The difference between laminate flooring and solid wood flooring has become quite a hot topic in the design and renovating worlds. While both floors have their pros and cons, many homeowners are unsure as to which floor better suits their lifestyle and budget. Below we’ve broken down just about everything you need to know to make an informed decision:
What Are They Made Of?
Laminate flooring is made of many layers of synthetic flooring product. Its top layer is designed to look like real wood; however, the core inner layer is primarily made of melamine resin and fiberboard material. Solid wood flooring are made of planks produced from single pieces of wood.
It is usually fairly easy to tell the differences between the aesthetics of solid wood and laminate flooring. Solid wood is typically characterized by a variation of the wood grain. No two solid wood floor planks will look the same. Laminate flooring usually has a predesigned wood grain pattern that imitates the look of real, solid wood. Generally, laminate flooring patterns are repeated every five boards.
This part is tricky. The durability of solid flooring depends on the species. Softer woods like Pine and Fir are more susceptible to dents and scratches because they have a low ranking on the Janka Hardness Scale. Wood species like Brazilian Cherry and Acacia have higher rankings and are extremely tough and can withstand heavy foot traffic. Also, a solid wood’s finish always adds a variation in its durability.
Since the outer layer of most laminate flooring is made by bounding melamine resins and aluminum oxides at extreme heat and pressures, the surface is often much harder than solid wood. Because of this manufacturing process, laminate floors are also much more resistant to moisture damage.
Solid wood floors are made of 100% real product, as they are made from single pieces of real wood. Laminate floors, on the other hand, are created in a process that bonds composite materials so the floor itself is far from natural and organic.
Laminate is typically 30-70% cheaper than solid wood floors. However, solid wood floors have a much longer lifespan than laminate floors–it is said that laminate flooring lasts no longer than 20 years. So in the end, you’ll get more bang for your buck with solid wood floors.
While both flooring types have their benefits and drawbacks, both are good options for any home. Be sure to take into account your own family, budget, and lifestyle before selecting any type of flooring.