Best Blanched Laminate Real Wood Flooring Options (2024 Guide)

Blanched laminate real wood flooring is an increasingly popular option for homeowners looking to achieve a light, airy aesthetic while enjoying the natural beauty and texture of hardwood floors.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the best blanched laminate flooring options available today, including an overview of different wood species, key considerations, tips for proper installation and care, brand recommendations, and frequently asked questions.

What is Blanched Laminate Real Wood Flooring?

Blanched laminate is engineered wood flooring that features a top layer of real wood veneer that has undergone bleaching to remove its natural pigments. This whitewashing process creates a pale, ethereal appearance while allowing the wood’s grain and texture to show through.

The whitened wood veneer is then fused to layers of high-density fiberboard (HDF) to form a durable, stable core. A layer of melamine resin is applied to protect the flooring from wear, scratches, and moisture. This combination of real wood and resilient laminate construction pairs the character of solid hardwood with the cost-effective and low maintenance of laminate flooring.

Benefits of Choosing Blanched Laminate Floors

Several key benefits make blanched laminate real wood an appealing flooring solution:

  • Affordability: Blanched laminate costs $2–$5 per square foot installed, while solid white oak flooring can cost over $10 per square foot. You get a similar whitewashed wood look at a fraction of the price.
  • Durability: Quality laminate flooring can last 15–25 years with proper care. The protective melamine layer resists scratches, dents, and moisture damage better than unfinished solid wood.
  • Easy Maintenance: Blanched laminate only requires occasional sweeping or damp mopping to keep it clean, without any sanding or refinishing over time.
  • Versatile Appearance: The pale, whitewashed coloration and visible wood grain provide an airy, coastal aesthetic that suits both classic and contemporary home decor styles.

What to Look for in Quality Blanched Laminate Floors

With a growing number of laminate flooring brands offering blanched oak and ash options, it helps to know what construction features indicate truly premium quality. According to our research, we recommend flooring that exhibits the following factors: 

The top melamine layer should measure at least 12 mils (0.012 inches) thick. This protective coating prevents scratches, scuffs, and indentations over years of use.

Quality blanched laminate will use water-resistant HDF or AquaSafe cores, which prevents moisture damage, swelling, and warping.

Look for fine details like a hand-scraped finish, saw cuts, knots, and mineral streaks that emulate the character of natural wood floors.

Top brands offer pro-rated warranties against wear, staining, fading, and moisture damage for 15 years or longer — indications of serious durability.

Carefully inspecting the laminate flooring’s construction and warranty coverage helps ensure you select the best blanched option for long-lasting beauty in your home.

Best Wood Species for Blanched Laminate Floors

While you can bleach almost any wood species to create a blanched laminate floor, some of today’s most popular choices include:

  • Ash: With its smooth, pale appearance and straight grain pattern, blanched ash laminate provides a clean, contemporary look.
  • Aspen: The whitened appearance of aspen laminate flooring creates a rustic, reclaimed wood aesthetic fitting relaxed, cozy spaces.
  • Birch: Known for its flexibility and workability, birch offers a lightly-grained canvas that allows the bleached coloration to truly shine through.
  • Maple: Subtly-grained maple takes on a creamy, organic appearance when bleached. It suits both modern and traditional design aesthetics.
  • White Oak: Prized for its pronounced grains and knots, white oak has a timeless appeal. The bleaching process accentuates the wood’s natural texture.

No matter your style, there is a fitting species of wood to use as the basis for blanched laminate flooring. Prioritize options emulating textures and characteristics you find visually appealing.

Blanched Laminate Flooring Installation Tips

Proper laydown plays a key role in ensuring blanched laminate floors look beautiful while performing well for years to come. Of course, you have the option of hiring a professional flooring contractor or going the DIY route.

Should you choose to install the flooring yourself, our experts recommend keeping the following in mind: 

  • Acclimate the Flooring: Keep boxes of planks in the room where they will be installed for at least 48 hours. This allows the boards to adjust to the temperature and humidity.
  • Prepare the Subfloor: Make sure the subfloor is flat, clean, and dry first. Address any uneven spots and fill cracks with a floor leveler.
  • Add Underlayment: A foam underlayment helps smooth out minor subfloor imperfections while muting noise when walking across the floor.
  • Allow ¼-Inch Expansion Gap: When fitting planks together, leave a ¼-inch gap around the entire perimeter to allow natural expansion and contraction of the flooring.
  • Stagger End Joints: Start each row of flooring with planks of varying lengths to ensure a random appearance rather than a predictable pattern.

Following these best practices for installing your new blanched laminate flooring prevents issues down the road while maximizing aesthetics from day one.

Caring for Blanched Laminate Floors

The resilient laminate construction of blanched flooring makes upkeep quite straightforward compared to natural wood floors. Just follow these basic care guidelines:

  • Sweep or vacuum regularly to prevent dirt buildup that can scratch the protective top layer over time.
  • Wipe spills immediately to avoid moisture seeping between the flooring planks.
  • Use felt pads underneath furniture legs to prevent scuffing and scratches when moving items.
  • Avoid using steam mops or excessive moisture when cleaning. Instead, use a damp (not wet) microfiber mop as needed.
  • Consider adding area rugs in high-traffic zones to limit wear and tear in heavy-use areas.

By taking minor precautions, quality blanched laminate floors can maintain their like-new appearance for over a decade without the need for refinishing or complicated cleaning regimens.

Top 5 Blanched Laminate Floors

The best blanched laminate floors mimic the texture and character of natural wood species while offering complete stain and moisture resistance. Here are our top picks:

Shaw Blanched Oak Cathedral Plank

  • Realistic, varied plank widths from 5 to 7 inches
  • Matte texture with subtle graining
  • $2.09 per square foot

Mohawk RevWood Plus Blanched Elm

  • Distressed styling with character marks
  • 12mm thickness for added durability
  • $2.99 per square foot

Pergo Max Premier Blanched Oak

  • Extra-long 8-foot planks minimize seams
  • Pre-attached foam underlayment for quieter footsteps
  • $3.98 per square foot

Armstrong Pryzm Blanched Washed Oak

  • Registered Embossed-in-Register surface for seamless visuals
  • High 22 mil wear layer can withstand heavy traffic
  • $4.99 per square foot

Kronotex Mammut Blanched Oak XL

  • Oversized 9-inch wide planks make a bold statement
  • Natural matte texture and smooth finish
  • $5.49 per square foot

Today’s Homeowner Tips

When selecting new flooring, prioritize options with thicker wear layers, water-resistant cores, realistic textures, and warranties of at least 15 years. 

So, Which Blanched Laminate Flooring Should You Choose?

When selecting the best blanched laminate real wood flooring for your home, consider which wood aligns with your interior design style, the quality of construction, warranty protections, and overall value for money.

Shoppers on tight budgets may opt for affordable yet attractive options from brands like Shaw and Pergo. Homeowners willing to invest more for exceptional performance can’t go wrong with premium lines from Armstrong, Kronotex, and Mohawk.

No matter which product you ultimately select, following the proper installation and care recommendations helps ensure your new blanched laminate flooring retains its beauty and durability for years of enjoyment.

FAQs About Blanched Laminate Real Wood Flooring

Does blanched laminate flooring scratch easily?

Quality blanched laminate flooring is highly scratch-resistant thanks to the thick melamine wear layer protecting the floor’s surface. Brands like Kronotex use wear layers exceeding 20 mils thick for extreme scratch protection and durability.

How long does blanched laminate flooring last?

With proper care and maintenance, high-end blanched laminate floors can provide 15 to 25 years of use before needing replacement. Investing in boards with thicker wear layers and warranties extending 20 years or longer ensures exceptional longevity.

Is blanched laminate flooring waterproof?

While blanched laminate flooring resists moisture better than unfinished solid hardwood, it is not waterproof. Letting puddles of water sit on the floor’s surface can still lead to swelling, warping, and damage over time. Be sure to wipe any spills immediately.

Should you put underlayment under laminate flooring?

Yes, our experts highly recommend using an underlayment beneath your laminate flooring. A quality underlayment smooths out slight subfloor imperfections and cushions your floor, which makes it more comfortable to walk on and dampens sound.

Can you install blanched laminate flooring over existing floors?

In most cases, yes – you can install blanched laminate flooring over existing floor materials like vinyl, linoleum, or even hardwood floors in good condition. This floating floor system allows existing surfaces to remain in place as a suitable subfloor in many homes.

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