Difference Between a Hardwood Floor And Laminate

You want to give your home a comfortable look, so you’re contemplating which type of wood floor to use. Your contractor has recommended that you install either a hardwood or laminate.

Making a choice between the two can be difficult. Each has advantages and a few drawbacks.

You’ll find it useful in your decision if you know the ins and outs of each type. Understanding the differences between them will enable you to make a proper choice.


Laminate floor layers are designed to mimic the features of real wood. They look very much like real wood but are actually synthetic. Manufactured from melamine resin, its top layer is imprinted to look just like the real thing. Those who install laminate wood flooring do so because they are tough and more resistant to the wear and tear. They aren’t prone to fading either.

Two types of laminate flooring include:

  • Factory pre-glued
  • Floating, unglued

Glueless laminate flooring are just that. Their planks are just snap fit together. They are the most commonly used. Factory pre-glued flooring, on the other hand, are glued courtesy of factories. All that’s needed for installation is to wet the tongues of the planks.


A lot of people install hardwood because they want to give their home a natural and rustic feel. It also adds tremendous value to it. The four types to pick from include:

  • Solid
  • Engineered
  • Unfinished
  • Pre-finished

Solid wood is fashioned from wood straight from a tree. These pieces react when the air is very humid. It’s quite costly and recommended for upper grade installations. It has to be installed onto another wooden subfloor, which increases construction costs.

Engineered floors are made of a few wood planks glued together. More flexible than solid wood, they can be installed on concrete slabs as well as another type of wood subfloor. Just like laminate, they require a floating floor installation and are not fastened to the subfloor.

Unfinished hardwood flooring is simply sanded on site with a few coats of finish. The emphasis on sanding makes installing it quite an untidy process.

Pre-finished hardwood is usually quick and easy to install. However, the choice of colors depends on availability. Repairs and trims may not match the color of the original floor. The floor is usually well finished and easy to maintain.

Wear and Tear

In terms of being subject to wear and tear, hard wood loses out. Laminate flooring, being tough as they are, are easy to maintain. They require only simple sweeping and mopping with a broom that has soft bristles.

Hardwood requires quite a bit of maintenance. It has to be cleaned, polished and buffed in sections regularly. You might want to use natural polishes such as:

  • Tea tree oil
  • Baking soda
  • Olive oil
  • White vinegar
  • Lemon juice

Unlike a laminate, a hard wood floor is susceptible to moisture damage and cannot be installed where there is too much humidity. Laminate floors resists moisture and can be installed anywhere in the home.

Aesthetically, laminate flooring loses out. The aesthetic difference between the two types is very obvious. Real wood grain varies and has natural patterns. The patterns of laminate floors are constantly repeated.

While laminate flooring can resist a certain amount of damage, it cannot be repaired easily. This is different for a hardwood, which can be easily refinished and polished to restore its shine.

Laminated floors also lose again when it comes to lifespan. While it can last for about 20 years, hardwood can last about twice as long, with proper maintenance.

The combination of chemicals and composites in a laminate floor doesn’t make it environmentally safe. The resin is manufactured under very high pressure. Hardwood are completely organic.

There are marked differences between these two floor types. Both are reasonable choices, depending on your needs.

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