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Whether buying or selling, you may know that hardwood flooring is one of the most sought after home amenities. Wood is beautiful, classy and timeless. When listing an older home, original hardwood flooring is one of the best selling points. However, if hardwood doesn’t fit your lifestyle or budget, and you’re still coveting that glossy, natural look, you may want to consider laminate.  Todd Hetherington, CEO of Century 21 New Millennium goes over the some lessons in laminate, below.

“Laminate wood flooring is made from composite wood pressed together at high temperatures,” explains Hetherington. “Then, the image of hardwood is covered over the composite wood to form the laminate.” This is cheaper to buy than hardwood, and the installation is jarringly less expensive—often 50 percent less.  Laminate floors have a long lifespan, and a few simple guidelines can help extend the life of your laminate even further.

Whether you're buying or selling a home, laminate flooring may fit your budget and your sense of style.

Keep it clean. “This is crucial,” says Hetherington. “Cleaning weekly can really help in the long run.” Avoid letting dust and dirt accumulate by placing rugs or doormats at entrances and suggesting family members and guests remove their shoes on entrance. Weekly vacuuming and sweeping goes a long way, too.

They can scratch.   “Laminate flooring is easier to clean on a routine basis than hardwood, but be sure you don’t use abrasive cleaners or tools such as steel wool or scouring powder,” warns Hetherington.

They can shine.  “Unlike hardwood, laminate doesn’t require waxes or varnishes to keep its sheen,” says Hetherington. “In fact, wax, soap and detergents can leave a residue, so avoid them all together.” And don’t use wood polish on your laminate floor.

Handle with care to avoid repair.  One major drawback of laminate flooring is that although it has a long lifespan, if it does need to be repaired, it does not repair easily. Unlike hardwood, which can be repaired by sanding and refinishing out imperfections, laminate is often hard to repair by section. If you buy flooring that comes in individual pieces and snapped together, you may be able to replace it. However, depending on sunlight and age, the new piece may not match properly.

Consider the pros and cons of laminate versus hardwood before making any renovations. If selling your home and looking for a leg up, you may want to consider ripping up that carpet and putting in laminate. Are you a buyer dead-set on a hardwood home? Consider laminate instead.

For more information on preparing your home to sell, please contact Century 21 New Millennium at move@c21nm.com, 800-382-1101, or Century 21 New Millennium.

CENTURY 21 New Millennium. Smarter. Bolder. Faster. CENTURY 21 New Millennium, www.c21nm.com, is a full service real estate brokerage company specializing in residential and luxury properties. In addition to its newest Washington D.C. location, the Virginia locations are in Alexandria, Centreville, Culpeper, Fredericksburg, Gainesville, McLean, Stafford, and Woodbridge. The Maryland offices are located in Annapolis, Columbia, Dunkirk, La Plata, Lexington Park, Lusby and Waldorf. Its core services include: mortgage financing, investing, settlement services, property management, property insurance, global relocation assistance, and commercial real estate.