A lot has been written about hardwood flooring versus laminate floors. You probably found this blog and many other
hardwood and laminate flooring blogs or articles by searching online. Because of the constant questions that we receive, we
are going to revisit the topic of how hardwood and laminate floors differ as well as how these two types of floors share
Each person reading this blog may have a different reason for wanting to know differences between hardwood and laminate
flooring. Some of you might have been told they are the same, or wonder if laminate floors are more scratch resistant then
hardwood. Below we are going to try and answer the most popular hardwood flooring vs. laminate floor questions. If you don’t
get your floor question answered here, feel free to post a reply to this flooring blog and this social floor community will
do its best to assist you.
First, let’s start by making sure that everyone reading this floor blog understands the definitions of hardwood and
laminate flooring. Hardwood floors are natural products that can be either solid construction or engineered. Popular types
(called species) of hardwood floors are red oak, maple, hickory, Brazilian cherry, teak and walnut. Laminate flooring is made
with a solid fiber board core with a photograph of wood on the surface protected by a laminated surface.
The most popular hardwood versus laminate floor question is related to the visual appearance and everything related such
as scratch, wear, and moisture resistance. Years ago a person in or out of the floor industry could easily tell the
difference between laminate and hardwood floors. One easy way was just looking at them. Hardwood floors seemed natural,
because it is, and laminate flooring looked like a photograph laminated like a driver's license. In addition, walking on the
floors would prove just as telling as hardwood sounded denser which laminate felt and sounded thin and like walking on thick
plastic. Sure, some of these differences remain today, but laminate flooring has become much more advanced and even flooring
professionals can't tell the difference between hardwood and laminate by just the mere appearance. Of course, the more
expensive the laminate becomes, the more "real" it appears. If you are thinking you can find a .89 cent laminate floor at a
discount floor store or online through a flooring e–tailer that will fool your friends and family, think again.
When it comes to scratch resistance, laminate floors are the king. Although some hardwood flooring manufacturers have
invented great finishes that protect hardwood floors from scratches, laminate floors are typically more resistant and show
minor scratches to the surfaces less. Now, what if either type of flooring gets a scratch, this is where hardwood flooring
shines over laminate floors. Hardwood can be repaired by either using a scratch repair kit or by having the floors
refinished. Laminate is difficult if not impossible to repair. We have seen repairs made to laminate floors, and you can
always seem to tell where as hardwood looks new again or is at least a lot less noticeable.
long with scratches, many floor consumers are concerned with denting or impact resistance. Hardwood floors vary in density
and hardness is measured using the Janka Hardness Test. Even the hardest woods such as Ipe (Brazilian Walnut) and Cumaru, can
dent. This is not to say that laminate floors will not dent, because they will, but do to the fact that they are made from
fiberboard, they are a lot denser, therefore resisting dents.
One area where both types of flooring are susceptible to damage is from moisture. Hardwoods are natural and therefore
changes in the humidity may affect they appearance do the expansion and contraction of the cellular construction. Laminate
flooring is made from fiberboard, and although many companies have made moisture resistant fiberboard, most laminate is still
vulnerable to wet areas such as bathrooms and kitchens. The difference between hardwood and laminate flooring regarding
moisture is that hardwood can typically be repaired by drying out and being sanded and refinished. Laminate floors on the
other hand typically have to be replaced if they suffer any moisture damage. This is because laminate flooring cannot be
sanded and refinished. I typically tell people that laminate is like cardboard when it gets wet. Even when the cardboard
dries it is never back to its new condition and always has some distortion left from the wet and dry process. The best thing
for both hardwood and laminate floors are to keep moisture away from them.
In today's economic climate, FindAnyFloor.com gets a lot of flooring questions from consumers regarding the ease of Do It
Yourself floor installation. More importantly we are asked if they can install hardwood flooring just as easy as laminate.
The answers typically revolve around a person's knowledge and skill level with home improvement products. The easiest answer
is this; if you want to install hardwood flooring yourself as a DIY project, you should consider click lock engineered
hardwood flooring. The locking mechanism is different from traditional tongue and groove and engineered floors install much
like their laminate flooring counterparts. In addition, most engineered hardwood flooring doesn't have to be glued or nailed
down, making the installation much easier as a DIY (Do It Yourself) project. In any event, we always recommend that consumers
consult a flooring installation professional before beginning a floor project.
The last point we will make about hardwood vs. laminate flooring is the life expectancy. Many people will assume that
since laminate doesn't scratch as easily, that it will last longer or look better long term. This is really not the case.
Hardwood flooring should last much longer than laminate flooring since hardwood floors can be refinished to look as good as
new. This depends a lot on the thickness of the hardwood floor, especially if it is engineered. The thickness of the face of
the hardwood floor above the tongue and groove or click system determines the amount of time that it can be sanded, repaired
and refinished. The thicker the top layer the longer the hardwood floor will typically last.