Hardwood vs. Laminate: What’s the Difference?

Helen Skeates
Helen Skeates
39 min read

Laminate flooring is a less expensive alternative to actual hardwood, yet many people consider solid hardwood to be the real deal. Solid hardwood cut from a tree in 3/4-inch thick boards is unquestionably a high-quality flooring option. Laminate flooring, on the other hand, isn’t necessarily a bad option. There is a place for both solid hardwood floors and laminate floors, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.


Solid Hardwood vs. Laminate Flooring: Major Differences

The term “solid hardwood flooring” refers to flooring boards that are made entirely of solid hardwood. With a 3/4-inch thickness and tongue-and-groove edges that interlock to hold the boards together, the boards are milled with a smooth top surface. The boards are typically installed by hammering blind nails through the tongues of the boards into the subfloor. Once the installation is complete, the floor is stained and varnished if the planks are unpainted. Prefinished solid hardwood flooring, on the other hand, is becoming increasingly popular.

Duke - Malvern Oak Laminate Flooring | Flooring Superstore

Fiberboard formed out of wood byproducts is used to make laminate flooring’s core layer. This is then covered by a pattern layer that is printed to seem like wood or another material. It has a transparent, strong wear layer that is resistant to scratches and stains. The design layer is protected by this layer. Click-lock edges allow laminate flooring boards to be secured together even if they are just 6 to 12 mm (1/4 to 1/2 inch) thick. This is a floor that doesn’t need to be nailed or glued down.


Solid Hardwood

There can be no doubt that hardwood flooring is one of the most prestigious building materials. Laminate’s counterfeit premium species, like as red or white oak, are sometimes less appealing than real hardwoods.


High-quality laminate flooring can fool the eye into thinking it’s made from real wood. Laminate flooring, on the other hand, can nearly always be distinguished from real hardwood by a detailed inspection. A surface grain texture and a random repetition pattern are now included in newer, higher-quality laminates, although the mimicry still falls short of perfection.

Best for Appearance: Solid Hardwood

Solid hardwood flooring is significantly more appealing than laminate flooring, and there’s no question about it.

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Water and Heat Resistance

Solid Hardwood

Solid hardwood, despite its popularity in kitchens, is not advised for damp areas. Standing water and floods can harm solid hardwood flooring, and it is not recommended that it be installed on top of concrete slabs (engineered hardwood flooring is a better choice in these situations). Radiant heating systems should not be used to install hardwood flooring because the boards can shrink, causing the seams to open up.


The fiberboard core and borders of laminate flooring can swell and chip if water gets into the gaps between the planks, despite its water- and stain-resistance. Not appropriate for moist locations like bathrooms. Laminate flooring can be put over radiant heating systems because of its heat resistance.

Best for Water and Heat Resistance: Laminate

Laminate is a better choice for humid areas, such as installation against concrete slabs, than solid hardwood flooring, although neither is good for moist areas. The heat resistance of laminate flooring is another benefit.

Care and Cleaning

Solid Hardwood

Simple methods for cleaning a solid hardwood floor include vacuuming and damp mopping. Polyurethane varnish seals today’s wood floors, and they should not be polished or waxed.


Laminate flooring can be cleaned with a vacuum or broom, making them ideal for households with children or pets. Laminate floor cleaning should be used to moisten a damp mop for mopping. Waxing is not required at any time. Avoid using too much water, and never use a steam cleaner to clean your house.

Best for Care and Cleaning: Tie

Both flooring materials are easy to care for.

Durability and Maintenance

Solid Hardwood

Floors made of either wood or tile are easy to maintain.


When it comes to impact resistance, laminate flooring holds up better than most. Laminate flooring can be gouged or damaged if a heavy object is struck with enough force. The expected lifespan of this product is no more than ten years. Laminate can be damaged by water infiltration, chair leg scrapes, and even UV rays. Refinishing or sanding laminate flooring is out of the question. Replacement is the only option when something is damaged beyond repair.

Loft - Natural Oak Laminate Flooring | Direct Wood Flooring

Best for Durability and Maintenance: Solid Hardwood

Durability is a strong suit for hardwood floors. Hardwood and laminate flooring require about the same amount of maintenance to keep them looking their best.


Solid Hardwood

Non-professionals will have a difficult time installing solid hardwood. It’s necessary to rent specialized equipment like a floor nailer or stapler. After the planks are put, the unfinished flooring must be sanded and completed; this is a job best left to the pros. Installing prefinished hardwood flooring eliminates the need to finish it afterwards.


Laminate flooring is a favorite among do-it-yourselfers because of its ease of installation. Since this flooring floats on top of a thin layer of foam underlayment, no nails or glue are required to assemble the planks. Although it is possible to lay laminate flooring below grade, it is not the greatest choice for basements.

Best for Installation: Laminate

Laminate has an obvious benefit in this area—a it’s lot easier for DIYers to put down than hardwood.


Solid Hardwood

Depending on the species, you may expect to pay anywhere from $4 to $12 per square foot for solid hardwood flooring, with an average of $8. Oak, maple, and ash are among the most common hardwoods, with prices ranging from $4 to $5 per square foot. Prices start at $5 per square foot for common species wide-format plank flooring and higher for uncommon species narrow-format plank flooring.


The average price of laminate flooring is between $1 and $3 per square foot. Designer flooring is also available, with prices ranging from $10 to $12 per square foot. The best and most expensive products are distinguished by thicker wear layers.

Best for Cost: Laminate

The price of laminate flooring is significantly less than that of genuine hardwood flooring. Installing the flooring yourself allows you to save even more money.


Solid Hardwood

With proper maintenance and refinishing, solid hardwood floors can easily last a century or more.


Laminate floors have a life expectancy of 10–20 years, depending on usage.

Best for Lifespan: Solid Hardwood

Solid hardwood floors last far longer than laminate floors. When it comes to refinishing hardwood floors, solid hardwood floors can last for decades before needing to be replaced.


Solid Hardwood

Most solid hardwood flooring comes in 48-inch long boards with a width of 1 1/2 inches or 2 1/4 inches, but wider planks up to 6 inches or more can be found. Almost all of the planks are 3/4-inch-thick.


In general, laminate flooring is available in planks that are at least 4 inches wide and at least 48 inches in length. Depending on the quality, planks can be anywhere from 6 mm to 12 mm thick.

Best for Sizes: Tie

The sizing criteria of one type of flooring are not superior to those of another type of flooring.

Resale Value

Solid Hardwood

If it’s in decent condition, hardwood flooring almost always adds a lot of value to a home. Like fine porcelain or genuine stone tile, it is a high-end floor covering option.


In terms of real estate value, laminate flooring isn’t much better than a dirty carpet or vinyl floor, but it’s better than nothing.

Best for Resale Value: Solid Hardwood

If properly maintained, hardwood flooring never fail to amaze real estate agents and potential purchasers.

Comfort and Sound

Solid Hardwood

Underfoot, hardwood floors can be rough and noisy, especially beneath the heel of a woman’s shoe or a dog’s paw. Radiant heating systems do not work with these floors, despite their solidity.


Installed on a foam underlayment, laminate flooring is typically a bit soft underfoot. However, if the subfloor isn’t precisely flat, the floating floor may bend. In addition, the clicks of shoes and pet toenails can be heard through the hard plastic surface. In order to produce a warm and cozy surface, laminate flooring can be put over radiant heating systems.

Best for Comfort and Sound: Laminate

Despite the fact that both laminate and hardwood have nearly identical properties, some individuals prefer the more forgiving feel of laminate.

The Verdict

Solid hardwood flooring is the way to go if you care about appearance, long-term use, and resale value. Laminate flooring, on the other hand, is a choice if you’re on a tight budget or want to do the installation yourself. Although laminate flooring cannot be mistaken for real hardwood by the untrained eye, it can serve a useful purpose in a variety of settings. Solid hardwood flooring is still the finest option if you want to increase the value of your property.

Top Brands

Laminate and solid hardwood are both available from a number of well-known national brands:

  • AIP now owns Bruce, which was formerly held by Armstrong (American Industrial Partners). Laminate and hardwood flooring are available from the company. Home improvement stores all around the country carry its items.
  • Shaw Carpet A wide range of flooring options are available from low-cost laminates to high-end hardwoods, all of which are available through Shaw Flooring. Specialty flooring stores are the primary outlets for the company’s products. At $3 per square foot, its laminate flooring is sold mostly at big-box home improvement stores.
  • Mohawk: This firm offers both solid and engineered hardwood (TecWood) as well as a wide range of wood-look laminates (RevWood).

How Long Does Laminate Flooring Last?

Laminate flooring has a long lifespan. Laminate flooring can last anywhere from 15 to 25 years or more, depending on the quality.

When it comes to choosing the appropriate flooring for your home, it’s more than simply a matter of looks.

If you’ve ever asked, “how long does laminate flooring last?” The response may come as a surprise, especially in light of the numerous new goods currently being developed.

The Basics Of Laminate Flooring

“How long does laminate flooring last?” is a common question. You might be surprised by the response, especially in light of the several new goods currently on the market.

In the kitchen and bathrooms, laminate flooring is an excellent choice because it is water-resistant. This unusual floor is made up of several layers of different materials, including adhesives, to ensure its sturdiness.

The design is printed and embossed all the way through the laminate when you select a finish or design for it. Laminated floors are more durable than those made of vinyl because the colors and patterns are displayed throughout the floor rather than simply on the surface.

A clear protective coating is applied once the laminate has been created. Protecting the floor from fading and water damage is one of the benefits of this coating.

Thickness of laminate flooring can have an impact on the overall cost and lifespan of a floor. However, thicker laminate is more durable, but it is also more expensive.

Laminate flooring is equivalent to hardwood in terms of general durability because it resists warping and dents and dings caused by impact. In most cases, laminate flooring may be laid in a single day.

Maintenance Tips

Laminate flooring, like everything else in your home, can last longer if you take proper care of it. It’s critical that you take adequate care of your flooring when it comes to cleaning and maintenance.

The question, “how long does laminate flooring last?” can’t be answered. Even if it’s just for upkeep, it has an impact. Using cleaning chemicals that won’t eat away at the laminate’s clear layer is essential.

Laminate floors should not be exposed to household cleaners like ammonia and vinegar. Acidic substances can chip away at the protective layer, which is why they’re so dangerous.

For laminate flooring, use a moist mop rather than a soaking wet mop to clean them. If water on laminate doesn’t dry soon, it might buckle or deform the floors.

To avoid scratching your laminate floors, keep your pet’s nails well-trimmed. Moisture can infiltrate beneath the top layer if sharp nails or other things penetrate the surface.

To clean your floors, grab a broom and a dustpan and go to work. If you’re worried about scratching your flooring while using your vacuum, consider investing in a soft-brush attachment.

Use a soft brush instead of a beater brush while vacuuming laminate floors. So that no scuff marks are left behind, only use your vacuum on the hard floor setting.

So, How Long Does Laminate Flooring Last?

Laminate flooring that is created by a reputable manufacturer should last at least ten years or more. Ensure that your flooring has a warranty, which may cover repairs in the event that it is damaged.

You should expect a longer lifespan for your laminate floors if they are thicker. There’s a lot to be said for the quality of the installation you’ve put in. Over time, if the laminate flooring is not put correctly, the laminate may warp, buckle, or become uneven.

Taking care of your laminate floors is also very important. Always use furniture feet to protect the legs of sofas and tables when possible. Cleaning your laminate floors on a regular basis will help them last longer.

Eight years is the bare minimum expected lifespan of your new laminate flooring. Laminate, on the other hand, can survive for more than a decade if properly cared for and protected.

The amount of foot traffic in a given space might also affect the lifespan of your laminate floors. For example, laminate floors may only last a decade if you live in a busy family with pets and children.

Rooms that aren’t used as much, like a living room or kitchen, tend to show their age more gracefully. Laminate flooring can last up to 25 years if you live alone or with your significant other. It all boils down to the laminate’s quality, how well it’s maintained, and how much abuse it’s put through.

An Investment In Your Home Made To Last

Laminate flooring can last anywhere from a decade or more, while there is no definitive solution to the age-old issue of “how long does laminate flooring last?” As long as you take proper care of your laminate flooring, you can expect it to last for many years to come.

To be safe, only go for laminate floors that are covered by a manufacturer’s warranty and come from well-respected brands. Your new floors will look great for many years to come if you follow the instructions for installation and take proper care of them.

Visit our website or get in touch with us today to learn more about our selection of flooring options.

By How Much Can Hardwood Flooring Increase My Home’s Value?

It’s likely that you’ve looked into solid and engineered hardwood options if you’re thinking about redoing the flooring in your home. Hardwood is not only clean, stylish, and gorgeous, but it is also possibly the most valuable flooring option on the market.

How much value hardwood flooring add to a home is still up for debate, but it’s certain that potential buyers will find them appealing. With that in mind, homeowners will want to be sure that they are getting a good return on their investment by installing hardwood flooring in their homes.

You can expect a 75% return on investment if you install hardwood floors, and of course, easy to install hardwood floors, which is consistent regardless of whether you choose solid or engineered hardwood flooring. 2,000 square feet of hardwood will cost $18,000 if built at $9 per square foot (the national average ranges from $6 to $12 per square foot). A homeowner can anticipate to improve the value of their home by $13,500, therefore the true cost of installation is only $4,500. ” When compared to less expensive flooring options like carpet or laminate, which have no effect on the home’s resale value, going with hardwood can be a wise investment.

Many variables, such as the home’s location, installation quality, and how well the floors blend with the rest of the house’s features, can affect the return on your investment when installing hardwood floors. To get a sense of how hardwood floors can fit in your house, have a look at some of the unique possibilities from From the Forest, and consider the following ideas in order to get the most out of your hardwood investment.

Warm Up Your Hardwood

In the morning or during chilly weather, hard flooring options tend to feel cold. As a result, hardwood flooring may be overlooked in favor of carpeted homes, but there is a remedy to this problem.

Consider installing radiant floor heating in conjunction with your hardwood floors if you want to keep your floors warm. Under your hardwood floor, this stove-like heating system keeps your floors at a reasonable temperature all the time. As a bonus, eliminating cold spots that central heating would otherwise have to work extra to eliminate can add value to a home and entice purchasers, the even distribution of heat radiating from the floor.


Look to Customized Fixtures for the Assist

Handrails and newly placed hardwood floors go nicely together, especially if they’re custom-made for your home. These modern fixtures are available in a wide range of styles that will perfectly match the look of your hardwood.

These handrails are not only visually appealing, but they also improve the safety of your home, making them an excellent choice for hardwood floors.

Make Sure Kitchen Upgrades Match the Hardwood

In the kitchen, a non-staining, durable surface is a must, and hardwood is likely to be the first option selected.

A well-balanced makeover of a kitchen might yield a higher return on investment. For this reason, a home with elegant hardwood flooring and contemporary appliances and cabinets may be more attractive to potential buyers. To maximize the value of your hardwood investment, modernize other aspects of the kitchen as well, with the following ideas as good places to start:

  • Acrylic countertops are a long-lasting, nonporous replacement for outdated surfaces.
  • Replace closed storage units with open shelves.
  • Use a bar as a barrier instead of a full-length wall to open up the room.


What Are Laminate Floors And How Are They Made?

Floors made from laminate are easy to maintain and look like hardwood, but they’re more durable and appealing than real wood. Laminate flooring, despite its resemblance to real wood, contains no actual wood. The elements that go into laminate floors are glued together under great pressure to form a single unit. Underneath the HDF layer of most laminate flooring lies a moisture-resistant layer (high density fiberboard). High-resolution images of genuine wood flooring complete the look. It is then protected from wear and tear with a clear, ultra-durable layer manufactured from resin-coated cellulose. If you’re looking to save money and time on a floor but still want the look and feel of real hardwood, laminate flooring is for you. Laminate flooring is also more environmentally friendly since it consumes less wood and makes more efficient use of the wood fiber that is utilized in its manufacture.

What Is The Difference Between Laminate Flooring And Hardwood Flooring?

Flooring options such as laminate and hardwood can make a home more attractive. The advantages of laminate flooring outweigh the disadvantages of hardwood. Laminate flooring is generally seen as a more attractive option because of the distinct distinctions between the two. Only above-grade installations of solid hardwood (typically 3/8″ to 3/4″) are recommended. Any type of floor can be covered with laminate, whether it’s above or below grade. There are some engineered hardwood floors, which are created from a variety of woods, with a hardwood veneer on top, rather than solid hardwood. There are multiple layers of laminate flooring, which is typically 7mm to 8mm thick (3/8″ to 3/8″). Stability and sturdiness are ensured by laminating them together. Laminate flooring has a picture of hardwood on the top surface. The texture and color of natural hardwood are faithfully reproduced in high-quality pictures, and the surfaces of fine laminate flooring are very similar to the real thing. Laminated flooring is gradually becoming one of the most popular flooring options despite the fact that many people still prefer hardwood.

How Do Laminate Floor Panels Lock Together?

There are many types of edge joining systems used to connect laminate flooring panels together. Some laminate flooring connections snap together by hand while others require a light tap with a mallet and a tapping block. Still others use a combination of a “snap” click edge and a “bang” or “tap” click at the end of the panels. While most of the various systems work well to secure your laminate floor, it is important to read your laminate flooring installation instructions carefully. Familiarize yourself with how your flooring locks together before starting your installation.

Where Can I Install Laminate Wood Flooring?

In order to join laminate flooring panels, various edge joining technologies are employed. Some laminate flooring connectors snap together with a simple touch with a mallet and a tapping block, while others require a light tap with a mallet. Others combine a “snap” edge click with a “boom” or “tap” click at the end of the panels. Still others. Reading your laminate flooring installation instructions thoroughly is essential despite the fact that most of the solutions work well to secure your laminate floor Before beginning the installation process, familiarize yourself with how your flooring locks together.

What Are The Advantages Of Laminate Flooring Over Those Of Solid Hardwood Flooring ?

Laminate flooring has the obvious advantage of being less expensive than traditional hardwood flooring. Depending on the type of flooring in question, the savings can be much more significant. The installation process for laminate flooring is supposed to be simple, making it a good option for most DIYers, but real hardwood flooring needs a certain amount of skill. Laminate installation does not necessitate the use of nails, and in many situations, adhesive as well. As a result, installing laminate flooring is a rapid and low-cost process. In terms of scratch and fade resistance, laminate flooring is generally meant to be superior to solid hardwood flooring.

What Do I Need To Know Before I Start Installing My Laminate Floor?

When installing laminate flooring, there are many factors to keep in mind. Preparation ahead of time will make the procedure of installing your laminate floor a breeze.

  • Flatten, dry, and smooth up your subfloor.
  • Flatten, dry, and smooth up your subfloor.
  • Make sure your laminate floor is soundproofed by installing underlayment underneath it.
  • When laying laminate flooring above radiant heating, take extra precautions. The laminate flooring and radiant heating instructions should be thoroughly reviewed before beginning. ‘ /li>
  • Make sure you follow the directions provided by the manufacturer of your laminate flooring.
  • For as long as feasible, allow your laminate flooring to acclimate to the room in which it will be installed (min. 48 hours)
  • Before installing laminate flooring, thoroughly inspect each panel for any faults or damage.

What Do I Have To Do Before Installation?

When installing laminate flooring in a room, the boards need to be acclimatized for at least 48 hours. A temperature of at least 65°F (15°C) should be maintained during installation. Before, during, and three days after the installation, a floor surface temperature of 59°F and an overall room temperature of 64°F must be ensured.

Is it necessary to stagger my laminate flooring planks indefinitely?

I want to put down laminate flooring, but I’m not sure which way to go.

Will There Be Any Cutting Waste?

About 5% to 10% of a normal installation’s total surface area will be wasted due to various factors, including cuts, planks damaged during installation, or mistakes.

What Is The Reason For The Necessary 10mm Gap Left Around The Perimeter Of The Interior And Around Other Obstacles Within It?

Because laminate flooring is made from wood, it expands and contracts with temperature and humidity changes in the environment. There must be an expansion gap in every effective installation in order to allow for expansion of the floor when temperature and humidity change. Laminate flooring expands outward when exposed to higher humidity or warmer temperatures. Individual laminate flooring boards can buckle when they push against walls or other obstacles if an outside space is not included in the installation.

I Didn’t Get My First Row Straight. Can I Continue?

Don’t go any further. The most important component of a successful installation is ensuring that the first row is perfectly straight. The entire installation will be compromised if the first rows are not correctly aligned or if the joints are not tightly sealed. It will get worse as you continue to install. To avoid wedge-shaped gaps, all planks must be parallel to one another on the sides and ends. Poor alignment can also be the result of residue getting stuck in the grooves. Prior to installation, make certain that all grooves have been well cleaned.


Flooring with hardwood often returns about 75% of the money invested in it, making it an excellent choice for homeowners who want to raise the value of their property. While there are many varieties of wood flooring to choose from, it is important to make sure that your hardwood floors meet or surpass this standard, as well as incorporate an innovative floor heating system, tailored fixtures, and comparable kitchen renovations. Consider spending some time visiting From the Forest to get some creative inspiration on how to use hardwood in your home decor.

Helen Skeates

Helen Skeates

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