Laminate vs. natural wood: a comparison for professionals as to when and where to use each one.

Laminate vs. natural wood: a comparison for professionals as to when and where to use each one.

29 April, 2024

Natural wood or laminate flooring, which one is better? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each material? Get to know the keys

Deciding between natural wood and laminate flooring is not easy, since both options are attractive and of high quality.

Although it is true that in recent years laminate flooring has been improved aesthetically, its price is more affordable and its maintenance is much easier, solid wood has many supporters

And the fact is that, regardless of its cost, the appearance, and aspect of the original prime material is still, for many, «unmatched». 

The different types of wood flooring and its characteristics 

Before making a comparative analysis of natural wood vs. laminate flooring, we will explain the main types of wood floors (or wood effect) that are on the market, as well as their main pros and cons from a functional point of view. 

L’Antic Colonial’s wooden floors are made with 100% natural wood.

Among our floors, we can differentiate between: 

General multilayer

Some available options of general multilayer wood are: Artisan, Classic Chevron, Lutier or Mini Imperial, among others. 

Their characteristics are: 

  • These products have different layers of varnish in the Apresto matte models. In addition, the Natur finishes are made with oils and waxes. 40-70 µm.
  • They have a noble layer of natural wood of between 2 and 4 mm.
  • The middle layer consists of cross slats of spruce wood connected with adhesive. Depending on the model, these measures are between 4.5 and 10 mm.
  • The contraction layer is made of 2 mm softwood.

Multilayer HDF

The available options include: Forest, Tortona, Versatile, Genova, among others.

Their characteristics are: 

  • It has different layers of varnish in the models and Apresto Matte. Natur finishes are made with oils and waxes. 40-70 µm.
  • Its noble layer is made of natural wood between 2 and 4 mm.
  • The intermediate layer is composed of HDF between 6.5 and 10 mm, depending on the model. 
  • The contraction layer is made of 1.5 to 2 mm of softwood

Plywood Double Layer

For this option, you will find the Wald Custom finish, which has the following specifications: 

  • Different varnish layers on the Apresto Matte models. Natur finishes are made with 40-70 µm oils and waxes.
  • The top layer is made of 4 mm of oak wood.
  • The multilayer Plywood is glued together

Solid three-layer

The solid three-layer option includes Wald Custom Supreme and Monarch.

The characteristics of the solid three-layer wood are:  

  • Several options in varnish layers for the Apresto Matte models. Natur finishes are made with 40-70 µm oils and waxes.
  • The noble layer is 5 mm of natural wood.
  • There is a 9 mm layer of Hevea wood
  • Oak in strips in the opposite direction of the top layer.
  • 5 mm layer of Hevea / Oak wood. 
Natural wood vs laminate flooring

Laminate Flooring 

Unlike natural wood, laminate flooring is a type of flooring with a synthetic finish that simulates wood.

Basically, this means that we see a material that is similar to wood and is covered by a transparent layer. 

The quality of laminate flooring is given by the strength of its core, formed by a board of wood fibers pressed at medium or high density. 

This type of flooring is becoming a common choice for renovations because of its advantages. 

The most important is its easy maintenance (it does not require any special care).

In addition, high-end products guarantee a high resistance to bumps or scratches, and incorporate antibacterial and water-repellent treatments, being, in many cases, suitable for bathrooms or kitchens. 

Different wood flooring installation systems

From traditional options to modern and fast solutions, here we will explain the different installation systems available for you so you can find the perfect one for your home or project.

QUICK LOCK 

This system stands out for its simple and safe installation, considered one of the best on the market. It is only necessary to align longitudinally the slat to be placed with the one already installed and apply a slight pressure, without the need of tools. 

The two pieces will fit together perfectly, secured by a locking tab. Likewise, disassembling it is just as easy, and allows for quick removal.

LOCK

Firmness and strength in the connection of the joints stand out as the most notable qualities of this simple installation method, ensuring that no gaps appear between the planks throughout the entire time the floor is in use.

The force applied between the planks strengthens the assembly, preventing it from being done incorrectly. 

FIT LOCK 

In this method it is only necessary to align the plank to be installed lengthwise, without the need to tilt it, next to the previously fixed one. 

To complete the connection of the joints, it is necessary to hit gently with a mallet at the end of the short side of the piece being installed. The two pieces will be attached and will remain secure thanks to the pressure applied.

DUAL LOCK

It is a fairly simple installation method that, through two simple gestures, facilitates herringbone-type assembly without requiring the distinction between left or right-handed pieces.

Natural wood vs laminate flooring

Natural wood vs. laminate flooring: a comprehensive comparison 

Both L’Antic Colonial’s natural wood and laminate floors are manufactured to guarantee their durability and to achieve the best aesthetic results.

However, their characteristics are different, and this means that the best choice for each case is conditioned not only by design or price, but also by functionality

Next, we will compare both materials from different points of view. 

By their composition 

Both laminate and natural wood flooring have a wood core. 

In the first case, it is a plank of fine wood fibers compressed under high pressure (HDF) and finished with a printed design layer.

In the second, there is only one layer, usually of a material such as oak, covered with a protective finish.

Therefore, wood flooring is more robust. 

By its finish 

If you are looking for the warmth that is so characteristic of wooden floors, parquet is the best choice

In addition, this material is available in a wide range of colors depending on the type of wood. 

If you are on a tighter budget, go for laminate flooring, which is becoming increasingly realistic and true to nature thanks to its fine-grained textures. 

By its use 

Both natural wood and laminate floors are comfortable. 

But how do they work, for example, with underfloor heating

In this case, laminate may be a better choice, as it is slightly more efficient.

Respecto a su capacidad aislante, tanto los suelos laminados como los de madera natural son excelentes para absorber el sonido.

In terms of insulation, both laminate and natural wood floors are excellent at absorbing sound.

However, natural wood dampens noise better. 

Water and shock resistance 

Natural wood floors are not usually installed in wet areas. 

In fact, if you are thinking of installing a wood floor in your kitchen, we recommend that you always opt for laminate.

Why? Because its watertight grooves and click installation (which is becoming more and more common) prevent water from seeping into the laminates. 

In addition, high-quality laminate floors incorporate a coating layer that makes them more impact-resistant than natural wood.

By installation 

Laminate and natural wood floors are relatively easy to install, and choosing one method or the other depends on the manufacturer and the installer. 

In the first case, a floating installation with an underlay is recommended; in the second, you can opt for a floating or glue-down installation.

In addition, both materials can be installed on an existing floor, provided that the surface is well leveled. 

Cleanability  

Laminate floors are easier to clean than natural wood floors. 

In fact, you only need a vacuum cleaner, a damp mop and standard cleaning products. 

Wood floors are more delicate and require more “care” to preserve their natural beauty.

For this reason, they often need to be treated with special products and maintenance oil, following the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Although nothing can beat natural wood in authenticity and elegance, if you are looking for a floor with this finish, but more functional and economical, laminate flooring is an excellent alternative. 

The options are almost endless! Check out our catalog and decide on the option that best matches your needs.

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