The floor is the foundation of any room. It helps create a clean space and establishes the look you want. It affects color scheme, lighting, warmth, comfort, and so much more. When you choose the type of flooring to put in a room, you’re setting the atmosphere and expectations for that space. That means you need to do your research and weigh each option carefully. For anyone seeking a traditional, natural wood appearance for their floors, this choice often comes down to engineered hardwood or laminate. What are the pros and cons of each option? Which would work best in your home or business? Find the answers to all these questions and more with this guide to engineered hardwood vs laminate so you can determine what to choose.
What Is Engineered Hardwood Flooring?
Before you make any decisions, you should learn more about what each option means and how it’s made. Engineered hardwood flooring is a natural wood flooring option that consists of a top layer or veneer of real solid wood, a plywood or high-density fiberboard core, and a backing layer. The veneer gives engineered hardwood the look, feel, and durability of solid hardwood. Meanwhile, the core—which consists of plywood or recycled forest materials—provides stability without costing as much money or using as many natural resources as solid hardwood. Contractors and homeowners use engineered hardwood to avoid some of the issues of solid hardwood—such as warping and other water damage—while maintaining the gorgeous appearance and reliable durability of a natural wood floor.
What Is Laminate Flooring?
Laminate is a synthetic type of floor that mimics the look and feel of solid hardwood. Laminate flooring accomplishes this through a realistic image layer on top of a particleboard core, both of which sit above a base or stabilizing layer. Manufacturers use techniques like embossing or texturizing on the surface of laminate floors to create an even more realistic natural wood appearance. Underneath, the base layer provides a solid backbone, stabilizing the floor and offering protection against any moisture damage from the subfloor. Unlike engineered hardwood, laminate floors are entirely manmade. This means that they’re often cheaper, but less likely to be as eco-friendly as engineered hardwood flooring.
Engineered Hardwood vs Laminate: What To Choose
There are pros and cons to both engineered hardwood and laminate flooring. In some aspects, both options make an excellent choice. The decision comes down to what is best for your home or business. Before you make your choice, make sure you know where each option stands out or falls flat. With a little research, you can make an informed decision and install the greatest option for your building.
Looks aren’t the most important thing in the world, but they’re pretty crucial when it comes to designing a home or business. After all, what’s the point of putting down flooring if it isn’t a quality addition to your dream design? Both laminate and engineered hardwood create a traditional wood floor appearance. That said, engineered hardwood uses real and solid wood to accomplish this. With engineered hardwood, you get the natural tones, grain, character marks, and other distinct characteristics of wood. Laminate flooring can mimic this, but it simply doesn’t hold up as well under close inspection.
Engineered hardwood and laminate flooring both act as a beautiful and durable floor for your room, and they each accomplish this in different ways. Laminate flooring can prevent scratches and dents. While an untrimmed dog paw or a heavy piece of furniture might damage your engineered wood floor, laminate flooring will be fine. Laminate flooring also doesn’t fade in the sun or stain as easily as engineered hardwood. That said, laminate floors can chip over time. You also can’t refinish laminate the way you can with engineered hardwood. While it may take a little more care to protect your engineered wood floors, they tend to last many years longer than a typical laminate flooring.
Engineered hardwood and laminate flooring each offer more water and moisture resistance than solid hardwood. The plywood or fiberboard cores of each product, along with the finishes and wear layers, work to repel water and prevent the boards from expanding, shrinking, or warping. In fact, you can install both laminate and engineered hardwood floors in basements, kitchens, and other rooms that solid hardwood can’t handle. However, while both engineered hardwood and laminate floors are water-resistant, neither are waterproof. You still need to clean up spills quickly, monitor humidity in the room, and use a broom, vacuum, or dry mop to keep the floor safe from moisture damage.
Cleaning and Maintenance
When it comes to caring for your floor, engineered hardwood and laminate require similar techniques and attention. Regular sweeping or dry mopping will take care of the dirt, pet hair, and other debris that may gather on your floors over time. You can also perform the occasional deep clean by using special products designed for your laminate or engineered hardwood flooring. This will allow you to make your floors shine like new without damaging the finish or wear layer of your floor.
As mentioned above, laminate flooring won’t dent or scratch as easily as an engineered hardwood floor. You can care for scratches in your engineered wood floor with scratch concealer, touch-up or repair kits, and other helpful products. Engineered hardwood also allows you to sand and refinish the floor after several years as long as the veneer is thick enough.
Ease of installation can also affect your decision. Laminate flooring is both cheaper and easier to install. Laminate floors use a floating installation method, which consists of locking planks together with an easy-to-use tongue and groove system. Laminate floors require no glue or nails to install, which makes the process quick and simple. You can also install a floating engineered hardwood floor through the same process. Alternatively, you can install engineered hardwood by gluing, nailing, or stapling the planks to the subfloor. With the right care and preparation, savvy DIYers can install their engineered hardwood flooring on their own.
Which option will you choose for your home or business? If engineered hardwood is the floor for you, check out the best modern engineered wood flooring collections at From the Forest. We’ve got the variety of species and designs you need to find the perfect floor for your new room.