While most experts often refer to hardwood flooring as one of the best flooring options, laminate flooring does have its own unique features and key benefits. With hardwood flooring occupying the top spot when it comes to plank flooring, laminate flooring isn’t too far behind. Most homeowners, builders and flooring experts consider laminate flooring to be the next best thing to hardwood flooring in terms of quality, durability and aesthetics.

Choosing between hardwood and laminate flooring isn’t always an easy decision, even when you know their unique qualities.

To help you with your decision, our experts have outlined 5 important flooring qualities below, comparing hardwood and laminate.


When it comes to natural beauty, solid hardwood flooring is unmatched. No matter the shade, hardwood floors are known to have impeccable aesthetics. This is even true with less expensive species of hardwood, as they still boast a unique grain that adds character to your flooring. Today’s laminate floors mimic solid hardwood flooring very well, some even recreate the unique character and grain of real hardwood. However, this may not be as predominant with all available laminate flooring, and with closer inspection, you can notice the subtle differences from real hardwood.

Water and Heat Resistance

Both laminate and hardwood floors absorb moisture and can be susceptible to damage when exposed for prolonged periods of time. This, therefore, makes neither laminate nor solid hardwood a suitable flooring material in humid or overly wet locations. Laminate flooring handles moisture somewhat better than hardwood and won’t swell or bow in moist conditions.

Care and Cleaning

Both hardwood and laminate flooring are quite easy to clean. Hardwood flooring can be cleaned either by sweeping or vacuuming. If in need of something more thorough, damp-mopping with a wood flooring cleaning solution will definitely give you that shiny look you strive for. Laminate floors can also be cleaned with a vacuum or broom, mopping a laminate floor should be done with a damp mop as well. When cleaning both laminate and hardwood floors, avoid the use of excess water and harsh chemicals.

Durability and Maintenance

Durability and maintenance are part of the conversation with any flooring type. However, when comparing hardwood and laminate flooring you need to give the edge to hardwood. When properly maintained and cared for hardwood flooring can last a lifetime. Properly installed laminate has a life expectancy of 15 to 25 years but can last longer with proper care. Laminate is considered the more durable material as it is made of pressed wood, it has a higher resistance to scratches and wear-and-tear. Unlike hardwood floors, when seriously damaged, laminate floors cannot be refinished or sanded. They need to be completely replaced. The maintenance routine for both is very similar, periodic observation and cleaning is required. When observing your floors, look for areas that may show signs of wear or damage, such as shifting planks, cracks, dents, chips, swelling and other damage indicators.

Both hardwood and laminate flooring have their strengths and limitations, but when it comes to naming one flooring option as the better choice, it’s not a one over the other answer. Selecting the right flooring for your project depends on the features that matter to you and that will fit best in the space you are utilizing them for. Hopefully, the qualities we have outlined above will help you choose which is best for you.