Before you decide on wood or laminate there are several things you should think about when you are planning, because there are several important differences between hardwood flooring and laminate flooring.
The most obvious differences between laminate flooring and hardwood flooring are strength, warranty and maintenance. Laminate is by far the strongest against scratches, scuffs and dings. The top layer of laminate flooring is sprayed with aluminum oxide at the factory and that is what gives it that almost armor tough surface.
Most laminate flooring companies offer 25 year warranties so if you have kids or pets or plan on staying in your home, warranties ensure that your laminate flooring will last. Laminate wood flooring cannot be sanded and refinished.
Hardwood flooring comes in solid wood planks like the kind in older homes or engineered wood with a wood prefinished surface. Solid Hard wood flooring scratches and dings easier and also wears faster than laminate flooring.
Solid Hardwood flooring does not stand up well under humid conditions as it expands and contracts under humid conditions. If you have a humidity concern laminate wood flooring will better manage the humidity problems and is often laid over concrete floors, something you would not do with solid wood flooring.
Solid hardwood flooring can be sanded and refinished several times making it the longest lasting type of hardwood flooring. Engineered wood flooring handles humidity better than solid hardwood and is made from several layers of solid wood bonded with heat glue and pressure. Thicker engineered wood flooring can also be sanded and refinished several times.