Trying to decide between solid wood flooring and laminate flooring? Read this article to help you make your decisionWritten by: Yarl Christie
Published on: June 14, 2022
Solid Wood Flooring Vs Laminate Flooring
Trying to decide between solid wood and laminate flooring? While at one time, solid wood was the superior option, advancements in the sector have led to the development of higher-quality laminate flooring.
These days, there is very little difference between the two in terms of aesthetics, with both offering an attractive look and feel. So, what should you look at when trying to determine which flooring type is right for you? Discover everything you need to know to choose between solid wood and laminate flooring below…
What is Solid Wood Flooring Made Of?
Solid wood has long been considered one of the most attractive flooring types on the market. Packed with character, it adds a natural and authentic look to the space.
Made from a single piece of solid wood, the planks of these floors feature beautiful imperfections such as knots, sapwood, and mineral streaks. Most boards measure 3/4-inch thick, though different sizes are available.
Solid oak flooring is the most common type, though more exotic woods are also available such as maple and walnut.
What is Laminate Flooring Made Of?
Laminate flooring is constructed using multiple layers of synthetic wood. Laminate is durable and tough in nature. These floors typically contain a transparent protective layer, placed over a photographic layer for stunning aesthetics.
A tough HDF core sits in the centre of the planks, helping to provide durability and stability. Unlike solid wood floors, laminate planks feature a smooth surface.
Which is Waterproof?
Generally, neither solid wood nor laminate flooring is naturally waterproof. However, you can purchase speciality waterproof laminate flooring such as Lifestyle-Floors Love Aqua.
Solid wood floors are never waterproof, which means you’ll need to avoid installing them in moisture-prone areas. If solid wood floors are exposed to high levels of moisture, they will warp and become permanently damaged over time.
when solid wood floors are maintained correctly, they can last for decades before they need to be replaced. That said, it is easy to refurbish solid wooden floors, so if you do scratch your planks then you can sand them down and refinish them. Correctly done, this will make your wood floor look new.
All laminate floors are created to withstand daily wear and tear. Their protective surface helps to make them highly dent and scratch-resistant. This makes them a fantastic choice for homes with pets and children. However, they don’t boast the same level of longevity as solid wood floors. This means you will likely need to replace them sooner than you would with solid wood flooring.
That being said, you can find laminate floors are easy to clean and maintain and often come with a 20-25-year manufacturer's warranty, ensuring you still receive fantastic value for money.
Installing Solid Wood vs Laminate Flooring
You will generally find laminate flooring installation is simple, and if you are a DIY enthusiast then you will find it relatively easy. The floors come with a click system installation. This means you just click the tiles together for a secure fit. They can be installed over a variety of subfloors, and it doesn’t take much to keep them clean.
When installing solid wood floors, it is always recommended you get it done professionally. This is because they need to be nailed down correctly. There is a lot that can go wrong when you’re trying to install solid wood floors by yourself. So, if you’re looking for easy installation, laminate is the better option.
One of the most important things to consider is the room you will be installing your new floor into. Will there be frequent moisture and temperature changes? If so, you’ll want to avoid solid wood as this can warp, and instead opt for laminate.
Laminate can be installed in most areas of the home including the kitchen. However, as it isn’t naturally waterproof, you should avoid installing it in the bathroom. If you do want to add laminate flooring to your bathroom, make sure you are purchasing a waterproof variety.
In terms of sound insulation, laminate tends to be a little noisier underfoot than solid wood. However, you can invest in sound reducing underlay to address the issue.
Solid wood floors are naturally warmer to the touch than laminate, but you can increase the warmth of laminate by installing them alongside underfloor heating. Solid wood floors, on the other hand, are unsuitable for use with underfloor heating systems. We have a comprehensive guide on which floors are compatible with underfloor heating here.
Solid Wood & Laminate Effects & Styles
If authenticity is important to you, solid wood is the best choice. It is the only type of flooring that gives you true authenticity. That is, it feels solid underfoot, and provides natural aesthetics. However, laminate floors have come a long way since they were first introduced. These days you can find hyper-realistic looking floors that boast a range of synthetic effects.
With laminate floors, you can also opt for stone effects and abstract designs.
|Solid Wood Flooring
|Created with a single piece of hardwood
|Multi-layer synthetic construction, HDF core
|No, though waterproof varieties are available
|Excellent, though not as scratch resistant as laminate
|Excellent scratch resistance, can last for decades
|Nailed down or floating
|Lounge, bedroom, hallway, dining room, home office
|Kitchen, basement, conservatory, lounge, dining room, hallway, bedroom
|Excellent, though not compatible with underfloor heating
|Good, can be improved with underlay and underfloor heating
|Effects & Finishes
|Brushed, Handscraped, lacquered, oiled, stained
|Hyper-realistic real wood effects, abstract designs, stone effects
|Plank, Herringbone, Chevron, Versailles & Basket-Weave
|Plank, Herringbone, Chevron, Versailles & Basket-Weave
Both solid wood and laminate floors offer a range of pros and cons. The above are some of the most notable differences between the two. Laminate can look almost identical to real wood flooring, but it doesn’t produce the same authentic feel. It does however provide much more practicality and it is offered at a substantially lower price tag.
If you are struggling to make a decision about whether solid wood or laminate would be better, get in touch with our friendly flooring experts today.
Infographic: Laminate Flooring Vs Solid Wood Flooring
You can purchase laminate flooring here.
You can purchase solid wood flooring here.