Laminate vs. Bamboo vs. Hardwood flooring
February 8, 2013 1:30 PM Subscribe
Should I install "bamboo hardwood," hardwood, or laminate floors? This is for a rental unit in a not-that-upscale neighborhood in Oakland, California. I'm most concerned about long-term maintenance costs and potential resale value.
posted by slidell to home & garden (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Because it is a rental, I’m most concerned about durability, repairs, and long-term operational costs. I’ve heard mixed reviews about laminate’s comparative durability to hardwood. But I may well start trying to sell the place in 3-5 years or so, depending on my family situation, so I'm also paying attention to resale values.
I’m looking at laminates that cost $0.79-$1.09 per square foot. They are mostly 8 mm, though one that is 12 mm is on sale for $1.09. The underlayment cost is about $0.35/sf. There is “bamboo hardwood” (?) on sale for $1.99/sf, and very rarely, this store puts regular hardwood on sale for that price as well. The bamboo and hardwood options are prefinished and tongue-and-groove shape, so I'm not sure if they click together the way laminate does, nor whether they'd require an underlayment.
The unit is 750 square feet, so I'm assuming that the price difference for materials is $500-1000. If hardwood is harder to install (?), then our contractor will ask for more money for labor, too. This is a lot for me right now, as I try to buy all of the appliances, so it could delay me in renting the place by a month while I saved the money.
I’m wondering if it’s worth the extra money to go with the bamboo, if it's worth the extra money and a month's delay to see if real hardwood will go on sale, or if I should just move ahead now with the laminate.
Arguments for laminate:
- It’s a rental, so whatever I install will get trashed and need replaced, so I should buy the cheapest possible.
- Some laminates are actually more durable than some hardwood.
- If I end up selling the place to investors, they'll base their purchase on the rental income, so they won’t value hardwood (unless it truly is known to be cheaper to operate).
Arguments for hardwood:
- Since hardwood can be refinished, it might be cheaper in the long run to buy hardwood now than to buy laminate and replace it occasionally.
- Although I’m living in the tiny attic unit, most future owners would probably see the floor in question as the “owners’ unit,” so I should buy better finishes on this main floor. And since owner-occupants would probably pay more than investors, I should aim for this outcome.
Is there any reason at all to consider bamboo? I have the impression that it can’t be refinished, so unless it is supremely more durable, it seems to be the worst option.
What do you think?