Laminate or Hardwood? Choosing the Best Flooring for Your Kitchen Remodel (Part One: Appearance and

kitchen flooring hardwood solid wood kitchen remodel

One of the challenges homeowners face when doing a kitchen remodel is finding the right balance between aesthetic, functionality, and durability. Kitchen spaces are generally the busiest of the home, prone to wear and tear, and you wouldn’t want to invest in materials that won’t stand the test of time and frequent use. This is especially true as it relates to the flooring you choose.

Kitchen floors, like countertops, need to be durable, low-maintenance, and yet still need to be affordable and align with your home’s design. That’s why choosing the best kitchen flooring options can be tough!

Two of the most popular options for kitchen flooring design right now are laminate and hardwood.

The Builders Practices Survey published by the Home Innovation Research Labs showed that hardwood flooring accounted for 31% of all kitchen installations in 2014. According to the survey, 12% of entry-level homes and 40% of luxury homes use hardwood in the kitchen.

kitchen remodel flooring options laminate

In recent years, however, laminate flooring manufacturers have stepped up their game, producing laminate products that only look more like wood but feel like it, due to embossed wood grain textures. Thicker premium laminates are more often convincing higher-end buyers to try the product.

Each of these options has pros and cons, and we will compare them for you to remove a little bit of the guesswork for you! In part one of this two-part series, we will discuss appearance and cost. (In part two, we’ll look at installation, durability, and maintenance.)

Part One: Appearance and Cost

We start this series with appearance and cost, as these are often the two most important factors that homeowners consider when choosing new floors for their kitchen remodeling project.

Hardwood Flooring Appearance


  • Homeowners love hardwood because of its unmatched timeless, classic appeal and natural beauty.

  • If you have chosen to install unfinished solid wood flooring, you can have your installer stain the wood to match any color you desire, from a whitewashed look all the way to a luxurious and modern dark ebony.

  • If you have an open floor plan, hardwood looks great when continued from the kitchen into the dining and living area.


  • When not properly cared for and maintained, hardwood’s beauty can fade. It is more easily scratched and scuffed when compared with laminate flooring, and is susceptible to staining or moisture damage when spills are not promptly cleaned.

  • Some wood species are prone to discoloration with prolonged sun exposure.

laminate flooring kitchen remodel

Laminate Flooring Appearance


  • The design possibilities are endless! Laminate flooring is made of thin, pressed wood with an image of wood on top covered by a clear wear layer to protect the image. Since the photographic image layer can mimic the look of other materials like stone, bamboo, and cork, you have a wide variety of colors and textures to choose from.

  • The clear protective layer on laminate is highly resistant to scratches and stains


  • Although newer technology in laminates produces a more convincing wood look and feel, it doesn’t quite match the natural beauty of real solid wood floors.

  • Laminate can be susceptible to moisture damage and warping if spills are left uncleaned.

Hardwood Flooring Cost


  • Quality is worth the investment

  • Higher resale value long-term


  • This type of flooring option is more expensive than any other flooring options.

  • Exotic wood types, or ones that are stronger, will cost more.

  • Additional costs occur for finishing, treatment and waxing

  • The average cost of installing hardwood flooring is around $8,000 for a 1,000 square foot area.

solid wood flooring kitchen floor options

Laminate Flooring Cost


  • It is inexpensive when compared with solid wood flooring. Low-end installations can cost an average of $550, while high-end installations are priced up to $7,000. On average, installation of laminate flooring in your kitchen is about half the cost of hardwood flooring.


  • Laminate has a lower resale value than hardwood, although the newer technology and thicker, more durable planks have closed the gap considerably in recent years. You can expect long-term value of laminate to increase going forward.

Lifestyle is Important when Choosing Floors for Your Kitchen

solid hardwood flooring parquet floors kitchen remodel

When it comes to choosing between hardwood and laminate flooring for your remodel, it’s important for you to be realistic about your lifestyle and review the pros and cons of each type. Pets, young children, house traffic and resale value are factors that should be considered when making your decision.

No matter your preference, we can help. If you are interested in exploring your options for kitchen flooring or just have questions, give us a call at (650) 287-4202 or fill out our easy contact form.

Subscribe for updates and to receive Part Two of this series, in which we’ll take a look at installation, durability, and maintenance for these two popular flooring materials.

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