Hardwood vs Laminate Flooring: Which Lasts Longer?
In terms of hard surface flooring, there are two products stand above the rest: real hardwood floors and photo based laminate floors. During the manufacturing process, materials are added to extend the life of these floors. Hardwood has a layer of aluminum oxide added for durability and protection, while laminate has several coatings of synthetic protection.
Hardwood and laminate floors are made in many sizes and thicknesses. Depending on the thickness and construction of the product, the manufacturer will designate a specific wear warranty that can range from 5 to 30 years or may last a lifetime. The wear warranty covers the wear layer or surface of the product.
There are two types of hardwood floors: engineered and solid wood. Engineered wood is constructed with multiple layers of wood with the top layer or veneer comprised of a specific type of wood. This top layer is the wear layer. They are screened, which involves light sanding, and finished. Solid hardwood floors are typically ¾ of an inch thick and are available in different widths. This process is limited. Both solid and engineered floors require maintenance that extends their life expectancy. Hardwood floors age over time becoming richer in color and, in some cases, even harder.
Hardwood floors are available in different constructions, but laminates are constructed in the same way with a top layer, middle core and bottom layer. The top wear layer consists of a representational photograph which has several coats of a synthetic material for protection and durability. The middle core is made of compressed fiber board. The bottom layer is made of the same material as the top for stability. These three layers will vary from one manufacturer to another depending on quality and warranties. Price will reflect quality and wear warranties. Laminate floors require very little maintenance.
Both hardwood and laminate floors are designed for years of service. Depending on traffic, maintenance and construction, either floor could outlast the other. It is virtually impossible to actually wear out hardwood or laminate flooring.