Laminate vs. solid oak?

Any opinions as to which way to go? I originally wanted solid, unfinished oak but dh is telling me there are types of flooring that is *hardwood* but prefinished? I'm not sure that would be called *laminate*? He's not here right now for me to ask. The only reason I'm hesitating on the unfinished solid oak, is the amount of time it takes to install and poly it a number of coats. That means we and the dogs will have to locate elsewhere for probably close to a week?
td
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Most of the laminates are a substrata of pressed board on a plastic backing with a micro-thin veneer of a prefinished wood on top.
Real hardwood is that flooring which is solid whatever - Maple, Oak, Cherry, etc. These are the varieties you have to finish for yourself.
Veneer hardwood is a substrate of real wood of a lesser cost than the veneer cover. These varieties are usually pre finished for ease of installation and for instant gratification.
Laminates cannot be sanded down and re-finished
Some veneered hardwoods can be sanded down up to 3 times. If these are sanded down, the prefinish is lost and must be replaced. What you lose is the really deep finish that is baked into the veneer hardwood.
I have some 2,000 square feet of veneer 3/4 inch oak flooring in my house which I feel should never need to be refinished. I chose the instant gratification route for just the reason you stated and have not regretted it.
Real hardwood can be sanded down many times. If your dogs nails do a number on the floor, this might be the best way to go. I don't know how it is in your area, but where I am there are rules against letting the homeowner have the really good poly that the professionals use. The only difference I was able to see was the good stuff that the pros get is much thicker that the stuff I could get at the local BORG.
-- PDQ
--
| Any opinions as to which way to go? I originally wanted solid, unfinished | oak but dh is telling me there are types of flooring that is *hardwood* but | prefinished? I'm not sure that would be called *laminate*? He's not here | right now for me to ask. The only reason I'm hesitating on the unfinished | solid oak, is the amount of time it takes to install and poly it a number of | coats. That means we and the dogs will have to locate elsewhere for | probably close to a week? | | | td | |
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There is prefinished solid oak. It is a separate product from laminate. It is tongue and groove and price depends on how tightly pieces fit. Advantage is that the factory poly finish lasts much longer than poly put down at site. Ours is 8 years old and except for dents where we drop stuff it still looks brand new. Ours is made by Bruce. The cheap stuff from bruce has a beveled edge. My wife rejected that stuff and we went with straight edge which cost much more. Now they even have tighter fitting edges for more money. When gloss finally goes you can have it sanded down and refinished several times depending on thichness you buy.
Watch out for thinner grades or a very thin oak layer on top of composition. They don't cost much less and cannot be sanded. They may be appropriate for a basement below grade installation.
Laminate if fake finished layer that looks like wood. Won't fade or dent as much as real wood. Mannington makes some nice versions. Don't buy glue down type.... buy the click together type if you go this route.
The best looking stuff of course is the real solid wood whether it is prefinished like my Bruce flooring or site finished.

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tiny dancer wrote:

While I agree that real wood is superior to human senses, dogs WILL be a problem. Myself, my brother, and a friend of mine are all "dog people". One has engineered oak (relativly new home), one recently refinished existing oak, and I installed a laminate. Both of their floors were torn up in fairly short order. After a year mine looks like the day I installed it.
Also, there are better laminates than the "typical" stuff you see. Ours is Wilsonart red label brand where each plank is a single board with beveled edges. This is much more natural looking than the planks that have several board images on a single plank. Most of our visitors believe our floor is real wood unless we tell them otherwise (I'm sure a more knowledgable person would not be fooled).
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Thanks for the 'dog experience' and suggestions. I will try to check out whether I can find your floor locally. Our neighbors put some sort of wood floor down, haven't asked them *what* it is, but although I complimented them on it, it looks a bit like *butcher block* to me. I didn't really care for it. Either it was the way their installed it, or that's the way that particular floor 'really looks'. The sections look too short and choppy to be mistaken for a real wood floor IMO. What I mean is real wood looks like fairly long planks laid side by side. Their floor looks like a whole bunch of short pieces of wood stuck side by side. I didn't want to examine it too closely, just from a glance I could tell I didn't care for the effect it gave.
best,
td

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There are at least four types of wood style flooring.
Unfinished hardwood, such as the oak you mention. (many other woods available too http://www.cwghardwoodoutlet.com/flooring/display.html ) Real hardwood is my choice of best quality, 100+ year longevity. IMO, the "BEST")
Pre finished hardwood. Similar to above, but with a factory finish. (I don't know a lot about it in use)
Engineered hardwood. Like a plywood base with a nice finished wood on top. Very durable, easy to DIY install. See examples at www.mannington.com I put that in my family room and like it very much. It is over concrete so it is a good choice for that.
Laminate. This is a plastic material. Some look like plastic, others look close to real wood but some simulate marble or granite. Very durable, cleanable. www.wilsonart.com I have this on a stairway and foyer and has been for over 10 years. Still looks like new. I'd use the engineered wood if I was doing it today.
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Hi, td. I installed an engineered hardwood for a customer and they have dogs...major dogs...2 goldens and a poodle. The eng. hardwood is prefinished, the edges were/are beveled. We installed it over concrete, finished product is wonderful.. Email me if you want more details. Perry

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Hi Perry! Fancy meetin you here!! I shouldn't be surprised though, knowing all you do. I just found this ng, very interesting and helpful on so many ideas! And yes, I think Gracie will be a real devil on hardwood of any type. She's taken to zooming from window to window, making sure the *bad guys* don't *invade* her territory. ;) We've got all the kids and dogs here today.
best,
td
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Thanks for the links! At the rate we are plodding along in our kitchen/dining room remodel, I have time to consider all the options, as the flooring will be our last step. I've consistently leaned towards solid oak, if only it didn't take so long to install and finish it.
td

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| > > Any opinions as to which way to go? I originally wanted solid, | unfinished | > > oak but dh is telling me there are types of flooring that is *hardwood* | > > but | > > prefinished? I'm not sure that would be called *laminate*? He's not | here | > > right now for me to ask. The only reason I'm hesitating on the | unfinished | > > solid oak, is the amount of time it takes to install and poly it a | number | > > of | > > coats. That means we and the dogs will have to locate elsewhere for | > > probably close to a week? | > | > | > There are at least four types of wood style flooring. | > | > Unfinished hardwood, such as the oak you mention. (many other woods | > available too http://www.cwghardwoodoutlet.com/flooring/display.html ) | Real | > hardwood is my choice of best quality, 100+ year longevity. IMO, the | "BEST") | > | > Pre finished hardwood. Similar to above, but with a factory finish. (I | > don't know a lot about it in use) | > | > Engineered hardwood. Like a plywood base with a nice finished wood on | top. | > Very durable, easy to DIY install. See examples at www.mannington.com I | > put that in my family room and like it very much. It is over concrete so | it | > is a good choice for that. | > | > Laminate. This is a plastic material. Some look like plastic, others | look | > close to real wood but some simulate marble or granite. Very durable, | > cleanable. www.wilsonart.com I have this on a stairway and foyer and | has | > been for over 10 years. Still looks like new. I'd use the engineered wood | > if I was doing it today. | | | Thanks for the links! At the rate we are plodding along in our | kitchen/dining room remodel, I have time to consider all the options, as the | flooring will be our last step. I've consistently leaned towards solid oak, | if only it didn't take so long to install and finish it. | | | td | | | > | > | |
10 years ago I bought and had installed 3/4" T&G oak flooring (what you call engineered). The pros were not very professional. They started in the wrong place and did not fully set the boards. When they got to my feature wall, an archway over a sunken livingroom they couldn't figure out how to make the flooring meet the bullnose without leaving a gap. I kicked them out and got the contractor to supply an expert to correct their mistakes. I had 2 days of muttered oaths as he berated the clods who were not up to the task. He did a marvelous job and only we two know where the joint was finessed.
7 years ago I bought the tools and added another 2,000 feet of oak flooring myself. At the time the people who made the original flooring were no longer making specie so I had to find a shop that could duplicate the original flooring. I was lucky to find a cabinet shop that made its own doors, moldings, and such. They got plain boards, turned them into T&G and prefinished them. Cannot tell where one left off and the other started.
As DIY went, I was able to lay about 500 feet a day without busting a gut.
If you are going to make it a DIY be sure to do the following:
1. rent a pneumatic flooring nail gun and the compressor to go with it.
2. get a piece of 2x2 hardwood to aid in setting the boards - relying on the nailer to fully set the boards is not enough -
3. remove , carefully, all the baseboards and doorway trim. A finish that goes under the trim looks a lot better than that which just goes to the trim.
4. determine what wall or opening is to be the "feature". Start there and finish at the opposite wall. This will produce a much tighter joint where it is most likely to be noticed and the opposite end, which will likely be a bit ragged, will be hidden by the trim.
5. Use a finish nail gun instead of a hammer as this will result in a more hidden nail which can be covered with putty of an appropriate colour for a seamless finish.
6. replace all the baseboards.
7. cut the trim to allow for the added floor height and replace it. 8. Step back, have a coolade and compliment yourself on a job well done.
-- PDQ
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On Sat, 26 Nov 2005 19:00:16 +0000, Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

<snip types>
We went with another type of "wood" style flooring for our kitchen/dining room/halls; bamboo. It's prefinished, hard as hell (at least as hard as maple, much more so than oak), easy to work with (each piece is perfect), and cheap (less than $3/sq.ft.). The stuff looks like 5/8" TnG hardwood, but is "engineered" so every piece is straight as, err, a board. ;-) It's sold as "environmentally sound", but that wasn't why we went with it. We've only had it in a few months, but I'm thinking about doing the rest of the downstairs.
--
Keith

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guess you could use the laminate floor it's not solid. But for not that much more $$ you can find a prefinished Wood engineered floor.
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I didn't understand what you meant? This floor will be going down on regular sub-flooring. I guess that's plywood??? Right now it is all carpeted, but when the carpeting and padding are taken up, I think it's just plywood that's left beneath? This isn't in our basement, and our home isn't built on a slab. We have a full finished ground level basement beneath the hallway, living room and dining room.
td
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Believe solid wood has longer lifespan than plastics. Waterbased polyu dries fast and doesn't have the odor problem oil based does and it doesn't impart the "ambering" that oil does unless you add dye to it. Three coats per day with WB.
On Sat, 26 Nov 2005 13:09:06 -0500, "tiny dancer"

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