Engineered Hardwood vs Laminate — Flooring My Life Magazine

Engineered Hardwood vs Laminate - Flooring My Life Magazine

Engineered Hardwood vs Laminate

Engineered Hardwood vs Laminate

Engineered hardwood and laminate flooring where to start? Are they the same thing? Which one lasts longer? Which one is more durable? Which one is best for my lifestyle and my budget? Everyday people come into our showroom confused about what a laminate floor really is. They will ask if we carry laminate but what they really want is an engineered hardwood. This goes both ways because people will come in looking for something that is engineered but they really want a laminate. So what’s the difference? Engineered hardwood has top wear layer (veneer) of real hardwood that is attached to some sort of base usually a plywood or high density fiber. With laminate flooring the top layer is a photo graph with a protective finish on it. There is no real wood involved. I think the main reason for misunderstanding is that engineered hardwood is constructed by laminating or gluing together the materials. So the logical answer to what it really is, is a laminate. Now that you have the basic idea of what the difference is, lets take a look at how the products match up in design, durability, longevity, installation and maintenance.

Design: Engineered has the leg up here because it is the real thing. It really doesn’t matter how good the laminate is made, with real products versus alternative products like laminate, real wins in comparison. With that being said laminate flooring designs are becoming more and more realistic especially with the plank hardwood laminates. Single wide plank laminates do the best job imitating “real hardwood”.

Durability: Laminates may have the edge on this one. When purchasing either floor. the bottom line to daily wear and tear is the quality of finish on the product. Laminate floors allow for stronger finishes, and the more quality laminates have great impact resistance as well. Engineered hardwood has extremely durable finishes as well but not quite as scratch resistant as the leading laminates. Impact resistance with laminates has to do with the actual species of wood. For example, Brazilian Cherry is going to be more impact resistant than an oak hardwood would be.

Longevity: Laminate floors are a disposable floor. Meaning that when its done and wore out, you throw the product out and start from scratch. Engineered hardwoods can last a lifetime depending on the amount of wear layer. When shopping for engineered hardwood the amount of sand able wear layer you have will determine the longevity of the floor. Many engineered hardwoods can be sanded 3-4 times. This gives the home a floor for years to come.

Installation: Both products are fairly easy to install. Mostly all laminate floors are installed floating with a tongue and groove locking system. Some engineered hardwoods offer the same thing but most engineered hardwood is just standard tongue and groove. Engineered hardwood sometimes have to be glued down or installed with a glue float combination. This is where the tongue and the groove are glued together creating a floating install. Both products can be installed on both wood sub-floors, concrete slabs and below grade.

Maintenance: The everyday maintenance is virtually the same. Wipe up spills. dust mop /sweep and damp mop as necessary. Engineered hardwoods are often times more repairable and easier to disguise imperfection.  Engineered hardwood also can be screened and re coated to spruce up the appearance of the floor with out refinishing or replacing.

Cost: A few years ago laminate was the clear cheaper way to go if you were working with a budget. Times have changed recently. Now you can a get a medium engineered product at the same cost as a laminate. Laminate is always going to have the cheapest solution, but most the time that cheap solution is not what you want for your home. Engineered hardwood, because it is a hardwood, is actually adding value to your home when it comes time to resell. So purchasing an engineered is a true investment.

Engineered hardwood is the real thing, laminate is the alternative. Both are quality options but in most situations I think engineered hardwood is the better choice because of its beauty, value and longevity.

Do you have an engineered hardwood or a laminate? Tell me about your experience.

By Donnie | 2012-11-01T23:19:23+00:00 November 1st, 2012 | Categories: General | Tags: | Comments Off

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