What is Laminate Wood Floor?

Friday February 20, 2009
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I was reading some flooring blogs, articles and forums today at other floor sites and saw the word laminate wood floor used several times. The term laminate wood floor occurred mostly with questions on how to install laminate wood floor, or how to clean and maintain laminate wood floors. Most of the times flooring consumers were confused if they had a real hardwood floor or a "fake" hardwood floor, known as laminate. Sometimes it turned out the person had purchased a true laminate floor (not hardwood), and other times they had bought an engineered wood flooring (with real hardwood).

Illustration of wood laminate showing the layers of constructionI thought I would write a quick flooring article to define laminate flooring, and more important the term laminate wood flooring. The term laminate wood floor probably came about from flooring retailers using it to try and sell true laminate floors as a hardwood alternative. Today some of the laminate on the market is hard to distinguish from an actual hardwood floor. This was not the case 5 years ago, but with the advancement of floor manufacturing technology, laminate flooring has come a long way from the days of a photograph laminated onto a fiber core. Regardless of how real laminate flooring looks, it is likely that it is just a high quality photograph that undergoes a laminate process to bond it with a fiber core.

Illustration of engineered hardwood showing layers of constructionEngineered hardwood is hardwood flooring that has multiple layers and usually a different species of wood for the core than the top layer. Engineered flooring is sometimes referred incorrectly as laminate wood flooring. This happens because people see the thin layer of wood on top and confuse it for laminate flooring which has a thin layer of a photograph on top. Engineered hardwood flooring comes in varying thicknesses where the top layer can be as thin as a photograph, or as thick as some solid wood flooring.

Just know that if you purchased laminate flooring, it is not real hardwood flooring, but the great imitator. Be sure to follow the cleaning and care instructions that came with your floor as maintaining certain laminate floors can be very different from that of real hardwood, such as engineered hardwood floors. So the next time you hear the term laminate wood floor, look to see if the surface of the floor is actual wood or laminate. If you can't tell by close examination, then feel free to ask us here at FindAnyFloor.com.


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Talkback – Leave a commentThere are 4 comments

some tips
I have been having laminate floor in my apartment for 5 years now and what I can say is that it's pretty easy to install and clean. Even if you damage some part of it, you can change it without much effort. The only thing,it's important to choose a right color and texture so it looks wooden and not plastic. Also be careful cleaning it. Don't use too much liquid, cleaning cloth should remain dry.
September 9 2016
Always so interesting to visit your site.What a great info, thank you for sharing. this will help me so much in my learning.
August 27 2015
Laminate wood floors are amazing. their durable and easy to install. I like them because they could be temporary for some like myself-3 kids, triplets, who make messes bang doors, scratch floors etc etc etc. There's no way Im installing a floor that will last me forever that will cost me a fortune! But laminate is a good replacement for that. I installed it a couple years ago when my kids were crazy and wild and it really looks pretty good still. laminate is a good floor choice for anyone.
April 14 2009
Laminate Wood Floor NOT Hardwood Floor
A couple of years ago I had laminate wood floors installed in my home. My flooring retailer never mentioned the fact that it wasn’t hardwood flooring instead he convinced me that it was! This laminate wood flooring looked so real and I never did my flooring homework. I didn’t know the difference until I started to clean my imitation hardwood floor. I scratched my “Laminate Wood Floor” and used every wrong floor cleaner possible. All in all my floors needed to be replaced. I went back to my flooring retailer and flooring installer and asked every question in the flooring information manual! I did get my new imitation hardwood floor put in for free and I was coached on how to properly care for laminate floors. Lesson to be learned: Be careful what you buy… Know what kind of floor you purchase.
March 23 2009
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