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Comparing Hardwood Flooring versus Laminate Flooring

Overview of Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood Flooring vs Laminate Floors

Overview of Laminate Floors

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See the Hardwood Flooring Section on FloorFacts.com for more detailed information about hardwood floors.

Overview of Laminate Floors

Laminate floors combine a realistic impression of real hardwood, stone and tile with an extremely durable finish. These floors have become a popular alternative to real hardwood and vinyl floors. laminate flooring
  • Laminate floors are NOT real wood floors
  • Laminate floors are extremely impact, scratch, sunlight fade and stain resistant
  • Although laminate floors are extremely tough, they can be scratched by big dogs or dragging heavy objects across the floor.
  • Laminate flooring come in 3 types:
    • Installer has to apply special glue
      • Special glue is applied manually to the tongue & grooves of each plank.
      • floating floor installation
      • Not very common anymore
    • Glueless floating laminate floors
      • No glue, just click, or snap-fit lock planks together
      • Most laminate floors are of this type
    • Factory pre-glued, floating laminate floors
      • The glue is applied at the factory. Just moisten the plank tongue and insert into adjacent plank.
      • Some laminates use this method, not many
  • Trims and moldings are available for laminate floors. Moldings are laminated over a fiber core so they match the floor, or the moldings can also be made from real wood and color coordinate with the flooring.
  • Laminate flooring uses the floating installation method, which means:
    • Laminate floors just rest on top of the subfloor. They are never secured or fastened to the substrate below. Instead they just lay on top of the substrate. Specially designed tongue-and-groove interlocking systems to secure planks together.
    • Float entire floor over a variety of sub floor materials, such as plywood, OSB, existing vinyl flooring, concrete slabs, etc...
    • You never have to glue-down, staple down, or nail-down laminate flooring.
    • Even though these floors are floated the sub floor still must be level for locking planks together.
  • Most laminate floors can be used anywhere within the home, including wet area (but may not be warrantied).
  • Laminate floors do not need a wax or polish.
  • Excessive moisture may affect a laminate floor's inner core and overall performance
  • Laminate planks are not easily repaired. There are touch-up kits and chip repair kits, but difficult to find.
  • Laminate floors require a thin, special padding underneath the planks so they can move freely.
  • Laminate floors can be fairly noisy when walked on. Special underlayment paddings are made to help reduce the noise level.
  • Glueless laminate floors are a very good do-it-yourself product
  • Highly resistant to the effects of sunlight
  • Most laminate floors can be used over radiant heated concrete slabs
  • Mostly used for: family rooms, living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms and dens.

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