Kellys Guide to Choosing a Hardwood or Laminate Floor

Friday 6th September 2019

So you’re thinking about installing a wooden or laminate floor in your home - well you’ve come to the right place!

Kellys stock and display over 50 laminate floors in our floor and door showroom, and our staff have a wealth of knowledge to help you decide which one to choose. 

We’ve answered some common questions and quandaries below to help you in the process of choosing and purchasing a wooden or laminate floor!

Kellys currently have a range of special offers available on premium, 12mm, AC5 floors, all reduced from £18.99 to just £14.00! *Available during February 2020, while stocks last. 

What’s the difference between a wooden floor or laminate floor?
The term “wood floor” is often used as a collective term for solid wood flooring, engineered hardwood flooring and laminate flooring, so what’s the difference?

Solid wood flooring is made from solid pieces of wood. This is the most expensive type of wood floor you can buy. Being real wood, it’s completely authentic, can be treated and looked after many times over, and can last a lifetime if cared for properly.

Engineered hardwood flooring has a real wood top layer and a base of plywood. This is a more affordable alternative to solid wood flooring, and still has the benefit of a real wood top layer coated with an acrylic finish, meaning that it too can be treated and looked after in much the same way as a solid wood floor, though doesn’t quite have the same level of authenticity. 

Laminate flooring is a synthetic flooring made from multiple layers of composite wood, with a resin-saturated fibreboard centre, and a woodgrain print on the top which is protected by a layer of clear hard plastic. Premium laminate floors are difficult to distinguish from real wood floors, unless you look very closely. 

Hardwood vs Laminate - Affordability

Laminate flooring is by far the most affordable, often times being half the price of traditional solid wood flooring or engineered hardwood flooring. The installation of the laminate flooring is often half the price too, as in most cases the floor panels are made to simply slot together without the use of other tools. 

If you can afford to spend more, then have a look at hardwood flooring, as these are more authentic and generally speaking have a longer life-span if cared for properly. 

Hardwood vs Laminate - Durability
Hardwood is susceptible to scratching, moisture and general wear and tear, especially in high traffic areas. That being said, if the floor is scratched it can be quite easily repaired by sanding imperfections and refinishing. It’s more easily scratched than laminate, but also more easily repaired. 

Laminate flooring is a highly durable flooring, resisting scratches, moisture and wear and tear - especially the more premium floors with a high “Abrasion Class”, which we’ll get to later. As laminate floor has a hard plastic surface, it’s also easier to clean. They are, however, more difficult to repair than hardwood. If you break a panel of laminate flooring then you can always replace it with another panel that has the same pattern, although depending on sunlight and age, the new piece might not match properly. That being said, most laminate floors nowadays have UV protection (which hardwood doesn’t), so this may not be an issue. 

Hardwood vs Laminate - Life expectancy & warranty

As mentioned above, if cared for properly hardwood floors can last a life time, however this will require sanding and refinishing to keep it in tip top form. 

Laminate flooring has a life expectancy of up to 35 years, depending on the quality of floor you go for, and almost all the laminate floors sold at Kellys have at least a 25 year domestic warranty, and some even have a 30 year warranty!

Laminate flooring - What thickness should I go for?

Laminate flooring typically comes in a range of thicknesses - 6mm, 8mm, 10mm and 12mm. The thicker the floor the better, but also the most expensive. 

We recommend going for the thickest floor you can afford. The extra thickness provides more durability, greater life expectancy, better feel under foot, and makes for an overall more premium floor. Thinner floors can, in larger rooms, feel a bit bouncy towards the middle of the floor due to greater flex, which typically is not the case for thicker floors. Floors at the thicker end of the scale, 10mm and 12mm, also tend to have a better “Abrasion Class”.

Laminate flooring - What is “Abrasion Class”
There are 5 abrasion classes - AC1 to AC5, with AC1 being the worst rating and AC5 the best. This tells you how durable the floor is, and how resistance it is to scratches, moisture, wear and tear and abrasion. 

Before being brought to market, all laminate floors are put through rigorous testing to find out their abrasion class, and all laminate floors for sale should display this class. 

It’s important to understand that a high AC rating is required for high traffic areas like hallways. In lower traffic areas you may get away with a lower rating, but be aware that these floors will be less resistant to scratching. 

Laminate flooring - What is 2V and 4V?
2V and 4V are terms that tell you about the grooves in between each floor panel. In order to better replicate the look of a real wood floor, grooves are added between the panels.

A floor which is 2V has bevelled grooves added along the length of the floor panel. 

A floor which is 4V has bevelled grooves added along the length and breadth of the panel. 

4V is the more natural looking, as this is what most closely resembles a real wood floor. 

Underlay - Which should I go for?
Underlay makes the floor! The underlay is the layer of foam that sits underneath the floor panels. The type of underlay you go for will determine what the floor feels like to walk on, how noisy foot steps are, and how much heat is able to escape through the floor. 

We always recommend spending as much as you can afford to get the best quality underlay. Some underlays are designed for affordability, some are designed for sound dampening, some are designed for extra insulation, and some are designed for all the above!

Underlays come in a range of prices and qualities, so speak to your local flooring specialist to find one that will suit, or call into Kellys and have a chat with our experts!

Watch the video below with our in house flooring expert Shane, all about choosing the right floor for you! *Offers and promotions displayed in this video may not reflect current offers and promotions.

We hope the above guide will help you in your journey to choosing and purchasing your new floor. For any and all questions just get in touch with us and we’ll do our very best to guide you through the process!

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