Hardwood vs Engineered vs Laminate Flooring | Sunlit Spaces

Hardwood vs Engineered vs Laminate Flooring | Sunlit Spaces

Hardwood vs Engineered vs Laminate Flooring

Since my kitchen flooded (fridge icemaker malfunction), and we had to rip up some carpet and extend our hardwood, I have had floors on the brain.

When we built this house, we used a very middle of the row builder. It is not a big fancy million dollar custom home with every upgrade you can imagine.  We bought an affordable home with plenty of space, and I happen to think it is beautiful.  We did wood flooring from the entry way into the kitchen and dining nook.  The hallway was carpet, until the flood, and we decided to rip it up and extend the wood to the bedrooms and leave the bedrooms with carpet.

Talking to a couple of friends this week about wood floors, I realized that a lot of people are confused as to what the options for flooring are and what the benefits and downsides of each are. Some people get laminate and engineered wood mixed up, or think it is the same.  So, I decided to list them for you.  My husband is a woodworker and kind of an expert when it comes to woods- and definitely somewhat of a wood snob, so it KILLS HIM that we have engineered wood flooring (not to be confused with laminate- see below.)  I am sure one day he will rip them out and replace them, but for now they look beautiful and are somewhat easy to maintain (except that mine are super dark- so every.single.cracker.crumb shows!)

Hardwood Floors

Hardwood is gorgeous and definitely the most preferred.  It varies a great deal in price, depending on the wood you choose to use.  Generally, hardwood is the most expensive option.  Below I have listed the pros and cons.

  • Its the real stuff and real is better, right?
  • Its gorgeous and timeless
  • Adds value to your home
  • It can be refinished if it gets nicks or scratches in it, you can sand it down and refinish it
  • Shows wear and tear
  • Has to be refinished to stay looking nice
  • Can get damaged with excessive moisture
  • More expensive than other options

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

This is what we have.  It is made of an mdf material (pressed wood) and then it has 1/4 inch wood veneer on the top.  The top is real hardwood, but it does not go solid all the way through.  Engineered flooring has its place and can look beautiful as well.

    Hardwood vs Engineered vs Laminate Flooring | Sunlit Spaces
  • Comes prefinished, so you never have to sand and refinish
  • Less expensive
  • You can replace the damaged pieces one by one, and it matches because it is prefinished.
  • It does not expand and contract as much as solid wood with changes in your humidity
  • You cant sand it down if you get scratches, you have to replace it.
  • Moisture damage if exposed to excessive water

Laminate Flooring

This is a vinyl layering over a pressed board to appear like wood, but is actually made of vinyl.

  • Durable- doesnt show wear (scratches and dents) like wood does
  • It can be very realistic in texture and style
  • Less maintenance
  • Easy to clean
  • Much less expensive
  • It cant be refinished
  • It can react badly to excessive moisture as well
  • Its not the real deal
  • Does not add value to the home because most people prefer real hardwood

Hardwood vs Engineered vs Laminate Flooring

Since my kitchen flooded (fridge icemaker malfunction), and we had to rip up some carpet and extend our hardwood, I have had floors on the brain.

When we built this house, we used a very middle of the row builder. It is not a big fancy million dollar custom home with every upgrade you can imagine.  We bought an affordable home with plenty of space, and I happen to think it is beautiful.  We did wood flooring from the entry way into the kitchen and dining nook.  The hallway was carpet, until the flood, and we decided to rip it up and extend the wood to the bedrooms and leave the bedrooms with carpet.

Talking to a couple of friends this week about wood floors, I realized that a lot of people are confused as to what the options for flooring are and what the benefits and downsides of each are. Some people get laminate and engineered wood mixed up, or think it is the same.  So, I decided to list them for you.  My husband is a woodworker and kind of an expert when it comes to woods- and definitely somewhat of a wood snob, so it KILLS HIM that we have engineered wood flooring (not to be confused with laminate- see below.)  I am sure one day he will rip them out and replace them, but for now they look beautiful and are somewhat easy to maintain (except that mine are super dark- so every.single.cracker.crumb shows!)

Hardwood Floors

Hardwood is gorgeous and definitely the most preferred.  It varies a great deal in price, depending on the wood you choose to use.  Generally, hardwood is the most expensive option.  Below I have listed the pros and cons.

  • Its the real stuff and real is better, right?
  • Its gorgeous and timeless
  • Adds value to your home
  • It can be refinished if it gets nicks or scratches in it, you can sand it down and refinish it
  • Shows wear and tear
  • Has to be refinished to stay looking nice
  • Can get damaged with excessive moisture
  • More expensive than other options

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

This is what we have.  It is made of an mdf material (pressed wood) and then it has 1/4 inch wood veneer on the top.  The top is real hardwood, but it does not go solid all the way through.  Engineered flooring has its place and can look beautiful as well.

  • Comes prefinished, so you never have to sand and refinish
  • Less expensive
  • You can replace the damaged pieces one by one, and it matches because it is prefinished.
  • It does not expand and contract as much as solid wood with changes in your humidity
  • You cant sand it down if you get scratches, you have to replace it.
  • Moisture damage if exposed to excessive water

Laminate Flooring

This is a vinyl layering over a pressed board to appear like wood, but is actually made of vinyl.

  • Durable- doesnt show wear (scratches and dents) like wood does
  • It can be very realistic in texture and style
  • Less maintenance
  • Easy to clean
  • Much less expensive
  • It cant be refinished
  • It can react badly to excessive moisture as well
  • Its not the real deal
  • Does not add value to the home because most people prefer real hardwood


Leave a Reply