What is the difference between laminate flooring vs hardwood flooring? When choosing between laminate and hardwood flooring, there are very important differences that you should learn about. So let’s start with the basics!
What Is Laminate Flooring?
Laminate flooring is a high-density fiberboard sandwiched between melamine laminate backing, photographic paper with an image of wood, and an aluminum oxide top layer.
Laminate contains a wear layer that is tested by abrasion tests to receive a AC durability rating of AC1 to AC6, it is less susceptible to scratches and easier to clean. This flooring is low maintenance; it can be simply cleaned by sweeping and a damp mop. Laminate can be repaired by replacing out the damaged planks, or using specific laminate fillers for some minor issues. Installation is of this floating floor consists of click-lock, angle-angle or drop lock – all locking system type installations that require no glue or nails.
The life expectancy of laminate can be up to 20+ years. Laminates are backed by warranties usually based on the wear layer of the laminate. The costs per square foot can range from $0.69 up to $5.00+. Pricing will depend on the brand, quality, and manufacturer of the product.
Watch How Laminate Flooring Is Made:
What Is Hardwood Flooring?
Hardwood flooring is made from harvested trees, which range in size and thickness. Hard wood flooring comes in two different types, Solid Hardwood and Engineered Hardwood. The main difference between the two types of hardwood is solid hardwood is made with solid wood from the specified tree; i.e. Oak, Maple, Acacia, Hickory, etc. Engineered hardwoods are made with the same wood as solid hardwood, but with a backing board of composite wood. This backing board gives the hardwood extra stability and the ability to be installed via a locking system like laminate flooring. However, solid hardwoods typically need to be stained and installation will involve nailing or glueing down the planks one by one in specific areas. Both hardwoods can be difficult to install and both hardwood types do not contain a wear layer like laminate flooring. The lack of a wear layer makes the hardwood more susceptible to scratching and moisture damage.
Solid hardwood can be repaired by sanding, wood filler, and refinishing. It is 100% wood and is not made of any other products. The life expectancy of solid hardwood can be up to 75 years, with set warranties of 20, 30 or 50 years to hold up to the life of the wood. The costs per square foot range from $3.00 to $18.00. Pricing will depend on the make, quality and manufacturer of the product.
|Laminate Flooring||Solid Hardwood Flooring|
|Fading||Fade Resistant||Can fade in direct sunlight and leave outlines of furnishings|
|Wear||Will not wear through easily
Cannot be refinished
|Can show wear in high traffic areas
Can be refinished
|Stains||Will not stain||Will stain easily|
|Dent/Scratch Resistance||Dent, scratch and chip resistant||Dents are common with high heels and heavy furniture. Can scratch easily|
|Moisture||Moisture resistant with proper underlayment||Can warp from excessive moisture|
|Care||Easy care, surface does not hold dirt and no polish or refinishing is ever needed||Requires periodic waxing, polishing, sanding and refinishing|
|Installation||DIY Friendly||Professional Installation|
Do you have additional questions? We will be happy to help. Simply post your question in a comments area below this article!