Recently, we had a client come to us who was dead set on buying natural gray hardwood floors. No problem—this continues to be a popular color category. But there were two other details that fell into the mix: First, she was very concerned that her dog might ruin her floor. Second, she had a fairly tight budget. Our answer: laminate flooring.

When we first mentioned it, the client was unsure about whether or not it would match the high-end look of her home. This was going to cover the entire main level, so it would be the first impression for visitors. It had to be perfect, and could laminate flooring really give her the same quality look as hardwood?

The honest answer is that laminate doesn’t look exactly the same as hardwood. It can feel different underfoot and to anyone paying attention, the two have distinct differences. Hardwood is a natural product made from real lumber, while laminate flooring uses a very sharp, very realistic photo printed onto the surface of a composite base. And each has its distinct advantages.

When it comes to durability, some laminate floors have an advantage in the durability department. By its very nature, wood is porous and soft, which can mean scratches and gouges. And the desire for a light gray flooring meant that her flooring color of choice might show scuffs, dirt, and other agents more quickly than a rich, brown stain look that would better hide damage or wear. Premium grade laminate flooring, due to its durability and resistance to scratches, was clearly coming into focus for this client.

Then there’s the issue of price. The wide-planked, gray, very durable hardwood our client had her heart set on was pricey, even by hardwood flooring standards. Using a premium laminate product, we were able to cut her costs in half for a product that would wear better and ultimately last longer.

We finally won her over and installed her flooring. She loves it. Her new flooring adds beauty, character and richness to her home while giving her the performance she needs, which is the real purpose of any flooring.

Need to make a decision about whether laminate or hardwood is right for you? Contact Tish Flooring, an Indianapolis flooring company. We’ll come directly to your home and let you make a side-by-side comparison of these flooring types until you find the look you love at the price you need.