Monday, March 28, 2011

The Pros and Cons of Reclaimed Wood Flooring vs Laminate

Antique wood flooring.
The look of new wood flooring and laminate can be fairly similar, but reclaimed wood has a unique character that comes from its age and past uses. 

Reclaimed wood flooring is made from reclaimed lumber that has been rescued from old buildings and recycled, refined, resawn and refinished for use as flooring, furniture and other home and commercial building uses. The original trees were cut down years ago, making reclaimed wood a green-friendly flooring option.

Laminate wood flooring is designed to imitate hardwood flooring. It is constructed of a high-density fiberboard substrate layer, a pattern layer that is a high-resolution picture of a hardwood-flooring surface and, on top, a plastic-type, melamine wear layer. In other words, with reclaimed hardwood flooring you are walking on an actual piece of wood, whereas with laminate, you are walking on a picture of hardwood underneath a wear layer.

Decorative laminate.
Some people refer to laminate flooring as “Pergo” flooring, but Pergo is actually a brand name of one of the first companies to introduce laminate to the U.S. In reality, there are hundreds of laminate floor brands. Plastic laminate floors are extremely durable, considered by some to be impervious to stains, dents and fading, however they cannot be refinished or recoated once they are scratched or worn. Ten- to 25-year residential warranties against staining, wearing and fading are typical depending on the brand. Laminates also handle temperature and humidity shifts with little problem. One concern with laminates is that there are limited colors/patterns to choose from and pattern repeats are part of the look of a laminate floor. 

Reclaimed wood comes from interesting
places, including old barns.
People often like the character and look of reclaimed wood flooring because it has a story to it — coming from an old barn, warehouse or home. Many feel it warms up a home. There’s distress in the boards with saw marks, nail holes, wormholes and dents that when sanded and varnished create an art-like effect and a rich, deep patina. So while new wood floors are nice, people are often concerned with developing scratches, dents and uneven fading from traffic and light that’s not really a concern with reclaimed wood floors where people are specifically looking for that kind of comfortable character. 

Another advantage is that reclaimed wood has been dried naturally over 100+ years verses kiln-dried new wood that is forced to dry. This makes reclaimed wood more stable. Also, newly logged wood is not as dense as old growth, making the reclaimed wood that comes from old growth stronger, harder and more durable. 

Vacuuming a wood floor.
Both laminate and real wood floors are easy to care for, requiring a vacuum, a dry mop and a damp mop or towel for more difficult stains. You will need to dry your damp-mopped floors with clean rags to avoid excess moisture and water damage. This also gives you a streak-free floor. For real wood floors, it is recommended that you apply wax to waxed floors annually. Polyurethane real wood floors will need a buff and coat every five years or so, depending on how the floor is maintained. 

It’s true that reclaimed and new wood floors are often more expensive than laminates, but they can also add re-sale value to your home should you ever decide to sell it. Plus, real wood floors can last much longer with sanding-refinishing to renew the look. Laminate flooring cannot be refinished. If a section is damaged, it must be pulled out and a new section installed — or if the entire floor is in need of a new finish, you will have to install a completely new floor.

The sound of heels on a
wooden floor.
Another area where the two differ is how they sound and feel underfoot. Laminate floors either have a hollow sound or have a thick pad underneath, which produces a dull sound and makes it feel spongy and floating. Reclaimed wood floors provide a sturdier, firmer feel and solid resonance.

After considering these pros and cons, we recommend you take a look at some real-life examples. We’d be happy to have you visit us at our Manomin showroom. You’ll find that we offer a variety of gorgeous reclaimed wood flooring, including Douglas fir, yellow pine, white pine, hickory, salty fir, black walnut, oak and elm


  1. Interesting article. I'm going to have my husband read it! :)

  2. Thank you for this great information on reclaimed wood. Can you tell if reclaimed wood floors are cheaper than new wood floors? Now I understand the characteristics of laminate flooring and wood flooring but price should be considered too.

  3. Great post! Recycled wood flooring is hardwood flooring that has been reclaimed from any one of a number of sources. It is a fantastic choice if you want a wood floor because it is beautiful, easy on the environment, and unique.

    These all differences which you have shared here its very Interesting and Informative too. I can get so many ideas from your contents.

  5. Thanks for all your efforts that you have put in this. very interesting information. i like with express my support of your ideas in your article, and looking forward to your next article.

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  6. Great Post.Thank you for sharing your post with us...
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  7. It is quite tough to decide which flooring is better; as in every flooring, we have found some unique and special features. Therefore, we need expert tips in the case of choosing best flooring option. Here also in this article, we can get a brief description regarding laminate and wooden flooring and what pros and cons, we should follow before choosing best flooring option.
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  9. Nice post. I really appreciate it ,helped me to know more about reclaimed flooring.I would surely recommend to others.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Very useful article, I just got replaced my carpet flooring into wooden flooring recently. It looks so unique and so easy to care. Keep posting more, Thank you

  12. Great blog you people have maintained there, I totally appreciate the

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