How to tell the difference between hardwood and laminate flooring

Laminate flooring has become very popular in recent years because of its durability and low cost. But, how do you know the difference between laminate flooring and hardwood? Is one better than the other? What should you be looking for when comparing these two flooring types? The following guide will help you tell the difference between hardwood and laminate flooring. Read on to learn more!

What is laminate flooring?

Laminate Floor is a man-made product that looks just like real wood or stone but costs far less. While that may seem like a great deal, you also have less durability. Laminate floor will stain much easier than most other floors, and it won’t handle moisture well either. You can get more information by clicking here.

So, if you live in an area prone to flooding or just have kids who are likely to spill something at some point, it’s probably not right for your space. Plus, many people find that laminate wears down quickly compared with real wood floors. The good news? If your space is pretty low traffic—or you install it yourself—you can get away with spending less on laminate.

What is engineered wood?

Engineered wood is a composite of all sorts of different materials, including scraps that would otherwise go unused. The manufacturing process combines these scraps with high-quality, durable materials like rubber wood, mahogany or maple (making engineered wood one of few eco-friendly options). 

Laminate flooring can come from both kinds of wood. On top of adding durability to your floors, you get additional color variety in laminate when compared with other types of engineered wood; at least 15 different color options are available. Like many manufactured products on the market today, engineered woods may have been produced by a chemical process called particleboard manufacturing; find out if your product uses chemical adhesives or has been tested for formaldehyde emissions before making a purchase.

What is solid wood?

Hardwood floors are a beautiful addition to any room. From aesthetics to durability, it’s easy to see why people choose hardwood over other types of flooring. The main advantage of using wood floors is that they add more character than their counterparts; there’s nothing quite like a well-crafted wooden table or dresser. 

Since wood naturally absorbs moisture, it tends not to scratch or chip easily, either—meaning you can use it for years without worrying about major problems.

What are the benefits of hardwood floors?

Hardwood floors have a classic, elegant look that comes with durability. They are thicker than most other types of floors and can last as long as 40 years without requiring a refinishing. Additionally, hardwood floors offer excellent sound-proofing—welcome news for anyone who shares their home with neighbors. 

However, hardwood has a tendency to become scratched or damaged over time, particularly if you have children or pets. It’s also not quite as resistant to water damage as you might think; spills should be immediately cleaned up for best results. Finally, wood is heavier than most other floor types on average, making it difficult or impossible to install in basements without additional support structures.

Other Questions About Wood Floors

Wood floors are an excellent investment in any home. They can help make a small house feel larger and give a cold or sterile condo some much-needed warmth. However, there are several types of wood flooring available on today's market, as well as other kinds of floors that look like wood but aren't. It can be confusing deciding what type is right for you without having a professional come in and do a survey of your home.

Difference between hardwood and laminate flooring

1. Look for discolouration: Laminate is a man-made product made of plastic and wood-based materials. To increase its life span, manufacturers put finish on top of it. This layer can be damaged, so you should look for signs of discolouration before making your final decision. The damage may occur due to scratches or high temperatures, so check whether any part of your potential purchase shows these signs or not. If you’re trying to make a purchase, avoid samples that show marks on their surface. Make sure they come from parts of floors that aren’t visible when in use.

2. Look for dents: The first thing you should do is run your fingers over both types of floors; if you notice dents in a laminate, it's not real wood. Hardwood flooring is thicker than laminate—look for boards at least five-eighths of an inch thick (ideally, more)—which gives it a bit more bounce, or give, when you step on it. Planks will be numbered along one edge so that they can be laid down in sequence from one end of a room to another without interruption. If they're badly damaged, they'll need to be replaced individually rather than being able to swap out an entire section.

3. Look for staples: Laminate floors are glued together, while hardwood floors are nailed together. The best way to determine whether a floor is real wood or not is by doing a test scratch. Carefully run your fingernail along an edge of each board. If it leaves a mark, it's likely fake (and most likely laminate). If you don't feel any sort of resistance, then it's probably real wood. You can also lightly tap on each board with your knuckles. Any solid sounds that indicate wood are likely going to be made by real wood boards; hollow sound usually indicates laminate. One other way to check for quality: Look for defects in the material or glues—if there aren't any, you're looking at low-quality products.

4. Look at the wood grain: A quick way to tell if a floor is laminate or not is by looking at its pattern. If it has a wide, large pattern, you are likely dealing with a solid wood floor. Patterns that are smaller in scale often point to laminate or engineered wood floors. This method may be of little use when trying to differentiate between different types of engineered wood (like bamboo), but it is usually more than enough for hardwoods as they all have distinctive grain patterns.