When you hear the term “laminated wood” you probably imagine laminate flooring. But that is only the beginning of what laminated wood is because it can serve a purpose in anything and everything woodworking.
The word laminate is simply layers of materials stuck together with an adhesive. This is used for government papers and more. But before getting too technical, let’s go over what laminated wood is in the simplest of terms.
What Is Laminated Wood?
The process of lamination is gluing thin pieces of a substance together and then using resin to seal the product to create one solid piece. This can be done with almost anything, though the term most often refers to wood.
Laminated wood is usually built by gluing thin pieces of lumber boards together in a variety of shapes and sizes. The original intent of laminated wood was to repurpose wood that didn’t previously have a purpose.
Today, it can be made from repurposed wood or even wood that is cut for the purpose of creating laminate wood. This is because either way, laminate uses less wood to create a solid material than regular wood does.
Benefits Of Laminated Wood
There are many pros and cons of laminated wood. But this isn’t surprising. Even something as nice as hardwood floors has its own set of pros and cons. Here is what you need to know about the benefits and downfalls of laminated wood.
For most of these pros and cons, laminated wood is compared to solid wood as that is its most common counterpart. It’s hard to have pros and cons without a comparison so for this, we choose hardwood.
- Easy To Install – laminated wood is easy to install no matter what kind of laminate it is. Most of it comes in kits like laminated flooring. Unlike solid wood which is usually purchased by the board.
- Easy To Carry – because laminated wood comes in kits, it is easy to transport. You can buy a box or two and carry it in most cars if not all. This also means easy transportation across stories in your house.
- Unlimited Options – because laminate can be printed onto, there are a variety of choices. So many that you can even get custom laminated wood with any design you can imagine on it if you find the right manufacturer.
- Durable – laminated wood is surprisingly durable. It can withstand a lot of traffic, scratches, and more. Though its lifespan isn’t as long, it can get through the wear and tear of almost any day.
- Easy To Clean – laminated wood is easy to clean. Much easier to clean than hardwood. With laminated wood, you can use just about any cleaner without harming the wood or damaging any finishes.
- Eco-Friendly – laminated wood is repurposed wood where the wood was retrieved from scraps of solid wood. So you can rest easy knowing that your laminated wood has been recycled and repurposed.
- May Warp And Float – after a time, laminated wood can warp and float if it is laminated flooring. It tends to peel away and leave bumps on the surface. But this is after quite a few years of strong use.
- Not High End – despite the look of some more expensive laminated wood, it will never be as “nice” as solid wood. Hardwood is the most sought-after type of wood and is much more expensive than most laminate.
- Can Squeak – after a few years, laminate can begin to squeak. This can happen in weeks or months if the laminate wasn’t installed properly. So take this into account when installing laminated wood yourself.
- Doesn’t Last Long – while hardwood can last for centuries if retouched, laminated wood doesn’t last longer than a couple of decades. This is primarily because it can’t be retouched or refinished.
- Not For Moist Rooms – laminate warps even in dry areas, so putting it in the bathroom or kitchen isn’t the best idea. It is primarily for use in bedrooms and living rooms as moist areas can ruin laminate.
Types Of Laminated Wood
There are a few different types of laminated wood because the definition of laminated wood is quite straightforward though covers a variety of options. This is because laminated wood is simply small slats of wood that are glued together.
This can be done in a variety of ways with different types and shapes of wood. Here are the most common ways laminated wood is made and what their main purposes are.
Plywood is a material made from thin layers or “plies” of wood veneer that are glued together with each layer being adjacent to the next. This type of laminated wood is used in construction for many reasons.
Plywood is most often used in subfloors, walls, and under roofing materials. It is the most versatile type of laminated wood with many benefits and can even be used to create gorgeous finished plywood floors.
A lot of people get OSB and plywood mixed up, but the two are not the same type of wood. Though they are both laminated wood, OSB is known as oriented strand board and is a type of engineered wood.
But unlike plywood, OSB uses strands of wood that are placed perpendicular to each other to create a tight, compressed hold. The two are very similar and both work for the same purposes but with different benefits.
Wood veneer is actually a thin layer of wood that is usually used for top layers on paneling and other laminated wood that has been compressed. This type of wood was created to save materials and money.
It is very thin and is often put on top of other materials to make that material look like solid wood. This is similar to the way that other metals are plated in gold to make it look like it is solid gold for a cheaper price.
Printed wood isn’t necessarily a type of laminated wood but rather a method used to make patterns in laminated wood. The top layer of laminated wood is generally printed onto to make it look even more genuine.
But what’s so great is that you can get printed wood that looks like tile, stone, brick, and more. It is so versatile that it is hard to say no. Especially since it is so much cheaper than the material it is made to replicate.
Laminated Wood Flooring
The most common type of laminate is laminate flooring. Laminate flooring is a great type of floor that offers the best of all worlds. It looks good, it’s cheap, and it is versatile. Here’s what you need to know about laminated wood flooring.
Price: for the materials alone, laminate flooring ranges between $1 and $7 a square foot. This all depends on how nice you want your laminate to be and if you catch any sales. However, for labor, you can double that price.
Visual Options: laminate flooring can be purchased in just about any wood design you can imagine. You can even get it as printed wood with any other pattern you want. This is one of the biggest draws of laminate.
Thickness: laminate flooring is sold in thicknesses from 6 to 12mm. The thicker the floor, the more durable, quiet, and high-end it will be. But the thinner the floor, the cheaper it will be. So the choice here can be difficult.
Texture: there are many different types of laminate flooring textures. Generally, the more texture, the more expensive it will be. Unless of course it is polished to look like marble or an extra high-gloss flooring.
How To Install: there are a few different ways to install laminate flooring. Most laminate flooring comes with a tongue-and-groove installation but any option is fairly easy to install for an intermediate team.
Laminated Wood Furniture
Laminate flooring isn’t the only type of laminate that you can buy. You can get laminated wood furniture in unique shapes and sizes. Because laminated wood is easy to mold, you can find a larger variety than you can furniture in other materials.
If you are looking into solid wood furniture vs. laminated wood furniture, you may notice a few things that are consistently brought up. Laminated wood furniture is versatile but cheaper, and solid wood has more character.
But as for which one is right for you, that’s a less straightforward answer. Laminated wood furniture can look as nice as standard solid wood, and solid wood can be cheap. So the answer is generally, go for the look that you prefer.
Other Options Aside From Laminated Wood And Solid Wood
This goes for furniture, flooring, and more. There are still other options that aren’t solid wood or laminated wood, however, most wood can be lumped into one of these categories. Engineered wood is the only exception.
Engineered wood is technically both since engineered wood contains a top layer of solid wood and a bottom layer of laminated wood. This can give the best of both worlds so engineered wood is worth looking into.