Laminate vs real wood

Oak-effect laminate flooring

I used to be a laminate snob, I’ll admit it. I love a real wood floor, and I particularly love original wooden floorboards, painted, stained or varnished. If you told me before I had kids, or even a year ago, that I’d choose to have a laminate floor I’d think you’d lost your marbles. Because the picture of laminate that I had in my mind was not how I imagined my house to look.

But we’re now living in a 1970s house that doesn’t have floorboards.

And we have two toddlers.

And 50 square metres of floor to cover.

When it came down to it, for us as a family right now, laminate was not a last resort, it was our best option. It’s extremely hard-wearing, very low maintenance, budget-friendly and perfect for a young family. I want my kids to ride their scooters inside and drag their little play chairs about without that heart-stopping fear they’ll scratch the floor. I have enough on my plate without worrying about maintenance.

To help us select which finish we liked, we visited a local flooring showroom where we narrowed our choice down to two. We were then lucky enough to be able to take actual samples of those final two finishes home with us, where we lived with them on the floor for a week or so before making our final decision. We knew we wanted an oak-effect finish,and in the end a light oak won out, as our focus has been on trying to make the ground floor space feel as light and bright as possible. We also selected a finish with a subtle grain effect and grooved edges around the planks to make it feel more like real wood.

No, it’s not the same as having a real wood floor. To me, a real wood floor has something magic about it. But I still love my laminate, and anything that makes my life easier at the moment will always win out.

We chose Quick-Step’s Elite flooring in White Oak light. The Elite flooring costs £19.99 per m sq.


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  1. May 30, 2012 / 9:31 am

    We are having the same dilemna at the moment hardwood vs laminate. Seeing your laminate floor I have to say it looks really good. It is so much kinder on the budget too, we still have a few weeks before deciding, but I think we will go laminate too now.

    • Heather
      June 12, 2012 / 8:44 pm

      We had some friends come to visit a couple of weeks ago who are getting their kitchen done, and they liked our laminate so much they’ve ordered the exact same one!

  2. May 30, 2012 / 4:26 pm

    Looks great Heather. I’ll let Emma know as this is something she wants for our house downstairs. Did Ben fit it himself?

    • Heather
      June 12, 2012 / 8:44 pm

      Thanks Gary. Ben didn’t fit it, the builders did, but it was very straightforward. The builders said that it was the best laminate they’ve ever laid because it went together so easily.

  3. May 31, 2012 / 10:51 am

    We went though the same issues, we had one in our pre children home, but laminate in this one. It has worn really well. I am impressed, it has been down for over five years and people think it is new. We had it professionally fitted though

    • Heather
      June 12, 2012 / 8:46 pm

      This same laminate was down on the floor in a showroom we visited and we were so impressed by how well it had lasted. One of the builders even took a stanley knife to an offcut and he couldn’t mark it!

  4. June 23, 2012 / 3:38 pm

    I grew up in a house with wooden flooring.Compared to the laminate flooring we have in our hallway, which has been down almost 10 years laminate wins hands down.

  5. July 4, 2012 / 9:57 am

    Your house flooring looks amazing, i prefer wooden flooring the feel is great!

  6. July 25, 2012 / 9:59 pm

    I am a laminate convert too – we had real wood in our previous home which our children put right through its paces when they arrived, there are some amazing laminates these days and yours looks great, Claire x

  7. July 2, 2014 / 3:32 pm

    It’s amazing how having kids can change your attitude! I was never a snob as such, but laminate would have been well down my list.

    Having a 9 month old boy now though – such things as “wipe clean” and “no splinters” are far higher on my must have list than looks alone!

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