Trying to decide between solid wood and laminate flooring? Read this article to help you make your decisionWritten by: Yarl Christie
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?
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. They come with a tongue and groove installation system, though they also need to be nailed down for a secure finish.
You can purchase solid wood flooring in pre-finished or unfinished variations. Pre-finished options tend to be the most popular, coming in lacquered, oiled, or stained finishes. Unfinished boards need to be finished by hand after the floor has been installed.
Solid wood flooring is mostly constructed from oak, though more exotic woods are also available such as maple and walnut. There are hundreds of designs available, and when solid wood floors are maintained correctly, they can last for decades before they need to be replaced.
We have an in-depth article describing what solid wood flooring is here if you wish to learn more.
What is Laminate Flooring?
Laminate flooring is a multi-layered synthetic wooden floor, durable and tough in nature. These floors typically contain a transparent protective layer, placed over a photographic layer for stunning aesthetics.
At one time, laminate floors were the most popular option for homeowners due to their versatility and cheaper cost in comparison to real wood floors. The introduction of advanced LVT and SPC floors has given homeowners a much wider choice of flooring. However, laminate still remains popular thanks to improvements in the way it is constructed.
Modern laminate floors are eco-friendly, highly realistic, and they offer superb value for money. Some of their main benefits include:
- Highly durable design
- A huge choice of styles
- Water resistance
- Easy maintenance and installation
- Underfloor heating compatibility
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.
You will find laminate flooring comes in a vast array of designs for you to choose from, guaranteeing something to suit your existing décor. Alongside stone and solid wood designs, you can also choose from abstract and parquet style designs.
Laminate also boasts good water resistance. They aren’t waterproof so you should avoid installing them in the bathroom. With that being said, it is possible to find waterproof laminate flooring, which could be installed in any area.
You will generally find laminate a breeze to maintain and install. 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.
Finally, laminate floors won’t warp when exposed to changes in temperature. This means laminate floors can be installed with underfloor heating, keeping the room warm and cosy all year round.
What are the Differences Between Solid Wood and Laminate Floors?
Solid wood and laminate floors are both very different, but they do feature similar designs. When trying to choose the right option for you, consider the following:
- Moisture and temperature changes
- How much wear and tear the floor will be exposed to
- Your budget
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.
How much wear and tear the floor will be up against is another important consideration. While solid wood floors can last for decades when well looked after, they aren’t much of a match against children and pets. In family rooms, laminate would be the safest choice, but solid wood could work extremely well as a bedroom, dining room or home office flooring. 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.
How much can you afford to spend on your new floor? Don’t just take into account the initial price of the flooring. You also need to consider the cost of installation for example. When installing solid wood floors, it is always recommended you get it done professionally. Laminate on the other hand can often be installed without professional help. You can read more about how to install laminate flooring here.
Finally, 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.
Solid wood and laminate floors are two completely different options. 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. When choosing between the two, always consider the pros and cons of each option, alongside the factors mentioned above.
You can purchase laminate flooring here.
You can purchase solid wood flooring here.