ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What is the difference between hardwood floors and laminate flooring?

Updated on March 15, 2010

There is a difference between hardwood and laminate flooring and what you choose could come down to your lifestyle and budget.  First, let's go over the similarities of the two.  Both are very popular in terms of flooring in homes nowadays.  And from a looks perspective, high quality laminate and wood floors would be hard to differenciate. The main difference between the two other than price is what they are made of. 

Many do-it-yourself weekend warrior types prefer laminate over hardwood because it is much easier to install compared to traditional wood flooring.  For the most part, laminate flooring is traditionally what is known as a floating floor, meaning that you don't need to use a direct fastening method such as nails or glue so common with laying hardwood or bamboo.  What that means is that laminate can be installed over virtually any floor without going down to the room's subfloor.  That said, nothing can compare to the real thing.

Because of the composition differences of the two, your choices really depend on what you are looking for in a floor.  While wood flooring is more natural, laminate is more durable making it a solid choice for those with pets or kids or in areas that are considered high traffic areas.

What is laminate flooring made of?

The planks of hardwood versus laminate are also different; laminate panels are usually thinner than their counterparts which may or may not be a pro to installing it.  In some cases, laminate floors can be made from planks that are engineered and can be fairly thick though.

In fact, laminate can be better compared to engineered wood rather than solid hardwood because just like engineered wood, it is made up of several plies or layers.  The top part of the laminate is known as the wear layer. This layer is treated with plastic resins that make it stronger than hardwood and capable of withstanding more damage that natural wood.  It is the wear layer that makes laminate a better choice for people or families with dogs or kids because it is more scratch resistant.

Just underneath the "wear" layer, is the design layer.  This layer is nothing more than an image of whatever the wood it is trying to mimic.  Typically, this layer is nothing more than a picture of the hardwood and done well, it will generally reproduce the variations in colors that we know to be hardwood.

Beneath the design layer is the core layer.  This layer is the core of the floor.  Usually this layer is made of particle board.

Hardwood floors- What is the difference?

Hardwood floors are different in other areas as well.  Many different species of hardwood will actually get darker over time as they age if exposed to light.  While this may be attractive to some, if you have area rugs in light, you won't be able to move them without the flooring underneath looking bleached.  Alternatively, laminate will look the same as the day it came out of the box.

Hardwood floors are also easier to repair if the planks become damaged.  They can be sanded down and restained if your floors get dented or scratched.  This isn't the case with laminate.  Typically, if a section get damaged, you will have to replace it with new laminate flooring.  This could become a problem as you will have to match flooring.

As far as bang for your buck is concerned, hardwood flooring wins straight out.  Hard wood floors will almost always increase the value of a home as it is considered more valuable.  Laminate will not do so.  Of course, you will pay more for hardwood and the price differences could be as high as $10-15 including labor for high quality wood.

The bottom line is that while the differences between laminate and wood floors aren't as huge as you may think from a looks perspective, making the decision between the two really depends on what you want and your budget.  If you aren't trying to increase the value of your home or have kids or pets and are looking for something more scratch or dent resistant, then laminate flooring may be what you are looking for.  However, if you are looking to increase the equity of your home or are looking for a more natural or organic feel to your house and don't mind paying for it, then hardwood is the way to go.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)