Nothing says warmth and richness like a hardwood floor, yet builders over the last several decades have shied away from installing hardwoods in homes, opting instead for wall-to-wall carpeting and vinyl flooring in an effort to cut costs. When it comes time to remodel, however, many homeowners want to bring back the look but are unsure whether they can afford it or if they can properly take care of a hardwood floor. Laminate floors provide an alternative yet have amassed a reputation as a cheap, inferior-looking alternative. Read on to learn about your options for flooring in your basement remodeling project or kitchen remodel.

Today’s Laminate Floors are Better

When laminate floors first came onto the scene in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the products were much thinner and not as realistic looking. Much has changed over the last two decades and, in particular, over the last few years. First-generation laminates were thin and often didn’t look like real wood. The result often was a floor that didn’t withstand the test of time.

Recent advances in laser technology have resulted in laminates with many variations in grain patterns, making installations much more realistic looking. In addition, manufacturers now make laminates thicker, with some available in 12-mil and 14-mil. When selecting laminate, look for thicker planks that closely resemble real hardwood for best results.


  • Save up to 50% on the cost of materials and labor over hardwood
  • Can be installed over radiant heating
  • Easier to clean and resistant to scratches, making it a good choice for homes with pets


  • Doesn’t repair well as you can’t sand and refinish it, giving it a life of about 10 years
  • Often not suitable for below-grade installations in basement remodeling
  • Can build up static in the winter

The Timeless Beauty of Wood

For centuries, hardwoods have brought natural beauty into homes. Purists love its warmth and refinement and its presence can also increase the value of your home. What’s more, installing a natural hardwood floor also provides an organic element that is often absent in many of today’s designs. As a natural product, it is kind to the environment and is less likely to end up in a landfill than other flooring options. To keep cost down, choose American hardwoods such as oak, maple, cherry and ash, which run approximately $4.50 to $8 per square foot.


  • Easy to repair through sanding and refinishing
  • Can last a lifetime with proper care
  • Timeless appeal with unique grains, unique textures and unexpected knots that lend character


  • Susceptible to scratching and can be damaged by excessive water and humidity
  • Needs regular maintenance
  • Can fade in direct sunlight

Ultimately the size of your flooring installation, your budget and lifestyle will determine whether you choose laminate or hardwood for your home remodeling project. If you are still undecided, Chris at Rosseland Remodeling will be glad to help. He’ll sit down with you to discuss your budget and your options to make sure that what you select meets your needs and your budget. Contact him today at 847-791-5886.