What is Laminate flooring and how does it differ from hardwood Flooring?
With hundreds of different flooring product choices on the market, homeowners want to make informed decisions. One of the most common areas of confusion has to do with the difference between hardwood flooring and laminated flooring, oftentimes referred to as “laminated hardwood” or “Pergo”.
What is Laminated Flooring?
Laminate wood flooring is manmade flooring that usually contains a layers of compressed high density fiberboard (HDF), sandwiched between layers of synthetic material.
- There is an outer layer, which is the actual laminated layer. It protects the material from normal wear and tear such as scuffing.
- Beneath this thin layer is a highly realistic, high resolution photographic image of wood. The sole purpose of this layer is to create a visual illusion of actual wood.
- Then comes an inner core of high-density fiberboard, made of fibers, compressed at high temperatures and fused together with chemical adhesive. This layer adds structural strength to this product.
- Finally, at the bottom of the flooring where it contacts the subfloor, there is a backing that serves as a moisture barrier to prevent the floor from swelling and warping.
Laminate is fast and easy to install, and some of it simply snaps into place without nails or glues. But it is also much less stable than a hardwood floor, and offers none of the warm aesthetics of authentic wood.
Price versus Longevity
Laminated flooring is considerably cheaper than real hardwoods, which is its biggest selling feature. But when we’re talking about something that will become a permanent part of your home, it’s important to break down those financial calculations to make sure they take everything into account.
Let’s say, for example, that you’re building a house and you expect to live in for the rest of your life and then perhaps pass it on to your children. Many laminated floors can be expected to last 5 to 10 years. But hardwoods typically last a minimum of 75 years, and some of them have been around for centuries.
Maintenance and Repair
Meanwhile laminated flooring cannot be repaired, which greatly limits its sustainability. You may have no choice but to rip up the entire floor and replace it with something new. Do that two or three times and a cheap laminate floor may wind up costing twice as much as a real hardwood floor.
Real hardwood is much more durable, and can be repaired is necessary. Repair it, sand it, or if you desire, stain it to a different shade. The same hardwood floor can be used for generations as long as it’s well maintained.