Understanding the Differences between Engineered and Laminate Wood Flooring

Some flooring companies try to pass off laminate wood flooring as the same or similar to engineered wood flooring. There are differences in what they are made from, installation, useful life and many other aspects. We want to help make the differences in these two popular flooring products clear so as you make your new flooring decisions, you have all the facts.

Appearance and Installation

Today’s laminate wood flooring looks considerably more realistic than it did even ten years ago but make no mistake; it is not really a wood floor. Modern manufacturing technology helps create a more realistic wood grain pattern but it still repeats about every five boards. Engineered wood floors have a wear layer that is real wood so the pattern will never repeat because the wood grain is different in every board.

Installation of engineered wood flooring depends on the manufacturer. Most common installation methods are nailing or gluing down but some brands have a floating installation method. Laminate boards lock into place and attach to one another. All laminate comes finished so once the installation is complete, your floor is ready to walk on.

Durability and Repair

The wear layer of laminate is very durable. It doesn’t scratch easily and doesn’t stain or fade. When exposed to standing water, there is a risk of the edges warping but for the most part, laminate stands up to water. Once the wear layer of the laminate wood flooring is exposed or damaged, there is no repairing it. You have to replace the floor.

Engineered wood flooring has the same moisture issues as laminate, in that it tolerates normal occasional spills but standing water will warp the boards. The wear layer on engineered wood is completely different than with laminate. It is made from real hardwood so depending upon the thickness, repairs can be made and the entire floor can be refinished.

Longevity and Resale Value

Because you can refinish engineered wood flooring, its useful life is longer than laminate. Of course, the actual comparison of the flooring’s life can only be determined after you choose the actual product as there is a wide variation of quality in both engineered and laminate wood floors. Some laminate manufacturers offer ten or more year warranties on their products and they can last up to 20 years. Mid-range engineered wood can last twice that long.

Engineered wood floors bring a greater resale value than laminate but cost more. Mid-range laminate wood flooring can cost about half of mid-range engineered wood floors. You’ll pay more for the installation of engineered wood floors as well.

As you can see, engineered and laminate wood floors are not the same at all and shouldn’t be used interchangeably. If you want a flooring company who will help you choose the best flooring for your home and budget, call Seer Flooring at 727-785-1930.