The question of hardwood versus laminate is a popular one among those looking to purchase new flooring for their homes. The answer might be different for each home. Wood and laminate each have their own unique qualities that could help you determine which floors would be best for you.
Laminate is usually made of a high density fiberboard core pressed between a melamine laminate backing, a high quality photograph with an image of the natural floors, and a melamine laminate top. Some laminate planks are made with a thin slice of real wood veneer that replaces the photographic paper. Laminate is is easy to clean and resists scratches, moisture and wear and tear.
Hardwood floors are more prone to scratches than laminate floors, however scratches are much easier to fix with real hardwood flooring. If a laminate floor is scratched or tears, it is much more time-consuming to repair. Hardwood can be sanded to remove imperfections, while laminate flooring cannot. You can buy laminate touch up and repair kits and if you plan ahead you can keep a few replacement planks handy when you purchase your flooring. A light sanding will usually do the trick for hardwood. If scratches and scuffs are a high possibility — from pets, active families, or merely high traffic — hardwood may be a better option for your situation.
One benefit laminate holds over hardwoods is that it does not fade in the sun, while most stained wood floors will fade or change colors over the years. Unlike laminate however, wood can always be refinished and restored to its original luster. Both materials can be affected by excessive moisture, but only laminate is able to hold up in a kitchen or bathroom environment. Rooms that get a lot of moisture are not well suited for real hardwood. Ultimately this choice is made easier by assessing your personal needs and weighing the pros and cons of both materials.