Q: My son is in a power wheelchair. To get to his room he needs to cross the den and I would like to replace it with wood. I’m understanding that the laminating would be easier to keep from getting damaged. Please let me know if a laminated one would work better than a hardwood one. It will get a lot of wear and tear.
A: What is your sub floor made of? Are you in a house or condominium/apartment with concrete? If it is concrete, a good quality laminate would be ideal. I just installed one for a man in the same situation. Laminates are not a floor that would last a lifetime. However, in a condominium setting, they should give you years of trouble free service.
In a private home, where you can nail a floor down, but where the sub floors are often not dead flat and level (a must for a laminate installation), a floor 3/4 thick, and properly finished with 3 coats of polyurethane and no cheap sealers used as a base coat will also take a lot of abuse. With real hardwood, if it suffers surface scratches and scuffs, it can later be lightly buffed and a fresh coat of finish applied. With laminate, there really is no fix.