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.
(Above) The difference between flooring types (from uhousebuild.com)
The Difference is Defininate
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). (builddirect.com) 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 putting down new. 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. 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’s where an issue lies that most box stores will not tell you. Excessive water 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. 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 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. 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.