Pros and Cons of Laminate Flooring

Though we’ll usually recommend hardwood flooring, there are occasions when choosing a laminate (Pergo) floor is ideal. A laminate floor mimics the look of hardwood, with each board topped with a realistic image of real wood flooring. To get the most realistic result, we recommend a laminate product with individual boards instead of the tiles picturing several boards at once. This allows for the randomized look of a real hardwood installation.

Top 5 Reasons for Choosing Laminate Flooring over Hardwood

  1. Flooring is to be installed over concrete. You don’t need to nail laminate flooring to a sub floor, so houses built on slab or finished basements can be cause for choosing a laminate floor over hardwood. It is possible to have a “floating floor” with real wood installed over concrete (where the boards are glued together at the tongue and groove instead of nailed into the floor), but this is often a more expensive alternative.
  2. Scratch and Wear Resistant/Low Maintenance. This does not mean damage resistant (see Cons to Laminate below). However, daily wear and tear, moving light furniture, and other activities that may mar real hardwood are less likely to happen on a laminate floor. This might be ideal for investment property or for those with pets.
  3. Environment/Allergy Friendly. Many brands of laminate flooring require minimal manufacturing (low carbon footprint). In addition, since there will be no sanding and finish process needed, there isn’t exposure to dust or odors from sealer or finish products.
  4. Less Expensive. In most cases, you’ll save some upfront costs by choosing laminate flooring. There are hundreds of options to choose from, so don’t hesitate to ask our recommendations for the best product to fit your budget and your design preferences.
  5. Faster Project Window. Again, since only installation is required, a laminate floor can generally take less time to install. If you only have a short time to get your floor done, such as during turnover for a rental property, then laminate may also be the ideal choice.

5 Downfalls to Laminate Flooring

It’s important to note that the most common downfalls to choosing laminate apply to long-term considerations. Balance these with your needs in comparison to the potential pros listed above to make the decision that’s best for you.

  1. Damages can’t be repaired. Unlike hardwood, where individual boards can be removed and replaced, laminate flooring is permanent as an entire unit. Pet urine and major water damage require the entire floor to be removed and replaced. For this reason we do not recommend installing laminate in kitchens, bathrooms, or laundry rooms.
  2. Cannot be customized. What you see is what you get. Laminate flooring cannot be cut into custom widths or other shapes to make borders or inlays. It also can’t be cut to size for vents in the floor. If you ever want to add-on to your laminate, most circumstances will require a fresh start for the new room with a threshold piece dividing the rooms. In other words, lacing in (not to mention finding a matching grain or lot) is rarely an option.
  3. No sanding or refinishing. Unlike real hardwood, you can’t sand off dings or surface damage, do a maintenance coat, or change the color with a custom stain. This is something to consider if you plan on selling your home (see #5).
  4. Won’t last forever. Eventually, a laminate floor will need to be replaced. Most come with a 30-year limited warranty.
  5. May decrease resale value of home, or prolong market time. As popular as hardwood is, a potential buyer may be turned off from a laminate floor for any of the above reasons. Especially in the case of high-end homes, spending the extra cash on real hardwood usually adds value to a home. Choosing laminate to get a quick sale for less up cost up front can end up backfiring depending on the home as a whole.



Gray Flooring Trends – Design Elements Series


Gray stained hardwood is one of our most popular requests. Shades of gray can be used on cabinetry, walls, or floors and blended with other colors and textures to create design styles from calming to eclectic.

Choose gray floors to complement steel blue cabinets in a modern kitchen, or to offer a relaxing atmosphere in a traditional living room featuring comfy furniture in natural shades of browns and blues.

Love the look of gray flooring for your next home or home remodel project? Or maybe a different color scheme suits you better (we love Country White Stain!) Collaborate with us on Houzz by adding clips of your favorite design elements to an Ideabook we create specifically for your project.

Then when you’re ready, we’ll know exactly what you want so we can recommend the flooring choices to match perfectly with your total design goals.

Hardwood Flooring Pros and Cons

There’s a reason we’ve included the word “hardwood” in our business name, King Hardwood Floors. And though we can and will install a variety of wood flooring products, we will always recommend traditional hardwood above all else.

Benefits of Hardwood Flooring

By our definition, a hardwood flooring product can be any number of wood species, such as white oak, red oak, maple, walnut, juniper, or hickory. Some wood flooring is also made of softer wood species such as pine or bamboo. Depending on the final finishing process, softwood can endure as well as hardwood.

For the purpose of this post, the “pros and cons” to hardwood can also include softwoods, but are primarily a benefit of using a traditional hardwood (real wood that will require initially sanding and finishing, and will eventually require refinishing.)

After over 25 years in the industry, King Hardwood Floors in Boise believes that the top five benefits of installing a traditional hardwood product in your home are:

  1. Lasts longer. No other manufactured wood or wood-type of flooring will last as long as a traditional hardwood floor. Hardwood can – in theory – last for a hundred years or longer. You will essentially never need to completely replace your floor again. When you’re ready to make your wood floors look new again, a sand and refinish is all you’ll need!
  2. Fully able to customize. The ability to craft a hardwood floor in a variety of ways is really only a limit of your imagination and your budget! Hardwood flooring can be cut and carved like anything else made from wood. Examples from our personal experience include scribe work around several boulders that were part of a custom mountain cabin, and adding a horseshoe made of contrasting wood inside an entryway. Hardwood flooring can generally be cut closer to barriers such as walls, fireplace mantels, stairs and other fixed objects inside a home. Other custom features are the ability to add-on to existing hardwood, change the color or stain with a refinish, add custom borders and feature strips, and more.
  3. Natural character and beauty. Like many other natural resources that humans try to mimic, it’s impossible to manufacture the nuances and unique features of natural wood flooring. From swirls in the grain, to rustic features such as knots and wormholes, each plank of hardwood is unique. Even clean, smooth wood flooring options contain subtle, yet beautiful differences that can complement even the most modern home design.
  4. Environmentally friendly and renewable. Though not all wood flooring is considered “green” our simplified reasoning is encompassed in #1 above. Regardless of the source, manufacturing method, or finish used — since it can be renewed and rarely needs to be replaced — our take is that a wood floor is “more” environmental than other flooring options. In addition, there are numerous ways to choose specific brands of flooring and finish products than can minimize the carbon footprint even further if you desire.
  5. Increases the value of your home. Your floor is the number one investment in your home. However, don’t let the initial cost of having an authentic and natural hardwood product installed in your home deter you if you can afford it. We’re often surprised when we see high-end homes that have laminate wood flooring in them, as than can affect the overall value in addition to looking “cheap”. Whether you intend to update your home to sell it soon, or plan on living on the floor for years to come, hardwood brings more than just monetary value to your home.

Why do you love your hardwood floors? There are far more than only five advantages to choosing a natural wood floor. We’d love to hear yours in the comments section below.

Disadvantages of Hardwood Flooring

If you’re still exploring flooring choices, you might want to know — is there really a downside to having hardwood? Whether you’re comparing it to laminate flooring or not, we encourage you to consider the potential downside before making the decision.

  1. Upfront expense. More often than not, even if someone wants a natural wood floor, the cost can be more than they can afford. Though there are some less expensive hardwood options out there, and we’re happy to help you find a deal — you will also find comparable (even less expensive) laminate flooring choices. It all depends on your budget and your reason for wanting the “hardwood look.”
  2. Prone to pet and furniture damage. Despite the option of sanding and refinishing damage, some may find the process not worth the time and expense. Pet claw marks, grooves from moving furniture, and high-heel marks will eventually occur if proper precautions are not practiced. If you want a short-term solution or are need of a scratch or a wear resistant floor — such as with a rental — then a natural hardwood product may not be the best choice.
  3. Dust and Chemical Sensitivities. Though dustless sanding and non-toxic finish products are customary, some people may still experience allergens or sensitivities. In most cases, this is temporary and will only last during the installation and finish curing process. However, if the affected household member is unable to be away from the home for the duration of the project, this may be a deterrent. But don’t cancel out the possibility of an engineered or prefinished hardwood product if you really want hardwood.

Hardwood is for Living On

If you’re still undecided as to whether hardwood is right for you, think about how the wear and tear of hardwood can preserve the record of life lived in your home — a record of memories. The floor of your home is where life happens and is not simply there to preserve a sense of lifeless “newness”.

Consider the difference between the scuff marks left by a toddler who’d pranced across the floor in her grandmother’s high-heels versus the carpet stain left from her spilling her juice cup.

One is a memory and the other is a mess!

Like we said at the beginning, our name gives away our bias. And though our list of “cons” may be a little weak, we still wanted you to know some of the main reasons we’ve decided to provide hardwood flooring services above all other flooring options.

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