If you are considering using laminate wood flooring in some or all of your home and are wondering about the difference between laminate and wood, you may get a lot of different opinions. Laminate wood flooring has been used in Europe for decades and only in the last 20 years or so has it become more popular in the United States. But, it is not for everyone and every situation. Before you choose laminate wood flooring for your home, you should compare the qualities of both wood and laminate.
1. Installation: In the last few years both laminate wood flooring and real wood floors have become easier to install. They often use some kind of interlocking system, where you fit strips together without the use of glue, nails or staples. But, although most laminate wood flooring is made this way now, a lot of real wood flooring is not. If you plan on installing the floor yourself, with real wood or laminate, you should consider using the interlocking system. Laminate can be installed over virtually any surface, but wood cannot be installed over some surfaces.
2. Durability: Real wood floors are durable for the long term, but they require a lot of care. If they are not specially treated with aluminum oxide they will scratch and stain fairly easily. Unlike laminate, it is also prone to fading if it is exposed to direct sunlight. Laminate wood flooring on the other hand, is resistant to both scratches and stains. Both types of floors can be damaged by excessive moisture, so care should be taken if they are used in a bathroom or kitchen.
3. Care: A damp mop is all that is required to clean laminate wood floors. Real wood floors will require polishing and refinishing occasionally. Wet spills should be cleaned up quickly on either type of floor to avoid it getting underneath the boards and damaging the floor.
4. Longevity: A real wood floor can last 25 years or more with proper care. Laminate will not last more than 20.
5. Cost: Real wood is generally more expensive than laminate.