Laminate vs. Hardwood Flooring Angies List

Laminate vs. Hardwood Flooring Angies List

Laminate vs. hardwood flooring

Consumers have a lot of choices when it comes to flooring. Solid hardwoods are still an enormously popular choice, but laminate flooring has come a long way, and some consumers prefer the benefits of synthetic materials. To uncover the pros and cons of each, we went to Maria Friscia, owner Freedom Flooring Co. in Cornelius, N.C.

Friscia has been in the flooring and restoration business for 18 years and says she takes a customer driven approach to every job. “Knowledge, expertise and personal attention is how we create beauty,” Friscia says.

What’s the major difference between solid hardwood and laminate flooring?

Hardwood floors are an excellent choice for any part of the home, except for bathrooms due to the high moisture.  Hardwood flooring comes in two basic types: solid wood planks or engineered planks. The solid type is made from a single piece of timber that has been milled to a uniform size, and they do not contain a core or underlying layer.

Advances in production techniques make it easier for manufacturers to turn out high quality flooring that looks like real wood. Engineered hardwood floors, sometimes called laminate hardwood floors, are manufactured by laminating several individual layers together, but it’s still considered a hardwood floor because the surface layer is a thin slice of real hardwood veneer. The difference is that the visible textured layer is not real wood, but a high quality image of wood, or other natural texture, that is stuck on to the substrate or underlying core layer.

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What are the benefits of laminate flooring?

Laminate has a benefit over hardwood because it’s constructed with built-in tongue and groove joints that make for easy installation with no need for messy glues or adhesives. It is also factory pre-finished, which means that it can be used the moment it has been laid in place.

What are the benefits of solid hardwood?

Solid hardwood is much more durable than laminate. They can be sanded and refinished with the same results and it can easily last more than 50 years.

Laminate vs. Hardwood Flooring Angies List

There are also advantages to finished and unfinished hardwood. If you want to match the existing woodwork, you may wish to go with unfinished so it can be stained to blend in. However, prefinished also has some great benefits: longer finish warranties, uniform stain application, and a cleaner environment. Also, the direction the boards are laid make a difference; diagonal boards make the room appear larger, but you’ll need more material.

How do you clean and maintain hardwood floors?

Hardwood floors require little maintenance and cleaning is easy. Periodically mop them with a product that is safe for urethane finishes, and don’t use oil- or ammonia-based cleaners. Always blot spills and spots with a damp cloth as soon as they happen. For tough spots, such as paint, markers or lipstick, use mineral spirits on a clean white cloth, then wipe with a damp cloth. Wood goes through a natural aging process called patina. Sunlight can also accelerate this condition. Moving area rugs or other items that may cause this effect from time to time is recommended.

How does pricing and installation vary?

The price of hardwood flooring depends on the species of tree and the application, and usually starts at $5.50 per square foot. Installation time will vary depending on the square footage, finish and if installing engineered or solid hardwood floors. If installing a prefinished hardwood floor, you can move your furniture back the same day.

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