When investing in new floors, homeowners are often faced with the challenge of choosing between hardwood and laminate floors. This is understandable, as both options offer quite the benefits. The differences between the two are also confusing. Owing to this, this write-up will compare the two floor types, highlighting the similarities or differences of their qualities.
Laminate is a flooring product made purely from synthetic materials and designed to imitate the look of wood. The floor is a multilayer with its core layer made from fiberboard material and melamine resin and the top layer made of a textured imprinted image that resembles wood.
Hardwood floors come in different types. Engineered hardwood floors are made up of several layers of wood or plywood. The top layer is usually finished and stained at the factory and is made of solid sawn lamella. Unlike engineered hardwood, solid hardwood consists of a single layer of wood and can be finished or prefinished depending on a client’s preference.
While hardwood floors are made from real wood, laminate floors are an imitation of wood.
The difference between hardwood and laminate floors is overly obvious if you consider their aesthetic values. While hardwood floors have extensive variation of texture, laminate floors have patterns that are predesigned. As a result, it’s impossible to find two planks of wood with similar textural patterns. On the other hand, identical patterns can be seen in several laminate floor panels.
The durability of any floor highly depends on foot traffic, maintenance of the floor and adherence to directives laid out by the manufacturer. Due to the manufacturing processes taken to make laminate floors, and especially their top layer, their surfaces tend to be tougher than that of wood. The top layer is made by binding aluminum oxide and melamine resin at high temperatures and pressure. In addition, laminate floors are resistant to damage caused by water absorption, fading or even staining. They therefore last for long, with some manufacturers, giving up to 20+ year warranty.
Natural wood is more susceptible to denting and scratching as it’s softer than engineered hardwood. Unlike laminate flooring, hardwood floors can be refinished, repaired or renewed severally without need for replacement. For instance, should the floor get water stains, they can be fixed by simply sanding and applying oil or stain to the affected area.
Compared to hardwood floors, laminate flooring has a shorter lifespan. On average, laminate floors are replaced after a period of 20 years. This is attributed to the difficulty of their repair and the fact that they cannot be sanded or refinished. Hardwood floors can last for as long as the house lasts if they are well maintained. This is due to their ease of maintenance and repair. And when they are finally disposed, they do not pose any threat to the threat to the environment, unlike laminate floors.
Ease of maintenance
Laminate floors are very easy to maintain as all that’s required is regular mopping, sweeping or wiping with a damp cloth. Hardwood floors, on the other hand, require more maintenance practices. They require cleansers specially made for hardwoods for the purpose of preserving the finish. Using detergents, universal cleaners or furniture polish may compromise the quality of the floor by making it appear dull, the finish appears greasy or even cause permanent damage to the finish. They can also lead to a void warranty. The upside is that they are resistant to chemicals used domestically, but it helps to stick to the care practices recommended by the manufacturer.
Being an organic material, wood will respond to changes in temperature and humidity. As such, wood floors should be installed in areas where humidity is kept at constant levels of 45-65% for engineered wood and 45-55% for solid wood. Due to their response to fluctuation of temperature and humidity, hardwood floors are not recommended for bathrooms.
Laminate flooring in Mississauga is highly resistant to changes in temperature and humidity and as such are great for bathrooms, kitchens and basements.
Ease of repair
Generally speaking, it is not easy to repair laminate floors. For floating laminate floors, repair is easier as the planks are removable and replaceable. When laminate floors are installed using the gluing method, repair can be almost impossible to do. Even when repair is possible, there’s also a chance that the repaired planks will not match the rest because they cannot be sanded or refinished. Differences in exposure to sun, level of wear and age will also make it hard for repaired planks to match the rest of the floor panels.
Whether it is engineered or solid, hardwood floors are easier to repair compared to laminate floors. Extensive damage can be corrected by sanding and refinishing. In case of localized damage, the solution is as simple as replacing the affected planks. Spot repairs are also easy and do not require a professional, hence saving you some money.