Laminate vs. hardwood flooring. Why Laminate is a better way to go than traditional hardwood floors.
High quality laminates will look and feel just like hardwood floors but are engineered to be able to withstand many of the things that routinely destroy most hardwood floors. Here in Michigan and many other parts of the Mid-west, we have drastic changes throughout the year in climate temperatures and humidity. Thus being the number one reason for failure of bamboo floors and many other types of hardwood flooring. Humidity causes wood to expand and contract sometimes causing gaps and splinters in the wood and even the formation of humps and dips over the years.
Hardwood floors scratch easily where as the some of the higher quality laminate floors are extremely scratch resistant. A higher end laminate floor will have a high compression ratio meaning the materials compressed into the core of the product and at an extremely high density making it much harder and stable than even the hardest of hardwood floor species. On the surface of a high quality laminate floor will be a layer or multiple layers of Aluminum Oxide which is the hardest shell made for any type of flooring known to mankind. Aluminum Oxide finishes are baked on at extreme temperatures and although not completely indestructible, some of today's high quality laminates the hardest floor types to scratch.
Aluminum Oxide coated laminate floors are also for the most part kid-proof. Since almost nothing sticks to Aluminum Oxide nor stains it, high quality laminates will look better for a much longer period of time under heavy traffic and abuse than any hardwood floor out there. Large pets with long nails scratch hardwood floors. High heel shoes and chair legs sliding across traditional hardwood floors will often scratch, dent, or just plain destroy the finish of hardwood flooring. Normal accidents and spills will often warp natural hard wood floors. All in all, laminate is a much smarter way to go in most of today's active households.
All together, a good quality laminate is much more durable and way more cost effective than any type of hardwood. Not to mention, laminate floors are virtually maintenance free! You NEVER have to sand and refinish a laminate floor like you may have to every 3-5 years with natural hardwood. Laminate floors are not photo sensitive to sunlight like hardwood floors so they will never fade or discolor by your kitchen windows like hardwood will.
Just like many other types of hard surface floor covering, laminate flooring has undergone major advances over the last 30 years. When laminate flooring was first introduced by the Pergo Company back in the 1980's, it was considered a cheap alternative to wood floors, but it never had a realistic hardwood look or feel. With new technological advances in the laminate flooring industry, companies are now able to produce high end laminate products that have a finer appearance than many REAL hardwood products. Not to mention, laminate is much more durable than real wood, requires much less maintenance, and in most cases costs less than hardwood flooring.