Laminate and engineered wood flooring are two of the more popular options on the market currently. These two flooring options are similar in terms of composition and appearance.
Many homeowners will utilize laminate and engineered wood flooring differently. However, there are some distinguishing differences to know about before you make your final purchase decision.
Laminate VS Engineered Wood Flooring
Engineered hardwood consists of natural wood slices on top, while laminate utilizes a photographic sheet coated with a layer for protection. Laminate floors are a lot thinner than engineered wood, and it usually measures around 12 millimeters in thickness.
Engineered hardwood, also known as human-made or manufactured wood, is used to cover natural wood issues.
Some of the problems that engineered hardwood solves are warping and weakness to moisture. Engineered wood utilizes three parts to create a solid plank of compressed layers: the veneer, the bottom layers, and the core layers.
Laminate flooring consists of a synthetic, rigid floor that is also referred to as a composite. It consists of several layers:
- Protecting layer – usually clear and laminated to the photographic sheet to protect from damage
- Photographic layer – a textured image that is visible and quality
- Inner core – this section combines fiberboard and resin for high-density protection
- Backing – this is the moisture-resistant bottom layer that serves as the underlying foundation
|Print later of a variety of wood replicas, glossy finish
|The top layer is real hardwood, making it as close to the authentic version as you could get
|$1-$5 per square foot
|$3-$13 per square foot
|Floating floor, more DIY friendly
|Nail gun or glue, professional installation mostly required
|Lifespan of 10-20 years
|With diligent care and refinishing, can last up to 100 years or more
|Fairly easy to clean and maintain, more resistant to
|Texture is much more detailed and can trap dust and dirt more easily
|More scratches than engineered hardwood
Both laminate flooring and engineered hardwood floors provide aesthetically pleasing appearances. Homeowners will need to decide whether they want a more natural-looking hardwood look or want to minimize costs and go with the synthetic floor in laminate.
Go through these articles to learn about The Best Wood Floor for a Bathroom & Best Hardwood Floor for a Basement.
Appearance of Laminate
Laminate flooring is designed to be a replica of solid hardwood. Many different types of laminate floors do a great job of representing the various species of wood. Many manufacturers have developed new processes of enabling the material to have more natural texture and grooves.
Although the product has advanced over the years, it will always come up short of being exactly alike. When you look at laminate flooring up carefully, you will see the artificial, high-gloss finish.
Appearance of Engineered Hardwood
Engineered hardwood still provides a natural appearance because of the thin slice of veneer, real hardwood. This top layer makes engineered hardwood flooring look nearly identical to solid, natural solid hardwood.
It provides an elegant, rustic finish to many households. Homeowners tend to gravitate toward this option because it increases the resale value of a home and portrays a clean feeling.
And although laminate floors are slightly more expensive, you can still get a good bang for your buck with engineered hardwood.
Many valuable, exotic wood choices can be purchased at a discount because the thin veneer layer is smaller than the more standard solid hardwood flooring. If you go with this option, you need to clean it consistently and perform periodic care, so it does not get dull.
Better for Appearance: Engineered Wood
There are a multitude of colors and choices for both these options. And while both will provide you the specific design you desire, engineered hardwood is the better choice because of its genuine, natural, and real appearance. It also gives your house more elegance and increases the value of it.
When you examine the costs between laminate and engineered wood, you will see that laminate has the advantage. But it is important to note that many homeowners use both options throughout the house.
You can arrange the flooring types in ways that adhere to your budget and goals, but you must first understand the price per square foot.
Cost of Laminate
Laminate flooring types can range from anywhere between $1-$5, but the higher quality designer types will run as high as $12 square foot. Below is a quick breakdown of cost by laminate quality:
- Low quality: $1 square foot
- Medium quality: $2.50-$4 square foot
- High quality: $5 square foot
Cost of Engineered Hardwood
Engineered hardwood will cost anywhere between $3-$13 square foot. You must also factor in the cost of installation by a professional, which could nearly double the engineered hardwood’s initial cost. Below are the average prices by quality:
- Low quality: $3-$5 square foot
- Medium quality: $5-$10 square foot
- High quality: $8-$13 square foot
Better for Cost: Laminate
Lower cost is one of the main reasons why someone would want to choose laminate flooring over engineered hardwood. The price points are more economical, more friendly toward DIY installation, and you do not necessarily need to hire a professional to get the job done.
Maintenance and Care
Maintenance and Care of Laminate
There are a few advantages to choosing laminate for maintenance reasons. The top, synthetic layer usually has a smooth surface, making it easy to wipe down after spills.
Although laminate flooring will require special products , the cleaning process doesn’t require much time. The laminate floors also do not trap dust as easily as carpets, so it is an excellent choice for people who have allergies.
A critical advantage that laminate could have over engineered hardwood is its resistance to scratching. You can move large objects and furniture around without worrying about damaging the surface, much like you would with more natural materials.
Maintenance and Care of Engineered Hardwood
Engineered hardwood’s natural finish is a smooth material that makes it resistant to allergens and other dust. The advantage that engineered hardwood has over laminate flooring is that you can clean it effectively with a damp.
Better for Maintenance & Care: Laminate
Both flooring types will require special cleaners to maintain, but engineered hardwood is much more susceptible to scratching. You will also need to perform a refinishing and waxing periodically. Therefore, we will hand over the advantage of laminate flooring because of the ease of care.
Durability and Lifespan
Durability and Lifespan of Laminate
Laminate flooring puts up a respectable resistance to wear and tear threats. The flooring is usually more robust because of the compressed bottom, middle, and top layers. For homes and offices that get a lot of traffic, it can be a viable option that still presents a wood-like appearance.
But the quality of laminate flooring does have a ceiling, however. The lifespan will not be as long as some other solid hardwood flooring options. Most types of laminate flooring will last anywhere between 10 and 20 years.
When the top wear layer is worn down, the floor cannot be refinished. The process of getting this replaced will be another cost and task to worry about.
Durability and Lifespan of Engineered Hardwood
Engineered hardwood was created to be a sturdier, improved alternative to traditional solid hardwoods.
It is much more water-resistant than its wood counterparts, but it is also more long-lasting than laminate flooring. Besides severe scratches, it can withstand more unexpected issues than laminate. It can even be refinished periodically so that it can last up to a century.
Better for Durability and Lifespan: Engineered Hardwood
Because of the solid hardwood surface’s overall strength and quality, it is the better option for durability. It is also an easy decision because of the long lifespan of 100 years, compared to the 10-20-year lifespan of laminate flooring.
Installation of Laminate
Laminate flooring is a lightweight, thin option for passionate DIY homeowners. When you install it in your home, it interlocks with its other planks.
The “floating floor” design is a much more straightforward process because you do not need to remove the floor or perform nailing to get the job done. Depending on your skill level and experience, laminate flooring installation usually takes one day.
Installation of Engineered Hardwood
Engineered hardwood installation is a much more complicated process that requires gluing, precision cutting, and nailing. It is not an ideal option for the DIY homeowner.
But as more manufacturers compete in this industry, there is a new version of solid hardwood that will provide the interlocking snap and click system, making the process possible for a DIY installation.
Better for Installation: Laminate
We give laminate flooring the advantage because it is always going to be an easy interlocking system installation.
It is one of the more straightforward floor options for installation across the board, even though some forms of engineered hardwood are moving this direction for DIY.
As you make your final decision between laminate vs. engineered hardwood flooring, you need to study your budget and home layout.
You could even combine the two options for a beautiful home flooring style. But if we were to choose one or the other, we give the vote of confidence to engineered hardwood flooring.
Engineered hardwood provides a more natural appearance because the top layer is real hardwood. Although laminate flooring is more budget-friendly, hardwood flooring will raise the resale value much higher than laminate.
Engineered hardwood will also give you a much more long-lasting option. Because you can refinish it periodically, it can last up to five times longer as the laminate flooring.
Although laminate flooring provides some realistic replicas of hardwood, you cannot go wrong with putting the authentic flooring of hardwood flooring in your home. It will give you a real feeling of elegance for your lovely home.