When choosing a flooring surface, there are many options out there, from vinyl and carpet to laminate or hardwood. If you like the look of wood, the choice usually comes down to the latter two. It makes sense to know the pros and cons of each option.
There are many things about a wooden floor that can give it great appeal. There is the natural appearance, the feeling of solidity as you walk over it and the element of tradition. Add to that the fact it is an organic material and it has strong insulating qualities, and it has much to commend it. Small wonder it can increase the value of your home.
However, wooden floors do need more TLC than most surfaces, including laminate wooden flooring. They can be prone to scratching and dents, can warp in certain circumstances, are vulnerable to water ingress and can occasionally be attacked by parasites.
Some of the wood issues may depend on whether it is engineered wood flooring (a layer of wood on top of plywood) or hardwood. The latter, for example, is thicker and more prone to damage from moisture
There are things you can do to help maintain and fix wooden floors. For example, you can keep it clean with the right materials (not bleach-based), sweep it regularly to remove dust particles that can scratch and erode the surface, and even undertake some nifty moves to deal with problems like dents.
For example, soaking the area is a great hack for tackling dents as it makes the wood expand (this is one of the very few times you would want to deliberately make the wood wet, otherwise you should mop it dry and avoid moisture). Sandpapering and waxing can help deal with scratches, while it is also crucial to recoat it every so often.
This, then, is what wood brings: a beautiful, natural material that adds value to a home. Against that, it is costlier than laminate to start with and while it is not hard to maintain or repair, it is also easy to damage, so maintenance will be
If you are looking at laminate instead, the advantages and disadvantages are largely inverted. Laminate costs less, is not so easily damaged and is low maintenance. However, when damage does occur it is harder to fix and the lifespan of a laminate floor is shorter than wood.
Of course, with its wood effect appearance, laminate does come pretty close to recreating the appearance of a wooden floor. That is something very firmly in its favour if you are on a lower budget.
Ultimately, the choice may come down to your household circumstances. If you have pets and young children, a laminate floor may be the best option. That is because they will inflict more dirt, scratches and spills on the floor, while keeping you pretty busy, perhaps too much so to spend a lot of time on floor maintenance.
In addition, if you have a young and growing family, you may be more likely to move home to a larger property in time. If so, having a floor surface that lasts longer is likely to be less advantageous anyway.