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The options in flooring can be endless when decorating or remodelling a room. Many people desire a floor with a wood look. Wood floors lend a warmth and elegance to any space that is timeless and inviting. However, conventional hardwood flooring can be pricey. There are vendors who specialize in discount hardwood flooring, for a wood look floor that is also budget-friendly. There is also a relatively new alternative – laminate flooring.

Laminate flooring is made of synthetic materials, and can be purchased in almost any imaginable pattern or design. The flooring is composed of four layers for a remarkably durable and beautiful flooring choice. The top layer is a sealant, which prevents scratches, dents, and stains that are so common to discount hardwood flooring. The layer beneath that is a photo of the desired flooring. There is then an inner core with plastic resin that keeps the laminate stable and flat, and a backing that creates a moisture barrier to protect the floor from warping.

The technique used in producing laminate flooring has been perfected to a point that it is often confused with the real thing. Laminates can be obtained in any desired grain, color, and pattern, and are extremely durable and easy to care for. Laminate flooring has an added pro that it is easy to install, and can even be done as a do it yourself project.

Although laminate flooring is a great option, many people still go for hardwood. Hardwood flooring sounds like authentic wood when walked on, and this is something that is not evident in all laminate floors. Hardwood flooring is also made to last, and can lend personality to the space as it ages and is weathered naturally. It can even raise the market value of a home.

A characteristic of hardwood flooring that some may find a pro and others a con, is the fact that it comes in both finished and unfinished versions, whereas discount laminate flooring is only purchased prefinished. While it requires more labor to sand and finish the hardwood flooring on the site, and may cost more in installation, finishing the flooring on the job site may allow the installer the option to vary the amount of coats of staining and finishing based on how the flooring looks in relation to the room.

Because hardwood is installed by a professional installer, and does not come prefinished with grooves, there may also be more flexibility in the way it is installed, and lend more creativity to the direction it is laid and the pattern it forms.

There are pros and cons to both discount hardwood flooring and laminate flooring. Before deciding on a flooring option, do research and bring home samples to see how the floor will look in your living space. Flooring is something that can set the tone of a room, and last for years. Take the time to do it right.

Tom Foley is a home improvement expert who recommends Affordafloors. Affordafloors is an online discount flooring retailer that offers a wide selection of laminate flooring, discount hardwood flooring, and other flooring options.