Differences between laminated and solid flooring

- May 07, 2020-


 LaminateHardwood
Make-up/ConstructionComposite made of layers of fibers in melamine, photographic layer, and coatingsSolid wood
Typical locations/useHigh traffic areas and rooms like offices, bedrooms, dens, living rooms, sometimes kitchens. Not great choice in wet areas like bathrooms, but better than hardwood, and requires increased maintenance, can be used in kitchen with precautions.Most residential rooms(not a great choice in bathrooms, engineered wood is better choice), not recommended below grade.
Durability"Good scratch and abrasion resistance, cannot be refinished
rated AC1 to AC6
some say will only last ten years"
Is susceptible to scratches from things like pets, but can be refinished a number of times, wear patterns may show in high traffic areas
CleaningEasy to clean, soap and water, should clean spills immediately and do not let water stand for extended periodsNeed to minimize water and treat with oil?
LimitationsStanding or extended periods of exposure to liquid waterSlabs-on-ground w/ no vapor retarder, wet areas
FinishPrefinished at factory, photo in clear resin based coatingStain, clear coat (can be applied on site or at the factory)
InstallationFloating floor, adhered - easier and is often labled as DIY friendlyNailed, floating, glued - considered on the hard side to install
Thickness1/4 in. (6 mm) to 1/2 in. (12 mm)3/4 in. (5/16 in. is also available)
Edge connectionLocking tongue and groove that "snap" togetherButt, spline, shiplap, tongue in groove
Dimensional StabilityIs more dimensionally stable with changes in humidity than hardwood and less requirements for expansion jointsSwells with high humidity and can cup, shrinks with low humidity, flutes often cut into back of plank (absorption strips) to help with cupping
Expansion joints40 ft. run max., and need 5/16 to 3/8 in. perimeter joints, t strips at doors and on large floorsNeed 3/4 perimeter joints, about 10 x 12 is max, and on larger floor "dime" or "washer" gaps in center of large floors, can also use splines in center to reverse direction of grain, on maple gym floors 3, 6 or 10 ft. exp. Joints
On Site ConditioningAcclimate 1 to 3 days onsite, some products not as senstive to humidty as hardwood"Acclimate three days minimum
MUST DO MOISTURE TEST TO COMFIRM MOISTURE CONTENT OF SUBSTRATE TOO"
SunlightUV inhibitor in top coatCan fade at different rates (e.g carpet covered section vs. bare floor)
ResaleSurprised to find some realtors stating that quality laminate is desirable and helps to sell homesConsidered to add value by some, also seen as higher end floor material