The main difference is that hardwood flooring is made from real wood and laminate flooring is a picture of wood, laminated onto high-density fibreboard with a melamine laminate on top.
Hardwood flooring is available in two main formats: solid wood flooring and engineered wood flooring. Solid wood flooring is a solid piece of wood, machined into flooring planks. Engineered wood flooring has a solid top layer of wood (at least 2mm in thickness) with a plywood base. Laminate flooring contains no solid hardwood at all.
Hardwood flooring Vs Laminate flooring
• Laminate flooring can be significantly cheaper than hardwood flooring but this is reflected in the materials used and the quality of the end product.
• The life expectancy of laminate flooring ranges from 5-20 years, depending on the quality, compared to 80 years plus if solid wood flooring is cared for and maintained properly.
• Hardwood flooring can be sanded and re-finished to prolong its life expectancy and maintain its freshness and lustre, whereas laminate flooring cannot. This also allows for hardwood flooring to be re-finished with a different colour stain and finish effect if desired.
• Both hardwood flooring and laminate flooring are easy to clean and maintain, however, hardwood flooring can be repaired if necessary, whereas there is no way to repair laminate flooring.
Although high end laminate flooring may sometimes look like wooden flooring on first appearances, it does not have the same feel, quality or character as solid wood flooring.