As laminate flooring becomes more popular people wonder whether they should go with wood or laminate. Because each of the choices has their respective benefits and drawbacks, the answer is not always simple; however wood flooring is generally preferred. Whether you’re in need of hardwood floors or a laminated floor depends on different factors outlined below.
To understand laminate flooring, you must first understand its composition. Laminate flooring is usually comprised of a fiberboard core, set in between melamine laminate backing, and photographic paper with an image of wood, stone or other natural flooring and a melamine laminate top. If a laminate floor is scratched or torn, it is not easily repaired. Scratches on hardwood floors, on the other hand are fairly easy to repair. Typically a hardwood floor can be sanded to remove imperfections; while the same is not true with laminate floors. By this token, if you foresee a lot of scratching and scuffing in your floor's future (if you have pets, for example), a hardwood is a better choice than laminate.
One thing to note is that both hardwood floors and laminates can be affected by excessive moisture, but laminate flooring can hold up to being put in room with a lot of moisture (such as a kitchen or bathroom). Laminate flooring is typically an excellent choice for flooring that is below grade, such as a basement. Hardwood is not recommended for these applications due to high moisture found below grade. In Arizona, hardwoods do well, as there is not much moisture to damage the wood. In regard to sound, a special padding is required under laminate floors to reduce the floor's potential for noise. This is important if you are considering placing the flooring in a loud room. As you can see hardwood is generally preferred except in rooms that experience a lot of moisture, such as a bathroom or kitchen.