Concrete vs laminate: which is the right choice for your home? If you’ve been exploring bare floor options and you’re down to your final decision, how do you know which is best for you? Sure, concrete and laminate floors both look great, but you want flooring that’s best for your home and lifestyle, so how do you choose?
Normally, you would do your research by visiting local home improvement stores, talking with professional flooring installers, or by using a search engine to find out more about these two popular flooring types. However, this can be time-consuming. We’ve done the heavy lifting for you by doing our research and putting concrete and laminate head-to-head across a number of categories.
We’ll go beyond physical appearances to explore the durability, lifespan, and ease of maintenance for each flooring type. We’ll go over the good, the bad, and the downright ugly to help you make the best purchasing decision for your home. Let’s get started.
In this guide, we’ll explore:
- Water Resistance
- Cleaning & Maintenance
- Final Verdict
|Durability||Extremely durable. May crack over time but can be patched.||Very durable. May scratch, dent, or ding with heavy use.|
|Cleaning||Daily cleaning with broom, dust mop, or vacuum. Can be wet mopped with a mild cleaning product.||Daily cleaning with broom, dust mop, or vacuum. No wet mops. Use cleaner made for laminate flooring.|
|Installation||Can use existing concrete floor or new floor can be poured.||Floating|
|Colors/Styles||Colors and patterns can be customized||Many colors and styles to mimic the look of solid hardwoods|
|Installation Costs||$2 to $30+ per square foot||$3 to $5 per square foot|
|Lifespan||100+ years||15 to 25 years|
Your new flooring is beautiful in the showroom or in online photos. It may even still look beautiful when it’s first installed. However, few things are more frustrating than having your beautiful new flooring look less than impressive after a few short months.
The durability of your new flooring is one of the most important factors to consider before making your purchase. Unless you’re rarely in your home, walking across your floors, you want flooring that’s built to last through it all – heavy traffic, kids, pets, you name it. Between concrete and laminate flooring, which is the most durable?
Concrete is an extremely durable material. It’s used in the construction of roads, bridges, and other infrastructure. If it can hold up to heavy cars, can it handle the traffic in your house?
When prepped and installed properly, concrete flooring can withstand nearly anything. You won’t have to worry about scratches on your floor like with other types of bare floors. Dents, dings, and other damage also aren’t an issue.
However, one of the drawbacks is that your floor may crack over time. Luckily, materials to patch and repair your flooring are available at your local home improvement store, or you can hire a professional to do the job for you.
Laminate flooring is also extremely durable. It has comparable beauty to hardwood flooring without the traditional worries – think scratches and dings that can occur just from ordinary use.
Laminate flooring is a great choice for homes with kids and pets. You won’t have to worry about the floors getting scratched or damaged from furniture legs, either, which is a common complaint with hardwoods.
However, laminate isn’t completely immune to damage. Nicks, scratches, chips, and cracks may occur, although not as frequently or as easily as other types of flooring. Filler products can be purchased to fix minor flaws, while a replacement may be required for more extensive damage.
Even though both types of flooring are extremely durable, concrete is one of the toughest, most durable materials on the market. Because it is resistant to scratches, dents, and dings, concrete is the clear winner in this category.
Since we’re discussing durability, it only makes sense to move right into the lifespan of flooring. In other words, how long should you expect your flooring to last with typical use?
Concrete flooring is one of the most durable types of flooring, as previously mentioned, so it’s no surprise that concrete has a very long lifespan. In fact, a properly maintained concrete floor can last for 100 years or more. Some concrete installers will even guarantee their floors for a long period of time, such as 20 years.
Laminate flooring also has a relatively long lifespan, although it still falls short of concrete. Most laminate flooring has a lifespan between 15 and 25 years. Lower quality flooring may only last up to 10 years, while higher quality flooring could last 30 years or longer.
Even though laminate has a fairly long lifespan, it does not compare to the quality of concrete, which could easily last a lifetime.
Wetness can ruin some types of hard flooring, like solid hardwoods. Because of this, you can’t install this type of flooring in rooms where there is a high level of moisture or humidity, like bathrooms. Do concrete and laminate floors face the same problem?
One great thing about concrete is that water will not damage it. It will not warp, crack, or stain if water is on the floor. However, one thing to remember is that water can make a concrete floor very slippery.
Laminate flooring is a bit more resistant to water than solid hardwoods. However, that doesn’t mean that it should ever get wet, especially for extended periods of time.
If a liquid is spilled on laminate flooring, it should be wiped up promptly. When this occurs, you typically do not have to worry about warping, staining, or other problems.
However, if your floor gets flooded or liquid seeps between the gaps of your floor, this is when you may have issues. Excessive exposure to moisture can lead to buckling, staining, and a ruined floor – not to mention potential growth of mold or mildew.
Because of this, you should never install laminate flooring in rooms with high levels of moisture or humidity. You should use other types of flooring, such as ceramic tile or concrete, in these rooms. Laminate is best for rooms such as dens, living rooms, and bedrooms.
Since laminate is not resistant to water (unless you’re specifically looking at waterproof laminate options), concrete is the superior choice in this category.
If you spend a lot of time in your house, comfort may be one of the most important factors when choosing your floor. When you compare concrete and laminate, which is the most comfortable floor to have under your feet?
One of the drawbacks of concrete is that it’s extremely hard. While the hardness of concrete makes it more resistant to damage, this hardness can also be uncomfortable. It can even be dangerous – such as when a young toddler is learning to walk.
Concrete flooring is also very cold. This can be partially offset by using rugs throughout your home, but there is no getting around the fact that concrete is a very cold flooring.
Laminate flooring is also a hard floor, although it’s not quite as hard as concrete. With a padded underlayment installed underneath, some laminate flooring may even be very comfortable.
Laminate can also get very cold. However, it can be installed over a radiant floor heating system to make it more comfortable. It is important to note here that the installation of a radiant heating system could potentially add hundreds or thousands of dollars to your flooring costs.
Even though the hardness of concrete makes it more durable, it is also its downfall when it comes to comfort. Because it is so hard and can get so cold, concrete is the least comfortable flooring option when compared to laminate flooring.
If you’ve been pricing out your new flooring, one of the main costs you’ll encounter is the cost of professional installation. If you’re looking for the more cost-efficient option, which flooring is best?
The installation costs of concrete vary significantly. Do you have an existing concrete floor that’s in good shape? If so, staining and polishing the floor may be quite affordable.
On the other hand, you may need to have the concrete floor poured or repaired. You may also choose a custom stain, which can add more to the cost. The contractor you choose as well as pricing in your local area can also affect the cost.
Because so many factors go into the cost, the pricing can range from $2 per square foot to over $30 per square foot for professional installation.
In most cases, you should not install a concrete floor yourself. Even if you have an existing concrete floor, there are many steps that you will need to take to prep, stain, and polish the floor.
For most installations, you will need special tools and products. So it is best to leave this job to the professionals.
To install laminate flooring, you should expect to pay between $3 and $5 per square foot. Of course, this cost varies based on laminate pricing in your area and factors including the size and difficulty of the job. But this gives you an idea of the average costs of installing this type of flooring.
If you want to save even more, you can do so by foregoing professional installation. With a few tools and a few DIY videos online, you can install laminate flooring in just hours.
You can install laminate as a floating floor. This means that the flooring just clicks together, so you don’t have to use adhesives or nails. Tools you need may include a hand saw or power saw to cut the flooring to size, a rubber mallet, and a tape measure.
Because it is so inexpensive to install or you can do it yourself, laminate flooring is the superior choice if cost is your primary concern.
Cleaning & Maintenance
Most of us lead very busy lives, and we don’t have hours to devote to caring for our floors. If your to-do list is always full and you want a floor that’s low-maintenance and easy to care for, which is the better choice: concrete or laminate?
One of the best things about concrete flooring is that it is so easy to clean and maintain. For daily cleaning, just use a broom, dust mop, or a hard floor vacuum cleaner.
When you have to tackle tougher messes, concrete floors are still fairly easy to clean. Simply use a mild cleanser mixed with water to wet mop your floor. You can also use a steam mop to clean your concrete floors.
The daily cleaning of laminate floors is similar to concrete. You can use a dust mop, broom, or a laminate friendly vacuum cleaner to clean up dirt, dust, and grime. When you need a deeper clean, though, there are some special considerations to remember.
Laminate flooring can’t get wet, so you should never use a wet mop or steam mop. Instead, use a cleaner designed for laminate floors with a dry microfiber mop or cloth. Spray your floor in small sections, never saturate the flooring, and wipe up the cleaner quickly to prevent damage to your floor.
Even though laminate isn’t too difficult to clean, concrete comes out on top in this round. There are no special steps to take and no specific products to buy to maintain the cleanliness and beauty of your concrete floors.
Both concrete and laminate flooring have their benefits and drawbacks. Both look great in any home and are extremely durable.
However, if you want a floor that will easily last for many years, is easy to maintain, and can be used in any room, concrete is a great choice.
If your goal is to have flooring that is comfortable, easy to install, and looks great in dens, family rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms, consider laminate flooring to improve your home.