Laminate Flooring or Solid Wood Flooring

A Closer Look at Wear And Tear

How hard wearing is a solid wooden floor compared to a laminate floor? How will it cope with a mechanic with oily boots, felt tips and crayons, football boots, roller skates, teenage tantrums, toy cars, high-heels, make-up, furniture re-arranging or furniture dragging (when no one else will help), a dog, two cats and a goldfish? Well…

Strictly speaking, a solid wooden floor will wear extremely well over a long period of time.  In the past all public buildings, like town halls and church halls etc. were fitted with high quality solid wood for one reason, you couldn’t wear the stuff out! We have all been in old buildings with beautiful original floor boards, which tell tales from by-gone times.   If installed correctly by an experienced fitter a real wood floor will easily outlive you.

Retailers who specialise in solid wood will be delighted to share this information with you, and they are correct. However, this is often not what customer mean when they enquiry about the hard wearing capabilities of solid wood.  What they usually mean is; will it show scrapes and scores with everyday use?  Now the answer to that can be very different.  The flooring in your local town hall or leisure centre is a top quality solid wood product, which is much heavier than any products sold for domestic installations. It has been properly cared for over the years. The area is ‘out of use’ for two weeks every year or two, so that it can be sanded down and properly re-lacquered by professionals at significant cost each time. So it always looks great year after year.  

Most solid wood floors sold today are not nearly as good quality as they used to be, because the industry has had to respond to customer calls for cheaper and cheaper prices. So quality and wear have suffered in many cases. So, as with most things, don’t expect a quality, hard wearing solid wooden floor unless you are prepared to pay for it, and then maintain it properly.

So how hard wearing is Laminate flooring? Laminate flooring has been designed and manufactured for the specific purpose of being used as a floor covering. The objects we place on it, as well as the footwear we use and durability issues are all considered. So that laminate flooring can be declared fit for purpose. It is robust and durable enough to cope with home and business uses. Certainly all EU manufactured products will be of sufficient quality to meet the demands of family life. All laminate flooring which is produced in the EU has what is called an AC Rating. This rating system tests the laminate floors overall quality, with durability and wear playing a bit part in the tests.

So customers can rest assured that laminate flooring is pretty resilient to the stresses and strains of your family’s activities. Also worth noting, if you were to have a problem at some point you should be able to lift the floor back and replace any badly damaged boards. Providing that you have a few boards left over from when you purchased the floor, and that it has a click system where no glue was used during the installation.

Having worked in the industry over the past 15 years, selling both products and taking on board the views of customers both before and after purchase. In my experience, many more customers have been satisfied with their purchase of laminate flooring than solid wood. This is largely down to the wear issues. With laminate coping easily with almost anything you throw at it, and solid wood which can be so easily surface damaged even with general everyday use. Often retailers hadn’t explained the downside with solid wood, and customers end up unhappy when they discovered the issues when that first high-heel hit their floor.