The dilemma of “laminate” vs “real wood flooring” is not necessarily one of objective/hierarchical decisions of one being better than the other. Both types of flooring have their pros and cons, and the requirements of the user are what really determine the best flooring material of choice.
This available in a few different forms, is the more ‘traditional’ flooring type; favoured by those seeking an “authentic” floor with a solid feel, real wood flooring has been developed for hundreds of years to be the product that it is today. Typically comprised of either wood (“solid wood floor”) or a cheaper wood with a thinner layer of desirable/expensive wood on top (“engineered floor”), real wood flooring is the “go to” choice for quality flooring.
This is made from high density fibre, mdf underlayering or hardened plastics, is an increasingly more popular flooring option. It is cheaper, easier to clean and doesn’t require specialist cutting/trimming (most pieces are uniform repeating patterns). Laminate flooring is favoured by those wishing to cover large areas in a durable cost-effective material. However, if they become scratched or worn-through, laminate floorings are then no longer able to be re-coated – they are then ‘damaged’.
To answer the initial question; Do I want Laminate or Real Wood Flooring?, the answer is one of requirements. If your flooring is destined for a medium to heavy use location (such as a workplace, a busy family kitchen or a frequently-used hallway), then it’d probably be most cost effective to opt for laminate flooring. This would offer a good level of protection and last through time. The alternative would be a high-end real wood flooring solution. The pricier wooden floors are far better than even the best laminate products, but cost that much more – and a low-end engineered wood floor simply wouldn’t suffice for a scenario like this.
Another consideration is practical everyday utility.vs. the effect on property value. It’s well known that properties with real flooring fetch a higher price. This isn’t a statement on actual quality, but perceived quality. Wooden floors have connotations of homeliness, old-times and quality. As mentioned, not all wood floors resolve to this definition, but frequently, when selling a property, it does make all of the difference.
A final consideration to answer our question is that of budget. We’ve mentioned that solid floors are generally the best, with laminate flooring following, and engineered wood floors last (with regards to quality.vs. cost); and this really is a large part of the dilemma. If you’re only going to be at a property for a certain period, or you’re a landlord flooring your properties for hard-usage, you’d probably opt for laminate as it strikes a good balance of cost/quality, whereas a family looking to make somewhere their home for an extended period may make the leap and opt for solid wood. All of this depends on the cash at ones disposal.