Laminate 'wood' floors are really just a picture of wood on a substrate. Engineered wood floors have a thin layer of wood veneer on top of plywood. Both engineered and laminate or usually floating floors. Some engineered can be nailed or glued down. Real wood floors are solid wood and come pre-finished or unfinished and are usually nailed down. A nailed down floor feels nicest under foot. Floating floors feel hollow to me and I always know when I am walking on them. Laminates are really bad if they get wet because the fiber board substrate is like a sponge and will soak up water then fall apart. A prefinished hardwood floor will have a beveled groove between boards, some smaller than others. An unfinished hardwood floor is sanded after its installed and should be completely smooth. Hardwood floors can be refinished down the road, laminates and engineered cannot, generally speaking. Prefinished goes in fast and can be completed in on day, finishing in place is a muli day process. Factory finishes on hardwood are usually more durable than a finished in place finish.
My preference is prefinished hardwood or finished in place hardwood. Engineered wood would be next, especially if its the type that can be nailed (feels more solid), I like laminates the least.
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