Wood vs. Laminate?

I’m saving our pennies so we can get something beautiful like this…

So we can replace this nasty stuff.

Ewwwwww.  There are spots like that all over this cheap-builder-grade-shouldn’t-even-be-called-carpet, but it is.  We will have to do the rooms in increments, but the first one being done will definitely be the living room.  Then the office.

I’ve already gotten a few estimates and the last estimate I was pretty pleased about.  For REAL wood floors, that estimate was the same as my other estimate for laminate!  Ummm, I’ll take the real stuff please?  Although, I don’t think anything is wrong with laminate…it looks just as good to me.  But in this case, there’s no reason we shouldn’t get the real stuff.  It’s actually engineered wood floors which are still great and hold their value, and are much better for humid climates like what we live in down in the South.

I am counting down the days until we’ve saved enough pennies.  I am determined and will eat rice and beans and stay out of Hobby Lobby and Homegoods as long as it takes. :)

So what about you?  If you have hardwood floors do you wish you had carpet?  Do you hate dusting them?  Does the real wood get a lot of scratches? What’s your take on the real stuff vs. laminate?  Fill in this wood floor newbie with all of your floor knowledge please!

xxoo,

Decorchick!

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Comments

  1. We have both real wood and laminate in our house. I love the real wood more except we have two big dogs who are wreaking havoc on it. On the main floor the floors are pretty scratched up but upstairs where they don’t go it’s gorgeous. My office is done in a funky zebra stripe laminate (mimicking the zebra wood I mean) and I love it. It’s fun and looks great. So I think both are great depending on your needs.

  2. We just put in laminate and I am in love. We actually just went out and bought the cases and my husband and a friend put it in in our living room and dining room in about 4-5 hrs. We saved so much on the labor.

  3. I love, love, love hardwood floors. I hate, hate, hate the upkeep of real wood. We live in a beautiful, large 100 year old home. It is full of gorgeous hardwood floors and trim. When we moved in 11 years ago, my husband and I redid four of our hardwood floors. The largest one we did was our kitchen. It is 17×17 and it tooks weeks to strip and finish. The floors looked beautiful! 10 years later….3 kids later….not so beautiful. They need to be restripped and refinished again as they are full of scratches from “living”!

    My advice to you would be that you have a professional help finish them. We are DIYers and did them ourselves. I think that we did not use the proper finish and that is why they have scratched so badly. The bottom line is that real is beautiful! It is more upkeep than our laminate that we have, but I would go with real any day of the week!

    Good luck with your flooring! I know what ever you choose will be beautiful!

  4. We put in laminate a few months ago and we love it. We also have a dog so we have to keep it clean with all the hair. My son’s allergies have improved greatly too. Before the laminate we had the cheap builder carpet like you. My son was constantly having allergy flair ups. So in any house we live in carpet will be minimal. We still have carpet in our bedrooms which is fine. You may want to check at a Habitat For Humanity Restore. That is where we found enough laminate to put in our dining room. Total cost for laminate in our dining room…$21!!! Then we found someone on craigslist selling the exact same flooring so we purchased enough for the living room, entryway, hallway and hall closets. Total cost for laminate was about $700! And this was the laminate that already had the padding attached. My husbnd installed it and saved us a ton of $$. It’s worth the savings if you install it yourself.

  5. We had laminate floors in our last 2 houses and I loved them. I have Dyson vacuum and it was so easy just to put it on the hard floor setting to clean up. We have this awful Berber carpet in our main family room and it is SO bad, I’m thinking about asking our landlord to replace it with laminate. I’ll do the work to install it, even! And there’s carpet in our dining room (white carpet – how stupid is that!!) and shows all sorts of interesting spots and stains. I’d love to have laminate all over the 1st floor of our house, but I really can’t expect too much from a rental, right?

  6. I live in a rental now and the floors are laminate. They look pretty good since they are new. They have been holding up well. Before I lived in a rental with old parquet wood floors that were awful. The “spaces” in between them keep getting larger so you would need to add wood filler or just wear slippers so you would not hurt the soles of your feet. lol
    The good thing about wood is that you can get it refinished when it needs to be. Not sure how laminate ages and what you can do about scratches etc.
    In any case, I prefer laminate or wood to carpet or tiles always.
    Best of luck!

  7. Have you checked out Lumber Liquidators? That’s where we’ve purchased our engineered bamboo for our previous home and our current home. They carried the same product as Lowe’s/Home Depot but for half the price. Even if there’s not a location in your area you can find them online and they send samples. If you install it yourself, like we did, you save even more — and it’s a fairly easy process (just a bit time consuming).

    I love bamboo, but it’s a soft wood. In our current house we only have it in one room because we can’t have it everywhere with a dog (and the teenagers who frequently visit) — it gets scratched. However, engineered hardwood would be fine (when we get set to replace the laminate in the kitchen, that’s what we’ll get). I know that the “real stuff” holds up better than laminate. If you want *real* real wood, the kind where you have to finish/buff/polish the wood once it’s in place, that gets really expensive and personally I don’t see a need to go that extreme any more.

    As a side note, we have a bunch of pets and so the wood floors need to be swept at least every day and mopped once a week, but generally speaking they look cleaner than carpet.

    Good luck!

  8. We’ve had both and I have to say Im a huge fan of real hardwood floors. There is just something about the way they feel under your feet that you cant get with anything else. We’re actually in the process of saving up for ours :0)

  9. i have both and i love the look but i feel they take more care then carpet especially if you have animals……my kitchen and family room should be swept everyday and if i was younger they would be washed every other day…..but i just can’t do that anymore but i do so love the look

  10. We have real wood in our kitchen/dining rooms & I have mixed feelings. I absolutely love how they look, but they are more work. I do have to use a special cleaner on them & they dint & scratch easily. My problem with the laminate is that echo sound you hear when you walk across it. I’ve been assured that doesn’t occur if it is properly installed. I guess when I am faced with the choice next time, I will strongly consider the laminate. Or….bamboo, both beautiful, indestructible, & eco-friendly.
    CAS

  11. I had a dark laminate in my old place and now I have dark hardwoods. The laminate definitely held up better against scratches, but I think the glossier real wood is easier to clean. The laminate often showed mop marks so we’d have to wipe it down with a towel after we cleaned it.

    I liked the way our laminate looked better because we chose it ourselves… it was more brown and had beveled edges to look more rustic. We were limited in our flooring choices in our new house, so the darkest color they offered was a dark cherry which is a little reddish with no beveling, but it has a beautiful natural variation! Tough choice if I had to choose!

  12. Definitely go with the real! And if it’s the engineered, it’s prefinished, which is so much better than hardwood that’s finished after it’s installed. The factory finish is much more durable than anything you can do afterwards. One caution: if you like to wear spiky heels (ha- not me!), don’t wear them on your hardwoods. Previous owner of our house apparently did, and we have little round indentations all over the floor (didn’t notice until after we moved in, just one of many disasters waiting for us here….). We couldn’t figure out what had caused all those marks until I was visiting our neighbor and she pointed out what her niece had done to her new hardwoods with her spiky heels.

  13. I have ‘real’ wood throughout my house. No carpet. I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE my wood floors. I will never (never say never) have carpet again. Clean up is a snap, no staining. As for scratches …. well, I have to learn to love the character they give the floor, but I’m not exactly there yet. One thing we do to minimize dirt and rocky things that come in, and thus scratches is we don’t wear shoes in the house. It is a 99% SHOE FREE ZONE. It helps immensely. I love my wood floors and the beauty and patina they bring to my home. Guests are often commenting on the beauty of my floors. Good luck with your choice.

  14. Mary@lookingupforhelp.blogspot says:

    We installed laminate in our previous home and couldn’t have been happier! It looks real (people always said they loved my “hardwood floors.” :) And wears well – except, of course, that one time the dishwasher overflowed – laminate can’t stand water, it bowed up and was ruined – and once a “piece” of it is ruined, the whole room is ruined because you can’t just “redo” a spot due to the locking system laminate uses. Good luck on your choices!

  15. I recently got engineered wood floors to replace ugly laminate and linoleum. I love them! I got a rougher finish so scratches don’t show up quite as much but I love the look of the floors you have picked! It is a bit of a pain to keep them dusted, but no worse than vacuuming carpet.

  16. Our current home has real wood floors in the foyer, hallway and dining room. We have light colored carpet in the livingroom and Berber carpet in the family room. We replaced our ugly worn linoleum kitchen floor with laminate several years ago and I love it. It is so comfortable to walk on and cleaning it is a breeze – still no scratches on it. Although I like the look of wood floors I decided not to try to match our wood floors when redoing the kitchen floor which is why we went with laminate. Our carpets are 15 years old and we need to replace the family room Berber next.

  17. Hey Em,

    I also have 111 year old hardwood floors. We have yet to find a way to keep them dust free on a regular basis. They are beautiful, but we’re short on rugs too! Things to keep in mind for maintenance.

    And watch out when you have slippers on. If you keep them clean, you will slide all over like a skating rink!

  18. Vicki Crowe says:

    I have had the “real” wood floors and I have had the pre-finished floors also. I was much happier, always, with the real wood that has to be laid, sanded, finished, and takes long, however it will last a LIFETIME! Plus, as in past years, carpet can always be put over it if in the next 50 years you should so decide! ha! ha! However, on the pre-finished floor, we had a new house in 1995, good quality products, however when I would mop the floors, the mop would hang and snag on corners of the wood – never happens on “real” hardwood floors. I understand however that there has probably been a lot of improvements in flooring since 1995…however we do have the real hardwood now – it never changes, still good quality and if it does get terribly scratched or stained it can one day be sanded. They are a lot of work (hard on your back), but I don’t have a “Shark” steamer, that some say is wonderful for those floors. Maybe I would like to try that. I use the current products out on the market for cleaning hardwood.

  19. We have builder grade carpet like you. I’d like wood but with 3 kids under 4 we still of a few more yeasts of spills & falls & the like. So for now I’m embracing the idea of old carpet.

  20. We have those exact wood floors in our home and I love them! We had them installed about 4 years ago and they still look amazing. Because they are already distressed, they hide the little nicks and scratches they have picked up overtime. We have a one year old who barrels through the house pushing cars, boxes, whatever he can move, and they are standing up to the “destruction” beautifully! Upkeep has been a breeze too…just a simple damp cloth every day or two to sweep up the dust. We have loved having them in our home. They add so much character and warmth.

  21. I too have builder grade carpet and hate it. I dream of the day we have beautiful engineered hardwood or laminate floors. But I keep flip flopping, do I want to commit to a hard floor, I do like to sit or lay on the carpet, but I hate knowing there is dirt lurking beneath. I know I can put rugs down, but wasn’t the point of the hard floors to get rid of the carpeting? I also wonder if I bought good carpet, if I would like it enough to not want the hard floors. Has anyone bought good carpet lately and how do they feel about it? Do you wish you would have just gone with hard floors? Also, I would want the wood or laminate in the kitchen, and every sales person I have told that to wants to talk me out of it. Anyone had experience with wood or laminate in kitchens?

    • We put a knotty pine-look laminate in our kitchen/dinning room almost 7 years ago and it has held up very well. We have to get rid of the 30yr old Berber in my house and thinking of doing hardwoods but kills us to rip up the laminate with the 20 year warranty.

  22. Whatever you have pictured is great. It looks like mine (was here when I bought the house) which is Bruce and it’s wood. If I were to be honest….I really preferred life when we all had carpet. Vacuum whenever and it looked great. Hardwood floors are CONSTANTLY having to be swiffered and careful not to scratch – don’t see any pluses really.

  23. Real wood is easy to maintain and should last pretty much forever! We had bamboo in a room once and it was a pain in the rump, easily dented and scratched and I really didn’t like it. But maybe it wasn’t good quality, I don’t know.

    My mom has real wood on the upper floors of our beach house, and then a laminate wood on the lower level. I cannot tell the difference, so I know you can get amazing quality laminate wood!

    Quality hard wood is in my mind the best of all…of course, the first time you get a scratch you panic. But eventually they are all a part of the character of wood floors. And wood floors can be refinished (which you won’t have to worry about for many many many years).

    I would ask lots of questions before I made my choice, go ta variety of sources of flooring, you’ll be amazed at the different things you learn!

    No carpet, I agree…I cannot wait to get rid of ours!

  24. {don’t you love how you can get one comment that says wood is hard to maintain and the next one says it is easy?} I’d rather sweep/swiffer a floor real quick than lug my vacuum around trying to fluff up carpet….but maybe that is just me.

  25. oh, I am with you!!! I want real or fake, doesn’t matter, just rip that carpet off my floor!!!!
    lucky, you!!!!

  26. I have real brazilian cherry hardwood upstairs AND a great dane/pitbull with longer nails than I want to admit- he is NOT gentle and I can’t see a thing. I should probably take better care of my hardwoods, but when you can’t see anything wrong- why bother?!

    Also, I’m not sure where in the south you live but hardwood from Floor & Decor outlet = affordable (i won’t say cheap, because it’s good quality!)

  27. I forgot to say, the darker the hardwood- the more visible dust/dirt you see. I know it’s good for hygiene purposes and keeping the floor sanitary (staying accountable to constantly clean) but my bf has the same color in your picture and he has to swiffer it 4x a day just so it doesn’t LOOK filthy!!

    • My in-laws have the same dark wood flooring like in the picture and wish they would have gone with a lighter wood. They have no kids living at home anymore and no pets and they’re amazed at how much dust/dirt show everyday…they’ve said they have to swiffer it a number of times a day to keep it looking clean.

  28. We, too, had that gross builder’s grade carpet in our house and after 8 years and killing two steam carpet cleaners, we ripped it completely OUT. I cannot even tell you how gross that was – be sure you wear a mask or you may get the sinus infection from hell…..anyhoo, my hubby watched a couple of videos, then measured, measured, and re-measured, bought all of the supplies needed and installed our laminate. WE. LOVE. IT. It looks just as new an beautiful as 2005 when we installed it. He did it alone, so saved labor costs, altho it took a couple or three weekends. No refinishing. No scratches. Easy to clean. Did I mention you have zero maintenance on it? I clean it with a swiffer and it looks great all the time! Important if you have animals and kids – we have 4 kids and a cat. Buy the best quality laminate you can – we went with Armstrong that has a built-in pad. Hubby had never installed flooring before – we had someone else come out and install new carpet in the bedrooms. They wanted to hire him on the spot. (:

    • Gina, your post just made up my mind on laminate. We too have four kids only add three dogs (plus a cat) to the mix. However, two of the dogs weight seven pounds combined so they don’t do much but bark. Anyway, we were really torn between hardwood and laminate. We have early-years laminate (the non-grain, flat, boring kind) from probably ten years back or more. We were thinking of doing real wood but I’m just worried about the upkeep. I don’t have time for all that nonsense.

      So thank you for your comment. We’ll be going with the laminate. I found some dark mocha at Sams (armstrong i believe) and can’t wait for hubs to install it.

      Kindly,
      laurie eller

      • In our last house, my hubby put laminate wood flooring in our kitchen/dining area back in 2003. We later sold the house in 2009 and our realtor came in and asked us if we had just recently put in the laminate flooring to sell the house…she couldn’t believe how good they looked~just like the day we put them in!! (And that’s saying alot because I have 2 children and I also operate an in-home daycare and those kiddos were hard on that floor!!!)

    • Wow this is great to know! We are having an addition added to our itty bitty house and have been trying to decide what to do with the floor. We have 3 boys (2 teenagers and a “tween”) plus an 85 lb dog who loves to tear through the house w/ the boys. Plus our middle son and I have terrible allergies so when we decide on flooring it will be for the WHOLE house. Thank you for the info!! (and we get a 10% military discount at Lowe’s… yeah!!)

  29. We purchased engineered wood from Lumber Liquidators and can’t get enough of it! We put it in our dining room, master bedroom and my husband’s office. We went with mudslide birch and love it. Can’t beat $1.69 sf. Our engineered wood, maybe not all engineered wood, is very soft though. We had to put down a large rug in the office because the rolling office chair was denting the floor. It dents easier than it scratches, if that makes sense. After installation, I used a wood pen and a Sharpie to fix all the tiny scratches and things that normal people wouldn’t notice. GOOD LUCK with your decision!

  30. We’ve had real hardwood and laminate both, and we won’t do real again, personally. With the animals (2 cats and a dog), they trashed it pretty bad rather quickly. We haven’t had any scratching problem with the laminate and I found it was much less upkeep than we had with hardwood.

    Honestly, though, anything is better than crappy carpeting. :)

  31. roxanne Nelson says:

    I’ve had both laminate and real. If you do go real do not, I repeat DO NOT go with the pre fab real wood. We have lived in our house for 6 years and need to replace it! But then again we need to replace our nasty builders grade carpet too!

    • My sister is replacing her pre fab real wood floors, and she has only had them for a year. She had carpet in the great room and linoleum in the attached kitchen. She had a fire in her kitchen, so she was able to pick our a new floor for the whole main living earea. She choose pre-finished hard wood (just like the picture at the top). They looked great -at first. She has 4 kids plus one big dog. She said they needed to be refinished, (less than 1 year). I guess the engineered can only be sanded/refinished a few of times before you need to replace (it is so much thinner than real wood).

      Her frig leaked all over the kitchen, and the floor buckled. She is now ripping out the engineered hard wood and putting in the real stuff. She wishes she would have done the real stuff the first time around. I am not sure if the real wood would have buckled too, but she still would have picked real wood the first time, as it would have held up better in the rest of the area.

      She has a VERY active household (lots of people over all the time). The pre-finished wood didn’t hold up like she thought it would.

      I am saving up for the real stuff. We too have the builder grade carpet that I want gone! I am learning from her experiences.

  32. Our last house was all wood and tile floors. With two big dogs and two woodstoves I was constantly sweeping up dog hair and dust/ash. And the dogs would slide all over the place when they were running around.
    Not to mention that I like to sit/lay on the floor and it was always uncomfortable. Our new house is fully carpeted (except kitchen/bathrooms of course) and I love it. I don’t worry about anyone falling, it looks so good after vacuuming (I don’t mind vacuuming), and it feels great on my bare feet.

    A couple of years ago everyone and their brother was ripping out their carpet to put in hardwood and I was the one wishing for carpet. I just find the wood cold and uninviting. And uncomfortable. And noisy. Are you getting the idea that I don’t like wood floors? :-)

    As a side note, I was reading a blog where the woman was redo-ing her front room/mail room. She said it is the only room that is carpeted and she’s always finding the kids in there rolling around on the floor. Kind of makes me think that she needs to carpet more of her rooms as the kids obviously like it.

  33. we have both hardwood and laminate in our home. originally the entire house had builder-grade carpet that was your typical cream with dark brown pathways that led from one room to another. ::smirks:: we ripped it out. my brother put in hardwood floors throughout their older, 1960s home and paid roughly 12K for the entire job. four years later they had to have them refinished due to the wear and tear. that was six years ago and they need to have them done again. i just don’t know if i can handle having to refinish floors so much. they’re picky about how they look, thus the constant redo’s. that’s not for me. lol

    we looked at some laminate that my BFF put in her loft (dark mocha with grain) and it’s amazing. honestly, i think laminate has come a long way since i first looked at it, so we’re certainly considering it. i go back and forth. i want the real but one i don’t want to pay the cost and two i don’t want the upkeep. however, i love how it feels under my feet. :) lol

    we plan to make up our minds by spring break. lol that gives me three weeks. wish me luck! and good luck to you too!

  34. We have a mix of real wood and laminate. With 4 dogs, (yeah I know…looking at hubby and his babies huddled up watching TV) the laminate has held together extremely well! I use Zep hardwood and laminate cleaner…there is no other ! Cleans, shines, and no sticky residue…I will say our allergies greatly improved:)

    • The last house I lived in had laminate wood floors. No doubt, they are way easier to keep clean than real wood. They also didn’t show scratches. I just bought a house last year with real hardwood floors. I refinished them myself (lots and LOTS of work on hands and knees); however, the end result is gorgeous! Do they show dust easily? Heck, yes…especially because I stained them so dark (but beautiful). Do they scratch? Yes, even after three coats of poly they do scratch, but they are still the love of my house. I like the way the floor feels so nice and cool in the summer and no way would I trade them for laminate; however, when the time comes for them to be refinished, I will definitely be saving my pennies to hire the pros to take care of it for me. I’ve also heard that some pros use some type of gym floor finish versus poly that holds up better…don’t know if that’s true.

      PS – Carpet? Not with a magician in the house. My son can levitate a glass of Kool-Aid 10 feet away and spill it. He is 7 and still spills everything in sight…I can’t imagine trying to clean carpet with all of the spills we have. Not to mention it’s just a dust magnet.

  35. We got laminate flooring throughout the entire bottom floor of our home, and I LOVE IT! A couple of friends of mine have real wood and wish they could rip it up and put down laminate. With dogs and kids, they say real wood is just too hard to keep looking nice. There was an extra box of flooring when our job was complete, and I’m saving it in hopes that I’ll be able to order it for any other home we might move into. Did I mention I LOVE my floors? :) Good luck!

  36. One of the reasons we bought our house was that we fell.in.LOVE! with the hardwood floors! They are beautiful! I love them. However, I have to sweep them EVERYDAY. But once they are clean it was totally worth it. Yes there are scratches. There are a few places that have a scratch here and there, but I try not to focus on that, but the shine of the floor. When I step back and look at the whole floor I can’t see the scratches.

    I also will say that I do not recommend using swiffer all the time when cleaning the floors. It makes them sticky. For the everyday messes, I run a damp mop over the floors and I have the shine. When I feel froggy and go the extra step I use my “Bruce’s” cleaner on it. (I have only found it at Lowes) I do use the swiffer cleaner occasionally to clean up when I am short on time. I don’t like it though. I want to get one of those rubbermaid mops that work like the swiffer mops that you can put your own cleaner in. The bruce’s cleaner comes in a squirt bottle separate from the mop. It’s kind of a pain, but worth it!

  37. Ummm, WOW! Thank you everyone for chiming in. Maybe I should just do a mixture of real wood and laminate. :)

  38. I have done a ridiculous amount of research on this because we’re replacing our carpet as well (as you know!). We are going with an engineered hardwood. A couple reasons why:

    1) It deals better with moisture changes than solid hardwood, especially if you get a good quality.
    2) The finish on engineered hardwoods, which is done in the factory, is a lot stronger than anything you can do at home.
    3) If you get a *good quality engineered* (that is key here) it can be refinished quite a few times.
    4) Engineered can be installed over any kind of subfloor, and pieces can be replaced. That’s our goal in the high traffic areas where the dogs whip through – before we sell, we’ll replace those planks and voila! Good as new.

    I keep saying good quality engineered and that’s because it makes a huge difference. Getting engineered that costs under $3/square foot isn’t going to last. It’s like buying anything, get the best you can afford and it’ll last longer, have better wear and tear, etc. The engineered we are getting runs about $9/square foot, but it’s lasting power is going to be a lot better than $9/square foot “solid” hardwood. And when you go to sell the house someday, it’s all just “hardwood floor.” There’s no distinction made between “solid” and “engineered.” They are both made of solid wood, it’s just if the top wood is consistent all the way through or not.

    Lastly (man, this is long) go with a harder wood if you are worried about scratches, dents, etc. Because of our two (60 pound) dogs, we are buying hickory, one of the hardest woods for flooring on the market (that isn’t an exotic wood). If you go with birch or pine or ash you’ll see the denting/scratching happen much faster.

    • Thanks Sara. Everything you mentioned is what the lady told me as well. I think that doing the glued-down wood floors is good because like you said, you can replace a few planks if necessary. With laminate I don’t think you can replace just certain areas, but I may be wrong…

  39. We had hardwoods throughout most of our downstairs, they were installed prior to us moving in. We added additional hardwood flooring to our family room several years later. The only rooms downstairs that have carpet are the library and study (not a lot of traffic). We did however rip up all our carpeting upstairs and on our back staircase last year. We painted our stairs. We installed prefinished 3/4″ hardwood flooring throughout the upstairs ourselves. It took awhile, but was soooo worth it! So much cleaner, and was a life saver due to our allergies!!

  40. I have a love hate relationship with our hardwood floors. We live in an old house so, old floors. The only room with carpet are the upstairs (large finished attic) and one bedroom. Here are the things I love/hate…
    Love – no stains
    Hate – noise
    Love – I have two boys. They can ruin anything. Except the hardwood floor.
    Hate – toys get lost under EVERY piece of furniture because everything sliiiiides across the floor.
    Hate – our dog really, really misses carpet. Not as much fun to play catch and sliiiiiiide on the hardwood.
    Hate – mopping so many floors.
    Hate – furniture, i think gets dusty faster because it doesn’t settle anywhere.
    Love – did I mention no stains?
    That no staining may trump all the reasons I dislike hardwood. I think it’s a grass is greener kind of thing.
    Love, great for matchbox cars

  41. christina says:

    I actually have both in my house. I would have to say that I would take the laminate over the real wood ANY day. The laminate takes alot of a beating and still looks great w/4 kids and 2 dogs, but the wood floors are really easy to scratch and to have them buffed and sanded out is a lot of hard work and time if you do them yourself, and of course a lot of money if you hire someone to do it.

  42. I have real wood and it’s beautiful….when it’s just been cleaned. it does scratch easy, but even with this i’ll take it any day over nasty carpet. my mom has laminate and she loves it. it is so hard to damamge. she’s had it for 11 years and it looks just as good today as it did when they installed it. my personal fav is bamboo. we installed it in our last house. it is beautiful. it does get groves in it but it doesn’t show as badly as a scratch does in hardwood. and i love what it does for the environment.

  43. tiffany sexton says:

    Girl! I am a homebuilder/mom/everything ( lol ) and I live in Memphis. Know all about the humid ick weather! I have/install laminate in my/all homes. Yes, real is beautiful but the upkeep is a nightmare. I have 3yr old twins, 14yr old son and 4 dogs – u want laminate-trust me!! Actually, they now make a vinyl that looks EXACTLY like the laminate that is 100% waterproof. We are ripping out our laminate to install it ( old dog/accidents/mold-ick ) and it is only @ 3.89 compared to 11.15!! You can find it on DIY web.

  44. wood wood wood – and the best kind I’ve ever had is the kind that’s already there – that’s all I know – but I thought I’d share :)

    God bless and happy penny saving

  45. We re-did our floors a year or so ago and I had my heart set on hardwood. The floor guy told us that he would always recommend high-quality laminate over mid-grade wood (same price range for either). We went with top-shelf laminate and I love it. Here are some photos:
    http://flowerpatchfarmgirl.blogspot.com/2010/12/so-its-come-to-this.html

    Good luck!

  46. We just got hanscraped engeniered hardwood floors in mohagonny 3 weeks ago for all of our downstairs, that replaced both white, dirty carpet, and dark laminate. Two things I noticed with the laminate were that it was always streaky after I moped it, and that it had an “echo” sound when the dogs ran on it. I do love my new floors, but they do get scratched up pretty quickly with the dogs, and you have to be careful with what you put on them. I have researched a lot online, and found many sites where they tell you NOT to use murphy’s oil or orange glow, as it will eventually lead to a filmy build up. I now only use bona (home depot) to play it safe. It was recommended by the installer. Good luck with the floors, and really just go with what you feel will work best for you!

  47. We have real hardwood about the same color as the ones you liked. We loove them but our 65 lb dog has scratched them like you wouldn’t believe! I feel like laminate would be more durable.. but I think our circumstance isn’t the norm! I would pick based on your expected level of wear and tear. Good luck! :)

  48. I say the real deal is the best way to go. I lived in a house with my six kids and actually didn’t mop it as often as I would have if it had been laminate, but it never looked bad. All I did was vacuum it a couple of times a week. When we moved out of that house nine years later the floors were still in great shape. I have hard wood in my entry and kitchen now and I love it. My only problem has been where one of my sons spilled water and didn’t wipe it up so the floor warped in that spot. But I still love the floors.

  49. We’ve had both & I much prefer real. Laminate shows EVERYTHING. It’s really hard to keep clean. The real wood floors don’t show dirt as much.

  50. Hi Michele here. The one with the Balanced Beige walls that I sent you pictures of. As part of our main floor (pantry, kitchen, family room, office, powder room, dining room and stairs up to the second floor) remodel we changed out our carpet to real hardwoods throughout. Because we already had medium 80′s oak hardwood in our kitchen and entry way before but carpet throughout the rest we decided to continue with the oak but we stained it a dark walnut. I LOVE having hardwoods throughout our main floor. Yes they do get dusty (we wear shoes in our house, have 3 kids and 2 cats) but I still love them. What I love even more is my Roomba. I bought it at Costco and it vacuumes my floors everyday seven days a week at 10 a.m. I can’t believe how much dirt it picks up.

    I say go for the real thing. Then save for a Roomba. :-)

  51. We’re getting ready to replace our carpet with hardwood- we’re going with bamboo. I can’t wait!

  52. I was kinda curious too. I HATE carpet! I remember laminate being a little quieter and softer. My grandpa had hardwood floors in his house. The sound of his german shepards paws clicking on the floor coming down the hall to my room late at night was incredibly comforting. But thinking back now, they were LOUD. I CAN tell you this. We had tile flooring in the house our insurance put us in after the house fire and we bought a Bissell Flip It and it was the coolest thing ever!

  53. Hey Em – this might be a very tough decision for you! But, I will just tell you my experience. Last year we just replaced our crappy builder carpet with laminate and I love it! We went with a darker wood with wider planks and it has lots of texture. They look just like real wood. I have to vacuum at least once a week and have a Shark cordless vac for easy spot pick up (grass, goldfish, golf ball size dust ball, etc.) : )
    Every time I vacuum I realize that all of that dust and hair was just collecting in the carpet so you are very wise to make the switch. One problem I am having is the ‘mopping’ situation. We still get the juice or milk cup spots on the floor and mopping leaves streaks. I’m still experimenting with the best way to remedy this. Good Luck!

  54. Hi there! We live in the Houston area too, and we just had engineered hardwoods installed. We were so happy with the company we used, I thought I’d let you know about them. Their name is “Total Floors” and they were so professional and did the best job! Three people in my family have used them and all three are extremely pleased with the workmanship and cost. We priced hardwood at Home Depot and Total Floors was so much cheaper that we were not only able to do the hardwoods, but we also could afford new carpet in the bedrooms and counters in the kitchen! Total Floors not only did our wood, but they also did our carpet and counters. I promise I’m not getting paid to endorse them. We were just really pleased with their work and I thought I’d let you know about them. I don’t think they advertise and not many people know about them. I think they mostly do flooring on new construction houses for different homebuilders. Anyway, you can email me if you have any questions. I’d be happy to help you out. : )

    • Lisa thank you! I may just be contacting them, and you!

    • Are they on Fuqua? Is that the right company?

      • Yes, that’s them on Fuqua. Pat Mullin is the guy we always talked to and met with. You kinda have to make an appointment to see samples because Pat isn’t always in the showroom. Let me know if you need any more info. I could email you pics of our hardwood he installed for us too. Please feel free to contact me with any more questions you have. : )

        Lisa

        • Hi again! I forgot to sign in, so my last comment came up “anonymous.” Anyway, I thought I’d give you an idea of the cost of our hardwoods…The wood itself was $3.35 per sq. ft. and the installation was $2.75 per sq. ft. So it was a total of $6.10 a sq. ft. installed. Also, Total Floors did EVERYTHING…they moved furniture before starting, then cleaned up, and even put the felt squares on the legs of all the furniture before moving it all back. When they did our carpet, they even took apart my son’s bunk beds to move them out of the room and put them back together when they were finished. When they quote you a price, it includes everything from moving furniture, etc. They also do work all over the Houston area. They did work for my mom in Sugar Land and for me in Friendswood. Hope this helps and good luck! : )

  55. Fun fun fun! I love hardwoods. They’re easy to keep clean- go ahead and invest in a Swiffer Sweeper Vac. My saving grace!

  56. We put hardwoods in our kitchen and dining room. Our dining room actually had carpet for years. Blech. I love, love, love hardwoods. Wish I’d put them in my den, too. The crazy thing was that one year after we put them down, our icemaker leaked overnight, flooding our kitchen. We had to have our new floors torn up and replaced. And I was 39 weeks pregnant. Good times!

  57. WORLD of difference. You have to get the wood. No contest. Laminate may look the same at first, but there is a huge difference. Also, resale value is much higher. We’ve had wood in both our homes and I’ve found it infinitely easy to take care of (wood in one home was almost 50 years, about 15 years in this home). We’ve also had young children and pets in both homes and the wood showed no signs of wear.

  58. Jennifer V. says:

    We have real wood & I definitely wish we had laminate! Our two dogs & one child have gouged & scratched the heck out of it! True, it doesn’t show dirt very much, but it doesn’t look very good because of all the scratches & gouges in it….I was told by floor guy that you have to sand & re-finish your floor every so often to keep it looking great. And since ours is in such bad shape, he said he’d have to sand it a FEW times to get all the scratches & gouges out…leaving us with little wood left! Ugh! I would definitely go with laminate!

  59. When reading your post, I thought you sneaked in my house and took a pic of my nasty carpet. Our is the same color as your’s, too. My husband and I are at a stand off on what to do about it. I want wood and it could be real, faux, engineered, bamboo or laminate. He wants carpet. So until we come to an agreement, it is gross carpet.

    Can’t wait to see how you room turns out!

  60. Engineered wood dents so easily! It’s not worth the money. If you can’t afford to get the REAL thick wood (not the engineered wood) than I wouldn’t spend the money. I wouldn’t go with laminate either. It doesn’t dent as easily as the engineered wood but it doesn’t look as nice and can dent much easier than real hard wood. Seriously, or at least go with a lighter wood color because it’s going to dent. The darker the color the better you can see those dents as well as dust, dirt, spots, ANY speck of anything! I am speaking from experience here!

  61. I had real wood flooring in the last two houses I lived in. The 50 year old hardwood actually wore better than the newer stuff but the new had a high gloss finish and was beautiful. Pets and shoes can wear on it though. I have laminate in the kitchen of the apartment I’m in and I really don’t mind it like I thought I would. Seems to wear very well and doesn’t have scratches in it (and who knows how long it’s been in here.) I think that there is a difference between the wood floors and the engineered wood floors. Not sure but check it out. I don’t believe the engineered floors can be refinished as often as the real wood.

  62. We have both hardwood and laminate in our house. The hardwood is the original oak put in the house back in the 50′s and it is BEAUTIFUL, the laminate… not so much. It is a darker color and you can see every.single.scratch and ding and chip and all wear and tear! It is awful. As soon as we can afford it I want it all gone! If you don’t have a high traffic house I would say laminate is fine but with a messy husband, pets, and kids laminate is not for us. Our oak is over 50 years old and is holding up great!

  63. Go with real wood. I’ve had both. The laminate was much harder to keep clean. Most laminate has a “texture” to it sort of like your skin. Eventually dirt gets into these microscopic grooves. The only way I could clean was with a MR.Clean sponge. My floor was huge so you can imagine the effort involved. Laminate scratches and gets gouges in it too and there isn’t much you can do to hide it. At least with hardwood you can use a touch up marker or stain if you get a scratch. Laminate is a harder surface. I even broke a Corelle plate when it fell on the laminate floor.

  64. This seems like a Coke/Pepsi debate. I think in the end you go with what You like. What You can afford. Just yesterday a man came to measure our living room and dining room. We’re waiting on his email to tell us how much Real Wood is going to cost. I feel just like everything, You Get what you pay for. My sister had laminate in her house built in 2005. They left a cooler on the laminate and it warped it. This time around she went with hard wood floors. They look about the same. I want to live in a house. Not worry about people walking on the floor. As for the Dust. Imagine ALL THE DUST Settling into your Carpet! Yuck! I have no problem getting a swifter. Sorry so long.

    • Oh, and we are getting the exact wood in your picture. I can’t wait!

      • Just wanted to give my 2 cents – I just had quickstep laminate flooring installed in the color heritage oak from the eligna collection. I have it throughout the downstairs, except kitchen and bathroom and also in two bedrooms. I have not moved in yet so I cannot tell you how it will wear, but it looks absolutely gorgeous!! Whoever has seen it can’t believe it’s not hardwood. (I chose this particular style both for the color and for the matte finish). In fact, when I was choosing, I put the sample on the floor next to a mirage hardwood sample in a very similar color – you could barely tell the difference!
        I did my research and also pricing. The pricing really varied, so bear that in mind – for the exact same product, I was quoted over $5 sq. ft and ended up paying $2.19 from a very reputable company who price matched for me. My installer loved it and said it was far easier to work with than many of the laminates he’s installed previously.
        Incidentally, quickstep now sell a tool that enables you to remove individual planks in the middle of the floor if you need to replace one at any time.
        Good luck with your decision making!

      • You are going to see EVERY SINGLE particle on those dark hardwoods, just fyi!

        Don’t get me wrong, they will look beautiful but I would not recommend them in the kitchen/dining room…..

  65. I also just wanted to add that bargain price real wood is not always a bargain – make sure you research the supplier well.

  66. melesa garrison says:

    I despise nasty carpet! We moved into our home two yrs ago and are gradually ripping out carpet and replacing it with something else. We put wood in the living room, dining room and hall way and wished I had’ve put it in the office as well. We have the hand scraped wood and I *LURVE* it! It is honestly the most beautiful wood and it’s not hard to take care of at all. We are going to put carpet in the master bedroom and guest room just for the comfort level and it doesn’t get the traffic that the other rooms do. Wood is going to be in the office someday soon ;) but first, the master bath is getting a redo. It never ends, does it?

  67. I have laminate both upstairs and downstairs…..and am getting ready to rip it out and replace it with REAL wood. Why? Not because of looks (the laminate is gorgeous). Not because of sound (my friends actually can’t tell that the floors are laminate when they walk on them.) And not because of wear. (They wear beautifully, although they do chip.) No, I am doing it for health reasons.

    Immediately after installing the laminate floors (and for eight months since putting them in), I have had constant nose bleeds, headaches, and coughing fits. For the longest time, I was baffled by my symptoms. Finally, one day my doctor asked if I had had any new cabinets or flooring installed when my symptoms began. I said that I had laminate flooring installed, and she suggested that I get a formaldehyde testing kit because laminate is known to off-gas this carcinogen. I did, and the levels are FOUR TIMES what the EPA recommends. After much research, talking with industrial hygenists, doctors who specialize in chemical allergies, representatives at the EPA and OSHA, as well as several other people who experienced symptoms similar to mine after installing laminates, I discovered that these boards off-gas formaldehyde for up to ten years–even the “floating” kind that I had installed without any glues or adhesives. Case studies show that long-term exposure to even low-levels (those considered “acceptable” by the EPA) can cause cancer in humans.

    I’m not suggesting that everyone who has laminates get rid of them. But I would suggest buying a formaldehyde testing kit (they run anywhere from $39 to $49–depending upon which company you go with. I chose one recommended by FEMA, which was $39.)

    I will never buy this stuff again. From now on, anything I buy is going to be natural product. (Yes, even real hardwoods offgas formaldehyde, but not nearly as long and at such low, low levels that it is virtually harmless.)

    Buyer beware…

    • Just so other readers know, the engineered woods can have this same problem because of the pressed wood under the hardwood layer. Esp the ones made in china.

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