Hardwood v Laminate FlooringFrequently you will walk into someone’s new home and they will expect you to marvel at the beauty of their hardwood flooring. More often than not, they are misleading you; you are actually looking at and standing upon laminate flooring. There are a number of differences between these two types of flooring, some subtle and some obvious, that you should know before you head out to the flooring store.

The Technical Difference

A hardwood floor is exactly what the name says it is: flooring made from planks of naturally grown hardwood, usually oak, maple, birch, walnut or pine. Each type of wood has its own unique grain patterns and properties.

What exactly is a laminate floor though? Laminate floors are made from several layers of synthetic materials that are fused together by a laminator, hence the name. These inner layers are usually composed of plastic resin and fiber board. These laminate planks can have a photographically accurate print of wood grain applied under a clear protective coating.

The Functional Difference

There are several major functional differences between traditional hardwood and laminate floors. The first and most obvious one is of course price. Hardwood floors are universally more expensive than laminates. This is because hardwoods are grown by nature over the course of decades as opposed to manufactured. The greater price also includes the more labor intensive installation price. Laminates can be glued down or installed as a floating floor, meaning that the strips fit together snugly without the use of adhesives. A hardwood floor has to be nailed down.

While laminates are less expensive, they have also proven to be far less durable over time. A laminate floor has a life expectancy of between 10 and 20 years, depending on how heavily trafficked it is. A well maintained hardwood floor has a life expectancy of between 75 and 100 years, although it should be resurfaced every twenty years or so.

In laminate’s defense, it is generally less prone to damage from scratches or dents; however, when it does get damaged it is much more of a hassle to fix. If a board suffers damage your only option is to replace that section of the floor as there is no way to repair a laminate. With hardwood floors you have the option of sanding and refinishing the damaged area, saving you time and money.

Laminate floors mimic the aesthetic appeal of hardwood floors, but are not actually hardwood. That may seem strange to say because it is so obvious, but for many homebuyers the authenticity of real hardwood floors makes a difference.  Thus, if you view your home as an investment, installing hardwood floors only makes sense as it will dramatically increase the value of your home.

All it takes is one call to us here at Carpet Wagon.