Laminate flooring is produced in a factory to replicate hardwood flooring, and in most cases it can be a real challenge to distinguish between the two. Being able to tell the difference between hardwood and laminate flooring takes a keen eye, here are a few simple ways to distinguish between the two.
The Appearance of the Flooring
The flooring made from real solid woods like oak or maple have a variety of natural hues that are very unique. The patterns and imperfections in the wood make them appealing to buyers because they are so unique. Laminate flooring is produced in a factory, and while looks identical to real wood flooring, the patterns are mass-produced and tend to repeat in sections if you look carefully. That knot you see in a section of a real wood floor may be the only one in the entire room, unlike the laminate that reproduces the imaging over and over.
Laminate flooring looks exactly like the real thing, but a keen eye can spot unique patterns that are reproduced over and over throughout the floor boards. With real wood flooring, you will not see the same unique pattern anywhere else in the room.
The Durability of the Flooring
The hardwood floor will give any homeowner decades of quality use, but to maintain the look the flooring has to be taken care of on a regular basis. If the flooring is not maintained, things like scratches and dings are easily spotted. As time goes on, the top layer will wear off and the surface will certainly show its age. Laminate flooring doesn’t need that time-consuming and costly maintenance. The top layer of the laminate flooring is crafted to protect it from scratches and dents, so it looks perfect all the time.
Take a close look at the floor an you’ll spot those imperfections from daily use in the house. The hardwood floor can’t hide the scratches and stains as easily as a laminate floor. Any little dings in the wood are a dead giveaway the floor is natural wood. If the homeowner is not spending the money to maintain a hardwood floor, signs of age are even more obvious.
The Average Wear and Tear
Over the years, it does not matter how well the hardwood floor is maintained, other factors are affecting its appearance. Direct sunlight can fade certain sections of the wood so it doesn’t blend well with other neighboring sections. The hardwood flooring will also show signs of water stains from pet accidents or spills in the house. Compare that to the laminate flooring that has a water-resistant surface that will never fade even in direct sunlight. Looking at the flooring after a year, if not maintained regularly, the hardwood floor will have areas of different shades and indications of water damage.
The laminate floor is crafted in a factory to shield the surface from daily wear and tear. With a clean cloth or mop, spills can be removed instantly without impacting the integrity of the surface. If the flooring looks perfect year after year, it is more than likely laminate.
Repairing Small Floor Damage
When you have furniture on your flooring, it only takes one push of a chair or movement of a couch to scratch the surface of the hardwood flooring. Even after the flooring is installed or maintained, moving a piece of furniture without padding will scratch the surface. Furniture needs to be lifted rather than dragged on a hardwood floor because it will leave marks behind. If protective pads are not used, then you can see where the furniture slid across the surface instantly. In order to keep these little scratches from becoming obvious, the homeowner must wax the flooring, polish the flooring, and then seal it. This needs to be done regularly to hide signs of damage.
Laminate flooring simply does not need all of that extra care. Most scratches can simply be rubbed out, the coating on the laminate floor is designed to eliminate the appearance of damage in the first place.
Being able to tell which is hardwood or laminate flooring just takes a little understanding of the materials. In short order you’ll be able to spot differences in the blink of an eye.