Engineered Wood Flooring vs Laminate Flooring

Trying to decide between engineered wood flooring and laminate flooring? Find out the choice that is a sound investment to last you decades of beauty and quality.


Homeowners that are building or remodeling their home face hundreds of questions from what is the best product to where to buy it from to what is the most bang for their buck! When it comes to choosing between engineered wood flooring or laminate flooring, the answer is clear. Quality engineered flooring will give a home the warmth and beauty of real wood and the long lasting durability that laminate just cannot provide.

Interested in using engineered or solid wood flooring for your project?  Tell us your story and we’ll let you know how we can help.


The Difference is Definate

The difference starts at the most basic level, the definition of the two products. Laminate flooring has a definition of  a multi-layer synthetic flooring product fused together with a lamination process. Laminate flooring simulates wood (or sometimes stone) with a photographic applique layer under a clear protective layer (wikipedia). Engineered flooring is a top layer of a real hardwood species and a core, typically consisting of multiple plywood layers laminated together to form a durable plank, or in some cases HDF (high density fiberboard). (

Moral of the story is laminate flooring has nothing to do with actual wood. Once it is installed, there is nothing that can be done to update it with out removing the old and spending the money putting down new laminate. This isn’t to say any engineered flooring is the answer. Like with any product, there are quality levels. For a product that lasts through the years, an engineered floor with a 4 mil real wood wear surface is the best bet. You also want to make sure it has quality milling to ensure it installs easily and the finished product looks gorgeous. This allows a homeowner to refinish it at least once in the lifetime of the product. The wear surface gives the product versatility to grow and change with trends or a homeowner’s preferences.


Maintenance Issues Uncovered


Here is where an issue lies that most box stores will not tell you. Excessive water usage when cleaning is really not good for any flooring. However, laminate flooring cannot be wet… at all! Maintenance has to be with vacuuming and dust mopping only. If you have pets or children, this is not a great way to clean since there is always dust, dirty, spills, etc. Homeowners must clean up spills of water immediately. The result of water on a laminate floor is warping and buckling. Engineered wood flooring has the option to be cleaned with vacuuming, dust mopping, wet mopping, etc. Engineered wood flooring is thicker than laminate so offers better stability and durability helping to prevent warping and buckling.

Long Term Savings

Cost is a major factor that pushes people to purchase laminate from Home Depot and Lowes. For homeowners that want to stay in their home or want to increase the value, the slightly more costly engineered wood flooring is the better alternative. Wood flooring is always in style. The versatility of the engineered product allows the current homeowner to update as desired. If a quality flooring is chosen, then the longevity of the products means it will look beautiful for years to come. When selling a home, giving a new owner the choice to refinish floors is a lot less problematic than having to rip up laminate that is only built to last 3-5 years.

How to pick quality Engineered Flooring?

So you have chosen to go with engineered wood flooring after reviewing the information on both types of flooring. But now the question is “how do I know I am getting quality engineered flooring and it will end up looking how I want?”. There are several factors to consider. 

  1. Pick a reputable company: Especially if you are putting this in your forever home, it is best to pick a company that has been in business for some time. This means the company has a good track record and will be around if you have any questions further down the line about your product. Or even more importantly, if you decide to add additional flooring to your home, you save yourself the hassle of trying to match what you originally installed. A company that proves its longevity is a safe choice for your investment. 
  2. A company that offers samples: On top of having a good reputation, any company that stands by their products will send you a sample. They should be proud to share with you what you should expect to receive when you order with them. 
  3. Look for quality products: When you receive your sample, it should be a good representation of what you will be receiving. Our goal at Albany Woodworks is to try to pick samples that will be a good representation of the product. We guarantee all of our flooring to meet our descriptions provided in our catalog. Key components to quality engineered flooring is: 4 mil or more wear surface, strong and low VOC adhesive, end matching, quality tongue and groove milling and a sturdy plywood backing. 
  4. Pre-finished vs Unfinished: Both are good options, it just depends on if you can find what you want in a pre-finished product. Make sure when you get the pre-finished product that it is in the color and finish luster that you want. There are several types of finish out there and sheen. Find out more in our blog on picking the right finish for your project. Unfinished is a blank canvas for you to make your own. A flooring installer can stain it to your exact desired color and finish. The end result is a custom look for your unique home and project. 
  5. Pick a reputable flooring installer: Flooring installation can be a do-it-yourself project but that can also mean a steep learning curve. Engineered flooring is probably the easier of the wood flooring options to install yourself due to the end matching. However, it never hurts to get a professional to do so especially if you have chosen an unfinished product. Just like the flooring supplier, you want to make sure you pick someone that has been around for awhile. Don’t be afraid to ask for references from other clients and/or pictures of projects similar to yours. 

How much engineered flooring should I order?

The first step to ordering wood for your home depends on if this is a new construction or a remodel to an existing space.  For a remodel, you will need a calculator, notepad, pencil, and tape measure.  Make measurements of the floor space from wall to wall and write it down on your notepad.  Typically to calculate square footage of flooring, you will need the length and width of a room.  Once you have the measurements written down, take out your calculator.  Multiply these two numbers together and your total will be in square foot. 

Measuring the space made easy: If the room is a traditional square or rectangle shape, measure the length and width of the space between the walls.  It may help to have a friend or loved one hold the end of the tape for your room size measurements to be as accurate as possible. 

Here is a tip: If the room has is an open floor plan or has an area that has walls on an angle, a bay window for example.  Break the room up into sections that way you will have measurements for each part allowing for an accurate estimation for square footage.    

The measuring process is a bit easier for a new construction project.  You may already have a copy of your project’s blueprints.  To calculate square footage from blueprints, you will need the much the same materials as before but with one small addition. To accurately read blueprints you will need a scale ruler instead of a tape measure.  Scale rulers are available for purchase at most office supply or home stores and are a great tool to have handy.

How to read blueprints: Blueprints are a representation of your project in a two-dimensional drawing that is to scale.  Common scale measurements are 1/4 or 1/2 inch to represent a foot of building space.  For example, if your blueprints are to 1/2-inch scale, every half-inch measurement equals one foot of room measurement.

Here is a tip:  To allow for the best results in installing your floor, allow for a waste factor in your estimate.  This is 10% in most cases.  Multiply your total square footage by .10 to get the correct amount of waste factor to add to your flooring order.

A great opportunity to go green

Reclaimed engineered flooring from Albany Woodworks is a great option.  Going green for your project can save you money and is a healthy choice for your family. 

100% recycled We source our materials from historic sites being demolished, giving new life to these antique woods. 

Non-toxic By choosing low VOC adhesives on our engineered products, you can rest assured your family is happy and healthy. Our sustainable plywood backing is formaldehyde free, a component found in most new wood sourced from other countries.  

High Quality Our flooring products have some of the best wear surfaces in the industry. This cuts down on costs for the lifetime of your floor which is great for your pocket book and the environment. 


  • No. Even though laminate flooring is composed of a majority of wood fibers, none of this wood is in its natural state.

    July 13, 2017
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