Hardwood Flooring vs. Laminate Flooring



Wood flooring never goes out of style. It’s been around for centuries, and its enduring beauty and resilience as a flooring material makes it as popular today as it ever has been. In fact, due to increased variety and the increasing prominence of laminate and engineered wood flooring, it could be argued that wood flooring has never been more popular than it is right now. Residential floor installers can create a wood flooring option to match any décor or motif thanks to great variety in the current market.


Wood flooring is a term used loosely to describe flooring materials that have wood components, and it includes traditional hardwood as well as modern flooring types such as laminate and engineered wood. However, just because these flooring types have a common ingredient doesn’t mean that they’re similar. In fact, there are many distinctions to be made between hardwood and laminate flooring as one of the only things these two flooring types share is the appearance of wood. Before opting for laminate or hardwood flooring installation in Roswell, GA, make sure you understand the differences between the two flooring types so that you can decide which one best fits your needs. Keep reading to learn the differences between laminate and hardwood flooring.


What Is Hardwood?

Hardwood flooring is a natural flooring material made from many different hardwood species, such as oak, maple, cherry, birch, or walnut. It consists of uniform planks that are cut and smoothed. Once the planks are individually installed in the floor, a finish is put on the top layer that usually consists of shiny, clear polyurethane, though some opt for a more muted oiled finish. The finish protects the wood and provides scratch and stain resistance.


What Is Laminate?

Laminate flooring is completely man-made using little actual wood, if any at all. It’s made of layers of synthetic resins fused to one another under high pressure to create a hard surface. It can be made to have the appearance of wood thanks to a photographic applique layer on the surface that is protected by a clear protective coating. The interior of the flooring is made of melamine resin and fiberboard.


Appearance

There are few flooring materials more beautiful than hardwood, as the natural grain of the wood is unique from plank to plank. That gives hardwood flooring character that simply can’t be matched by the repeating patterns found in laminate flooring. Because there is no real wood grain present in laminate flooring, the pattern will repeat every few planks, providing a simulation of the appearance of wood that is easily noticeable to the discerning eye. However, laminate flooring is available in a wider array of colors and patterns than traditional hardwood.


Durability

Despite its name, hardwood can be prone to scratches and dings since it’s fabricated from a natural material. Even with a thick polyurethane coating, hardwood floors can be damaged more easily than most quality laminates. Because the process of creating a laminate floor component involves high pressure, the surfaces tend to be extremely hard and resistant to scratches and scuffs.


Repairability and Maintenance

Repairability and maintenance are other key concerns for wood flooring, as your floor will undoubtedly need repair or maintenance given the role it fulfills. Maintenance with both types is straight-forward, as routine sweeping or dust mopping is all that’s necessary under most circumstances to keep floors in good shape. Hardwood flooring is easy to repair; scratches and gouges can be sanded out and the finish reapplied seamlessly. Also, when the floor begins to show wear and age, hardwood can be refinished completely, providing the appearance of a new floor. Laminate flooring is different in this regard, as its floating nature makes it impossible to repair a single plank without removing sections of flooring. Also, it can’t be sanded since it’s not real, solid wood but rather layers of composite materials.  


Longevity

Both types of flooring have tremendous longevity. Hardwood flooring can last for decades with proper maintenance and refinishing at the necessary intervals. Laminate flooring can include guarantees of up to 25 years, though laminate can’t be refinished and will wear out well before comparable hardwood flooring.

If you’re in the market for wood flooring, consider the differences between hardwood and laminate before deciding on a product. If you need help selecting the right flooring and having it installed, contact Atlanta Floor One at (404) 578-0926.