Laminate flooring is a layered construction which replicates the look of real wood. The visible layer is actually a highly detailed, high resolution photograph of the genuine material. The design is protected by an easy to clean surface, usually made of aluminum oxide, which resists spills and protects the floor from stains, dents, scratches, fading and wear. Realistic embossing creates surface textures that enhances the design. Most types of laminate flooring can be installed in any room above or below ground level. Laminate flooring is installed using the free-floating method which means it simply lies on top of the sub-floor. This type or flooring cannot be re-sanded or restained.
Any wood flooring, regardless of the width and length, which is one piece of solid wood from top to bottom is considered solid flooring. Solid flooring allows great opportunity for customization and is great for home or business, ground level or above. In most cases, solid flooring is nailed down to ¾” exterior grade plywood however, glued down is also available in some cases. You can refinish, or recoat solid wood floors several times, which adds to their appeal and to their long life. There are solid floors that are well over 100 years old and still in good condition.
Engineered wood floors are built with multiple thin ply layers of wood that are glued together. The inner cores are generally either a hardwood and/or soft plywood type of material. The top thicker hardwood veneer wear layer is glued on the top surface of the core and is available in almost any hardwood species. Engineered wood floors are slightly more resistant to higher moisture level than solid wood flooring, which adds to their appeal to use in damp basements or tropical regions of the country. Engineered flooring can be directly glued down over a concrete slab above or below grade, or stapled down over a wood subfloor. This flooring can last 40-40 years, depending on care, traffic and wear.