Flooring plays an important role in interior design. Both the optics and the practical properties should fit the function of the respective room. There are a wide range of options to choose from. Parquet and laminate convince above all because of the large selection in the surface design. While parquet is made of real wood, laminate is made of plastics.
The surface can be deceptively similar to real wood. However, laminate is also available in many other design variants, so that, for example, a tile floor can be imitated. But which flooring is the right one when it comes to living rooms and wet rooms? Is parquet or laminate better suited for the furnishing of business premises? For decision-making “parquet or laminate” it is important to know the differences and special properties as precisely as possible.
What is laminate made of? Interesting facts about material and production of laminate
Laminate, the short name for laminate flooring, is a composite material based on plastics. These are thermoset plastics, which are plastics that cannot be deformed after curing. Several layers result in a resistant floor ingesis. The décor can be designed in almost any desired look. Laminate floors with a wood look are often used.
The top layer is a protective layer consisting of a thin paper soaked with a melamine adhesive. Underneath is the decorative paper, which gives the laminate the look. The lower layers are applied to a support plate and firmly glued. The support plate is a chipboard, either an MDF plate (medium density fiberboard) or an HDF plate (high density fiberboard). As the lowest layer, a counter layer of paper or plastic is attached to prevent deformation. The thickness of a finished laminate plate depends on the number of layers and the thickness of the support plate.
Laminate floors are available in different qualities. In principle, laminate can be used in many ways. In order to find the right laminate for the respective use, the division into stress classes helps. The higher the load class, the more durable the laminate flooring is.
Laminate or parquet: The main differences
The main difference between laminate and parquet is the starting material. Laminate is made of plastic, while parquet is always made of pure wood. This distinction has an impact on the properties of use. Parquet is – besides many other good properties – extremely durable. High-quality laminate also has a long service life. However, if a laminate floor is replaced, the question arises as to the disposal. While wood does not cause problems, plastics are difficult to dispose of. If you want to buy laminate or parquet, you should also think about sustainability and disposal.
The choice of laminate as flooring can still be correct. The durability of a high-quality laminate floor with a high load class makes the flooring ideal for commercial applications. Cheaper laminate versions are the optimal choice for equipping a rental apartment.
What are the advantages of parquet over laminate?
Parquet is sustainable and durable. This advantage is shown above all in the fact that a parquet floor can be renovated very well. Scraping and dents in the laminate floor are permanent, parquet forgives damage with good renovation capability. Even after a long use with visible signs of wear, a parquet floor can be sanded off and resealed or oiled, which is not possible with laminate. Those who attach great importance to an authentic appearance will notice with a parquet floor: Traces of use do not necessarily have to be disturbing, but give the flooring of real wood character.
Wood has a warm radiance. Purely visually, laminate can mimic this effect, but the floor itself is cold. Parquet, on the other hand, always feels pleasant. A parquet floor is foot-warm. A floor covering made of real wood has a positive effect on the room atmosphere. The indoor climate clearly benefits when the floor is made of pure wood.
Wood is a renewable raw material. With parquet, which comes from sustainable forestry, every builder makes a significant contribution to the protection of the environment. In addition, wood is unique. It is possible to imitate a special grain with a laminate floor. In direct comparison, however, wood performs better than the original.
Parquet or laminate: For which applications is laminate better?
Laminate is very suitable if the rental apartment is to be given a new flooring. This is supported by the good price-performance ratio, because laminate is cheaper than parquet. The prices for parquet are higher, but the quality also speaks for this. Laying laminate works quickly and easily – even do-it-yourselfers can handle laminate well. However, laminate is not suitable for wet rooms, such as the bathroom or laundry room. The moisture causes laminate to deform irreversibly.
Laminate is well suited for highly stressed areas in commercial buildings. The durable flooring fits in department stores and smaller shops, in hotels and restaurants. Laminate flooring is also useful in offices and administrative buildings, as well as in social institutions, for example in a day care centre or in a retirement home.
For which areas should you choose parquet instead of laminate?
Whether parquet or laminate makes more sense depends on the application area, but also on your own expectations. Parquet has a noble charisma. A parquet floor is of high quality, which is why it is very effective even in demanding areas. In the house and in the apartment parquet is suitable for all areas. Parquet not only fits in the living room, bedroom and children’s room, but also in the kitchen and can even be installed in the bathroom. A floor made of real wood fits a healthy lifestyle. If you have floorboards laid, you can expect a high-quality, sustainable flooring.
In commercial areas, parquet is always the right place when it is an upscale ambience. The small, fine boutique, the cosy café or the elegant lounge area of a hotel have a pleasant and harmonious overall effect with a high-quality parquet floor. Even in a law firm, in a stylish office or on the executive floor, you get an excellent impression with parquet.
The differences in installation: how parquet or laminate is laid
Laying the parquet flooring requires the skills of a specialist. With parquet there are choices, it can be glued or laid floating. In the case of laminate, this alternative does not exist, here a floating installation is always necessary. Laminate works hard and must be free. The advantage lies in the fast installation, as a disadvantage is the higher impact sound.
What is better for underfloor heating, parquet or laminate?
For underfloor heating, a bonded floor is much better due to the higher heat flow. Since laminate must not be glued, parquet is the right decision for underfloor heating. Further information is provided in the technical article on parquet + underfloor heating.