Monday, 5 July 2010 - Hillary Drake

Introducing a new wood floor to a space is a sure way to revamp not only the look but the living atmosphere of the entire area, as wooden floors are not only popular for the stability and price conversion they render in time, but also for the added comfort, beauty and sense of style they embed into the space. Although buying wooden flooring can be considered a life lasting investment in quality, for some budget conscious the high prices needed in such a project might be considered too much and for those, wood effect laminate flooring is just the right solution............

In what concerns the aesthetic input, laminate floors are very hard to distinguish from real wooden ones. This is the result of years and years of innovation in the manufacturing technologies that laminated are subjected to, that have led to the imitation to perfection of not only the designs of wood timbers, but also of the textures and finishes. Nevertheless, when looking at a laminate floor, a repeating pattern including the knots and grain structure will be visible, while on a wooden floor those marks are totally random. This is because each hardwood tree develops its own structure and texture, meaning that no two wood floor planks will ever look alike, while in the case of laminates, the frequency of the pattern that is printed onto planks can be repeated every 3rd or 4th board.

As you may have already guessed, the thing that sets apart laminate from real wooden flooring in terms of price is the manufacturing technologies and materials involved in the process. While wooden flooring, as their nomenclature states, are manufactured entirely out of wood, laminate planks are made from special composites such as fiberboard, resulting in an important distinction in what concerns the selling price of these two types of floors. Wooden floors are considered to be one of the most stable and life resistant flooring option available on the market, but their durability is in fact given by the wooden timbers used in their manufacturing process and the possibility of having the floor sanded and refinished if ever damaged or stained. Laminate floors are made of several layers of materials joined together under high pressure to render optimal stability and high resistance to indentations.

In terms of maintenance, the impossibility of having the laminate flooring refinished can be considered one of the greatest disadvantage they offer, as over a period of a few years the laminate floor will need replacing, while a wooden one could be sanded and refinished like new. While ease of maintenance is generally associated with laminates, wooden floors need a sturdy and intensive caring for, as this is the only way they can be kept in good condition over the years.

Finally, wooden floors imply a much sturdy installation than laminate floorings, as while genuine wood boards need to be glued and nailed down to the subfloor, laminate ones must be simply clicked together to result in a floating floor. With all these aspects to consider, experience has taught home developers that when budget is the main decision factor, it is better to go for top quality laminate flooring than to choose cheaper quality wooden flooring.

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