Editors Note: This is a guest post written by Warwick Adams from Vienna Woods. 

Laminate and wood flooring trends have come a long way in recent times, resulting in the continual evolution of beautiful designs.

Laminate and wood flooring are both experiencing a surge in demand in New Zealand as we follow European design trends, with these floor coverings being featured throughout the home. Both flooring types are available in a huge range of colour options and textures that are constantly updated.

Wood flooring is still the benchmark as real wood brings a more organic, natural atmosphere to your interior. The various unique treatments available for wood flooring such as smoking of the oak provides a beautiful depth of colour and random natural variation that laminate cannot replicate.

However, laminate flooring is immensely popular due to the huge range of decors and its unique features, such as standardised durability ratings and fade resistance.

With wood flooring every plank is unique, while laminate typically has 6-8 patterns per décor. High-end laminate boasts up to 30 different patterns, for a more realistic look.

laminate wood 01Colours & Texture
On-trend colours include grey’s and grey/brown tones in laminate. In wood flooring these same tones are very popular as well as smoked oak in grey or light brown and brown/grey tones. 

Rustic grades with a moderate to high level of knots are immensely popular – with laminate this helps bring a more realistic appearance to the floor.

Texture is also a defining element in flooring that brings an interesting atmosphere to your interior.

The most popular texture available is lengthwise brushing, which provides a subtle texture to the floor board. Other textures available include the following:

In Wood:
• Scraped
• Bandsawn
• Alpin
• Hacked
• Distressed
• Planed

In Laminate:
• Authentic Embossed
• Barnwood
• Handcarved
• Grained timber

Typical Areas for Wood or Laminate
It is quite typical to install wood or laminate in all living areas, kitchens, hallways, entry and on the stairs in New Zealand homes. Many people will put carpet in their bedrooms, however there is a growing trend to put wood or laminate through the entire house, just as the Europeans do. The advantage of this approach is a cleaner, more consistent look throughout the entire house, which often results in a more spacious looking home.

It is also a healthier choice to put hard flooring throughout your home, to minimise problems with dust mites and allergies.

Wood Species

Oak in a huge range of colours and designs absolutely dominates both real wood and laminate flooring. However there is a growing appetite for other wood species – for example wood species such as European larch or elm are becoming popular. Walnut is a classic option in both flooring types and will always be popular.

laminate wood 03Board Style & Type
Both laminate and real wood flooring are available in a range of widths and lengths. Laminate typically comes in shorter lengths such as 1285mm, while wood flooring boards range from 1.9metres to 2.4 metres in length on average. You can also chose from a smaller range of extra-long laminate boards available in the market. 

Both types of flooring are available with either a square edge of a bevelled edge for more plank definition. We recommend to buy laminate with a bevelled edge as this provides a more realistic ‘plank’ look.


Laminate is very durable in the short to medium term – particularly the thicker 12mm AC5 intensive commercial-rated laminate from Krono Original, which boasts better scratch and dent resistance compared to 8mm AC4 rated laminate. Other laminate features include stain and fade resistance and an anti-bacterial coating.

Laminate is tested to a universal abrasion standard – typical ratings are:
AC4 - heavy domestic and medium commercial use.
AC5 - heavy domestic and intensive commercial use.

Typical warranties for laminate are from 20 years to 30 years.

Wood flooring usually comes pre-finished with a very durable factory applied polyurethane or oil finish. Wood flooring can of course be sanded back and refinished several times over the life of the floor, so in most cases it will last a lifetime.

It is common for wood flooring to come with 20 – 30 year warranties; especially if it is made in Europe.

laminate wood 02Water Resistance
Most laminate in the market is not 100% water-proof, however it will deal with every day spills relatively well in a kitchen area. A leak or flood can certainly cause issues, however this is also the case with timber flooring.

Some laminate available in the market is water-proof and can indeed be used in bathrooms. However water-proof laminate does cost considerably more than standard laminate floor boards.

You should also be careful when specifying wood flooring for use in bathrooms. Most manufacturers do not warrant their wood flooring for use in bathrooms, however Admonter is the exception – their oiled wood floors come with a warranty for use in well-ventilated bathrooms.

For more inspiration visit the Vienna Woods display at Home Ideas Auckland

Vienna Woods




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