Laminate vs. Hardwood Floors

hardwood floor

You have torn out your old carpet and now you need to choose your new floor type. Will you install new carpet or consider a hard surface like tile or laminate or hardwood floors?

The choice between laminate and hardwood floors use to be easy. If you could afford them, you would purchase hardwood floors. If you couldn’t afford them, you would purchase laminate floors. But with recent improvements to the construction, style and performance of laminate floors, the choice is no longer as obvious.

Here are some of the differences between laminate and hardwood floors:

CONSTRUCTION

Laminate wood is fiberboard. Fiberboard is very thin and nowhere near as durable as real hardwood. The laminate then has paint or acrylic to create the appearance of wood and then another protective sealant over that layer.

Hardwood floor is, well… it’s hardwood. It is extremely durable and very high-quality.

Hardwood Floors: 1

Laminate Floors: 0

INSTALLATION

This one is a win for laminate floors. You can install laminate floors in your home fairly easily. Laminate floor often can be snapped together. Hardwood floor requires professionals or renting various equipment you won’t have on hand at your home. In almost all aspects, hardwood floor will cost more than laminate floor.

Hardwood Floors: 1

Laminate Floors: 1

COST

Like we mentioned above, cost favors laminate. You can buy a quality piece of laminate flooring for around $3 per square feet whereas hardwood floor can cost upwards of $5 per square feet depending on the type of wood you choose. If you do purchase laminate, don’t skimp too much on the quality and construction to save money. You should still invest the $3 per square foot.

Hardwood Floors: 1

Laminate Floors: 2

DURABILITY

You should expect a decent laminate floor to last for around 10 years. Laminate will deteriorate from scratches, UV rays, water and several other factors. Hardwood floor is extremely durable and can last your entire lifetime if you care for it properly.

Hardwood Floors: 2

Laminate Floors: 2

RESTORATION

You cannot sand or repair laminate floor. If a piece of laminate floor is damaged it must be replaced. You can refinish hardwood floor several times to renew its color and polish. This is another benefit related to the durability of hardwood floor.

Hardwood Floors: 3

Laminate Floors: 2

RESALE VALUE

Laminate has improved over the years but there is no denying that real hardwood floors will increase the chance of selling your home for a price you desire. Hardwood floor is an excellent long-term investment in this regard.

Hardwood Floors: 4

Laminate Floors: 2

APPEARANCE

Hardwood floor used to be a clear winner here but laminate has improved to the point where a high-quality laminate floor will look very similar to hardwood. Hardwood floor still has the better appearance but due to the low-cost of laminate, we will call this a tie.

Hardwood Floors: 4

Laminate Floors: 2

PETS

If you live with pets, we recommend laminate floor. The synthetic wear layer over the top protects against claws and scratches whereas hardwood floor does not have a protective layer over it.

Hardwood Floors: 4

Laminate Floors: 3

You can see that overall we still prefer hardwood floor vs laminate but the gap is much less than it used to be and if you don’t see a noticeable difference between laminate and hardwood floor you could consider it a tie, but for now, if you are installing new floor today, we would recommend hardwood floor.

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How to Tear Out Old Carpet

tools to remove carpet

Before you tear out old carpet, you should hire a carpet cleaning Tampa professional to attempt to remove stains and renew the color. If the company is not successful, then it is time to remove the carpet from the floor.

There comes a point in time when carpet is no longer salvageable. If you purchase new carpet or new hardwood floor or tile, you can pay the installation service to tear out the old carpet but we recommend doing it yourself since it is not too difficult and should save you some money.

Here are the steps to tear out carpeting from your floor:

The first thing you need to do is locate a pair of pliers, a crowbar, some working gloves and boots or shoes.

Then you can start the project. Start by removing the baseboards along the wall and any molding. You don’t want to damage areas surrounding the carpet during the removal process. This can be done with a putty knife or the crowbar if necessary, but be careful.

Then start in a corner of the room and use the crowbar to pry up the carpet from the corner. You should be able to tear out most of the carpet itself using just your hands after you have pulled up a large enough piece from the corner.

You likely could remove the entire carpet in one piece but for disposal purposes we recommend using a razor blade and cutting seams across sections of the carpet and tear it out in smaller pieces. This will make it much easier to carry to your vehicle or transport elsewhere for disposal.

Beneath the carpet you will find tack strips that previously held it in place as well as the carpet pad that was under the carpet.

You need to remove the pad even if you are buying new carpet. The pad is an important factor in how a carpet performs over its lifetime in your home. When it comes time to invest in new carpet, it is time to invest in a new pad too. The good news is that pulling up the pad is very easy as it is very lightweight.

The tack strips are much more difficult to remove. To remove tack strips from the floor, you need to use the crowbar and pry them up from underneath. Sometimes the strip will pull off cleanly and other times it will break apart or leave a staple in the floor. Be patient during this process as you do not want to damage the wall or the wood floor if you intend to refinish it.

Now it is time for the staples. Depending on the size of the floor, there will be well over 100 staples in the floor that fastened the carpet to it. The process of removing the staples is extremely tedious and laboring. You can use a hammer or a pliers to remove each staple but we recommend a visit to a hardware store in Tampa to purchase a tool called a floor scraper.

A floor scraper is a long-handled tool with a flat blade at the bottom of it. You just need to push the scraper into the nails with a little force and it will push them out from the floor. We highly recommend the floor scraper since it will save you a few hours during the process of tearing out the carpet. This is even more true if you will be doing this for multiple rooms in your home.

Now sweep all the debris and staples into a pile and then use a vacuum to remove all of the scraps from the floor.

This completes the project. You should have a smooth surface on your floor. You can now either purchase new carpet, refinish hardwood floor or install wood or tile flooring for your home. We recommend a professional Tampa service to install new carpet and flooring for best results.

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