Pulsed Nd-YAG laser welding characteristics of Inconel 718 sheet material (2 mm thick) were investigated. Welds were subjected to three different post-weld heat treatments: direct aging, 980 °C solution treatment + aging (980STA), and 1080 °C solution treatment + aging (1080STA). Weld microstructures and room temperature tensile properties were evaluated. Weld tensile properties in direct aged condition were found to be inferior in relation to the base metal due to the presence of Nb-rich brittle intermetallic Laves phase in fusion zone microstructure. Solution treatment at 980 °C was found to result in considerable dissolution of Laves phase, leading to some improvement in weld properties, though not to the level of base metal. The treatment was also found to result in precipitation of needle-like δ-phase around partially dissolved Laves particles. Solution treatment at 1080 °C was found to result in complete dissolution of Laves phase, but also in significant grain coarsening in the base metal, which led to considerable deterioration in base metal properties. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.