hardwood.

    The nice thing about Bruce flooring is that it is prefinished and easy to clean.

    Friends of ours that did their kitchen in laminate later regretted it. To my eye, it looks cheap.
     
  8. Marc_Sulinski

    Marc_Sulinski Supporting Actor

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    While the finish of the hardwood may not be as durable as laminate, the actual wood should last for a long time. If the finish gets to be too bad, you can get it refinished.
     
  9. Moe Maishlish

    Moe Maishlish Supporting Actor

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    Ok, so it's looking like the general concensus is leaning towards hardwood...

    How about Laminate flooring in the Kitchen, bathrooms, and foyer (high traffic/dirt/schmootz areas)? I'm not a big fan of carpet, although I'll probably leave the bedrooms carpeted. Is there another option?

    moe.
     
  10. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    Personally, I like hardwood or tiles in those areas. Hardwood in the kitchen looks terrific. Tiles are great for baths and foyers. Water is the enemy of wood, so wood in the bath isn't a terrific idea, but it's certainly fine the foyer.

    I really don't like laminate in any application.
     
  11. Lee L

    Lee L Supporting Actor

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    I have Bruce Gunstock color pre-finished flooring in my kitchen, foyer and dining rooms. I actually put it down myself and it is not too difficult IMO. (but then again I used to be a commercial construction superintendent and have worked in construction the last 15 years [​IMG] )You will get glue on yourself, I can promise you that.

    It is beautiful and everyone who sees it makes a comment about it.

    My experience with Laminate floors is that while they are durable, the are loud as heck. Since they are almost always "floating" on the foam sheet and only glued to each other, not the subfloor, there is a hollow sound that seems to amplify footsteps IMO.
     
  12. LDfan

    LDfan Supporting Actor

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    laminate isn't good for bathrooms due to the high humidity and water conditions.
    Water is like a cancer to laminate flooring. If any water gets underneath the flooring that's the end of it.

    Jeff
     
  13. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Hardwood is appropriate, and gorgeous, in all these areas.
     
  14. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    I have a couple of dogs that have some indoor potty problems. If water is like cancer to laminate then I should avoid that right?

    I've also heard that I should avoid hardwood too but I am curious.. The main area where I want it at has carpet that isn't holding up and my wife is thinking of a tile treatment but I think a big ass room with tile would be loud and not so good for resale...

    Any thoughts?
     
  15. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

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    Moe,

    We recently had almost our entire first floor replaced with red oak hardwood from carpet/tile (cheap tile). If it ever rains in your area and you have dogs, good choice on changing the carpet for wood/laminate. If you hunt around the phonebook in your area and talk to anyone you know in construction, I'm positive you can find someone who will install real hardwood floors for you around $5 a foot ($7.50 CAN?)

    We had ~900 sq foot done for ~$5000, worth every darn penny. The flooring guy was recommended by our friend inconstruction, construction friends always know "a guy" for everything. We took the family to the hot springs for 3 days, dropped the dogs off at a friend's house, came back and whammo - awesome new floors. Not only that, but the job was done perfectly and he used a 3-4-5 scheme of boards (3" board, then 4" board, 5" board, back to 3"...) that looks so much better than anything we could have done ourselves.

    I highly encourage you to look into it. These guys can get select wood for cheaper than you can get #1 or #2, so it ends up costing the same with labor as you doing it yourself. We are extremely happy with the job they did.
     
  16. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    Do NOT install laminate in your HT. We installed it in our basement because of an easier repair should a water disaster strike, but it is brutal on acoustics.

    We have wood upstairs and it's awesome.
     
  17. DavidAM

    DavidAM Second Unit

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    I recommend hardwood too. I have it in my house and love it. I hate laminate wood floors....I can easily tell the difference and hate the "clank clank" sound when you walk on it. Also, I am a residential property appraiser and I do give more credit to people with real wood floors. It amazes me some people who build a new $500K house with all the upgrades and then put down pergo floors....I guess money can't buy taste [​IMG]
     
  18. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    I second what David says - laminate floors make an AWFUL sound.

    My wife and I considered laminate, even findig a laminate that is waterproof for kicthen and bathroom (and, btw - doggie pee isn't so bad, it is prolonged and frequent exposure that is the prob)

    Our builder suggested a different type of hardwood - bamboo. It is water proof, looks great, a bit exotic, less expensive than laminate or hardwoor, and durable. We got it and LOVE it.

    About six months later our neighbors put in laminate. It looks ok, but when you walk across it you get 'clop - clop - clop' like a friggin horse. It is VERY noticeable. Bamboo/hardwood sounds natural.

    Our subfloors were not particularly level, but the wood went in just fine. No noticeable problems.

    I would STRONGLY recommend bamboo flooring to anyone considering a wood floor.
     
  19. Craig F

    Craig F Second Unit

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    My laminate floor doesn't make any noise.
     
  20. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    I didn't know Bamboo is cheaper than normal hardwood...

    My sister just remodeled a house and picked bamboo for their flooring. Money was no object (they even heated the ceramic floors in the bathrooms), so I assumed bamboo was outrageously expensive. Does look great, I might have to consider it myself !
     

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