I have 3 children, 10 months- 7 years. I want to put in either hardwood or laminate in my kitchen, living room, hallway and possibly bedrooms. I would prefer to put hardwood in, but am concerned about the durability of it. I would love some feedback from people with children and hardwood or laminate.
Sherri from Alberta, Canada
From what I have seen, hardwood will be much more durable than any laminate on the market. Even if the kids totally destroy the finish, you can just sand it down and refinish. Make sure you get real hardwood.
I have seen many houses with laminate that is warped because of a leak or water damage. It isn't bad but you do have to baby it more.
Our house was built in 1840 and has its original hardwood floors. There are some scratches and dings, but they're "charming". Like the other person said- with hardwood, if you get the good, thick stuff, you can always sand it down. (We've done that, too- One room had a cobalt blue floor!) Personally, I think the one-time higher cost of real hardwood will outweigh all the future troubles with cheaper alternatives. Also, something my parents did (I don't know if this applies to you or not) was cover their hardwood floors with carpet while I was young to prevent any real damage to either the floors or my head.
I have laminate (previous owner installed), and it has stood up to a toddler, a dog and 3 cats. It doesn't get babied - I use my Swiffer WetJet on it weekly, and sweep it a couple of times per week. It is now almost 5 years old, and still looks like new.
I have had both types of floors, I have laminate now with 4 kids, 2 cats and a neighborhood full of visiting kids. People talk about the real wood floors and 'just sanding them down' as if this is some simple project you can do in a weekend. I have been thru it and it is a gigantic pain (especially if you have kids!) It is expensive if you have it done professionally, and very time consuming if you do it yourself. Either way the rest of your house will be COVERED in dust, you have to move out all the furniture for the same reason (dust) and after the sanding is done you have to reseal it and that takes several days to dry.
The other thing to consider is how long you will be in your current house. Is it where you plan to live for 30 years or is their a move in your future. Over all I think laminate is a better, more durable deal for families. There are so many choices and it is SO easy to keep up and it really looks great. It wears better over time and is virtually maintenance free-a must for busy moms. I refuse to add anything to my house that causes me more work but that's just me :) Good luck!
I was just told this week that the laminate is just a picture with several layers of something over it for the protection. I prefer the hardwood, which should last forever, or close to it. I wondered about a ding or something with the laminate that could ruin the "picture". Just my opinion
I have found that laminate is not as durable as it was described to me by the floor salesman. I have it in my kitchen and whenever a knife has fallen, it has taken a chip out of it. The boys rode their little plastic skooter on it and it has become pretty scratched. Also, in our bathroom off the kitchen I had a leak under the sink and didn't know it, and the floor ended up warping because the water sat on it too long.
Laminate is not solid wood, as a matter of fact, some laminates, such as pergo, are more like formica counter tops and aren't even as durable. My husband has been in the flooring business all of his life, it's a 3 generation business. He has had nothing but trouble with laminate. Engineered plank would be a better choice if you did not want solid wood, but not laminate. Engineered plank is already finished and should be glued down. You can sand it once and refinish and maybe screen and coat it a few times. In the long run, solid wood is the cheapest and most durable. It lasts for years. You can sand and refinish and screen and coat it multiple times.
It does not take several days for urethane sealing to dry if it is done right. It took too long only because the coating was too thick. You cannot put it on thick because the bottom layer will never dry.
I had a laminate floor in my kitchen when we first built our house 10 years ago. It was a lighter color and showed every little speck of dirt that landed on the floor. We went on a week long vacation and when we came home we found that our ice maker's line from the freezer to the sink had somehow sprung a leak! The floor in the kitchen was warped beyond repair! What timing the leak had! Well long story short, we ended up replacing the floor with linoleum, but if it had been any other room I would have gladly put down wood floors. That is what I hope I can do throughout the rest of my home someday.
I have been a wood finisher for many years. The problems stated in the earlier blogs are some of the most common in the industry. All wood floor finishes will scratch and wear. Most finishes used today are poly finishes. Hard shell coatings that will scratch, peal, and crack leaving marks that look unnatural to wood surfaces and will need to be re-sanded and refinished to be repaired.
Each time you re-sand your floor you are removing more and more wood and eventually will need a new floor. The National Wood Flooring Association recommends you re-finish your polyurethane finished hardwood floors every three to five years. This is not an easy task and can be quite expensive.
The oldest wood floors that are still in use today are finished with oils and waxes. Finishes that are natural to the woods in the first place. These floors have a natural patina due to the scratches and dents and natural wear they have received over the years. Much like the floors in the 19th century home stated above. These oils and waxes are natural to the wood and do not crack peal and leave unnatural plastic like scratches.
My advice is if you like the warmth of a hard wood floor use a natural finish made of botanical ingredients that nature intended to protect the wood in the first place. Your floor will last the life of the home and will age gracefully much like a fine wine. Look at this company's site www.morganteach.com They make prefinished wide plank flooring that uses this philosophy, and their floors can be repaired with a rag and a simple wipe on wipe off of their Morgan & Teach Plank Oil.
You will never need to re-sand one of these floors if properly maintained, and you can take pride in every nick scratch and dent your children leave as they grow in your home.
Here is a picture of a wide plank oiled floor. This photo came from the Morgan & Teach site.
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