Laminate vs. Hardwood Flooring – What’s the Difference?

Laminate and hardwood flooring are popular options among homeowners and businesses looking to update the floors in their homes or office buildings. Although they can be similar in appearance, several key differences between the two products will affect the final result of your hard surface flooring choice.

To find out which product works best for you, look at the following comparison of laminate vs. hardwood flooring.

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What is Laminate Flooring?

Laminate flooring is a type of engineered wood flooring that is constructed using layers of veneers and core materials. Laminate floors are generally installed over subfloors, such as concrete, plywood, or cork. Laminate flooring comes in many styles, including solid surface, tile, plank, parquet, and others.

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What is Hardwood Flooring?

Hardwood floors are beautiful and durable flooring options for any home. They have been around for centuries and are still popular today. Many different hardwoods exist, including oak, maple, cherry, mahogany, teak, walnut, and others. These woods are generally resistant to moisture and insects and are great options for homes with children and pets.

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1. Appearance: Laminate vs. Hardwood Flooring

At a glance, laminate and hardwood floors can look very similar. Laminate floors have a photo-realistic image of wood on the surface, while hardwood floors are solid pieces of wood. Laminate floors can also be made to look like stone or tile.

2. Performance: Laminate vs. Hardwood Flooring

When it comes to durability, hardwood floors are top-notch. They can last for decades with proper care, but they’re also susceptible to scratches, dents, and water damage. Laminate floors are a more budget-friendly option that can withstand a lot of wear and tear, but they’re not as resistant to moisture as hardwood floors. Hardwood is the way to go if you’re looking for a floor that will keep its good looks for years to come.

3. Cost: Laminate vs. Hardwood Flooring

When it comes to cost, hardwood floors are typically more expensive than laminate. The cost of materials and installation can vary depending on the hardwood you choose. Laminate is typically less expensive because it is made from composite wood pressed at high temperatures. The installation process is generally quicker and more accessible, saving labor costs.

Key Differences Laminate vs. Hardwood Flooring

  1. Laminate flooring is a composite material composed of wood particles bonded together under high pressure and heat. Laminate floors are often referred to as engineered hardwoods because they are manufactured using similar processes as natural hardwoods. Laminate floors are generally less expensive than solid hardwood floors, but they do not have the same durability and longevity.
  2. Solid hardwood flooring is made from natural materials like maple, oak, cherry, mahogany, etc. These types of floors are more durable and long-lasting than laminate floors. Solid hardwood floors require more maintenance than laminate floors, but they last much longer.
  3. Laminate flooring comes in many different styles and colors. You can find laminate floors in traditional colors like white, black, gray, brown, and even exotic colors like blue, red, and green. Laminate floors are also available in custom designs and patterns.
  4. Laminate floors are installed over plywood subfloors. If you choose to install a solid hardwood floor, you may want to consider installing a concrete slab instead of plywood. Concrete slabs are easier to clean and maintain than plywood.
  5. Laminate floors are made from recycled plastic bottles. Most people don’t realize how much plastic is used to make these floors. Plastic bottles are melted down, mixed with resin, and then pressed into sheets.
  6. Solid hardwood floors are made from natural materials like wood, cork, bamboo, and others. Solid hardwood floors must be sanded and refinished periodically to keep them looking their best. Laminate floors do not need to be refinished.
  7. Laminate floors are designed to look like natural hardwood floors. Solid hardwood floorings are designed to look like solid hardwood floors.
  8. Laminate floors are cheaper than solid hardwood floors. Solid wood floors cost between $10-$20 per square foot. Laminate floors start at around $4-$6 per square foot.
  9. Laminate floors are lighter than solid hardwood floors and can be moved easily. Solid hardwood floors weigh about 25 pounds per cubic foot. Laminate floors weigh only 2-3 pounds per cubic foot.
  10. Laminate floors are easy to install. Solid hardwood floors can take several days to install. Laminate floors can be installed in just a few hours.
  11. Laminate floors are more affordable than solid hardwood floors if you plan to live in your home for a while. Solid hardwood floors will eventually become outdated and need to be replaced. Laminate floors can stay in place for years without needing any repairs.
  12. Laminate floors are great for pets. Solid hardwood floors cannot be cleaned effectively for pet owners with dogs or cats. Laminate floors are stain resistant and can be wiped down easily.
  13. Laminate floors are eco-friendly. Solid hardwood floors use a lot of energy to produce. Solid hardwood floors also generate a lot of waste products. Laminate floors are environmentally friendly.
  14. Laminate floors are versatile. Solid hardwood floors have a specific design and style. Laminate floors can match almost any décor.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, there are several essential differences between laminate and hardwood flooring. Laminate is less expensive, durable, and easier to install than hardwood. However, hardwood is a natural product that can add value to your home. Consider your budget, lifestyle, and desire to look for your home when deciding.