When hardwood flooring is out of your budget or doesn’t make sense for the space, two popular alternatives are laminate floors and engineered wood flooring. Although both come in many design options, they are very different flooring options. Available in many different finishes and styles, these two flooring materials have very different features.
Although both may look the same at a distance, they have very different manufacturing processes. Engineered wood floors are made up of four layers that contribute to its structural stability. The top layer is called the wear layer and is a thin veneer hardwood. Laminate is made of pressed wood with an image of woodgrain on top. Where most engineered wood flooring can be refinished at least once, laminate can not be refinished at all.
You can find laminates and engineered wood in a wide price range, but generally, the lowest price engineered wood flooring is about equal in price to the most expensive laminate. With both products, spending more does make a difference. A more expensive engineered wood floor can be refinished a few times but may cost nearly as much as hardwood flooring at around $10 – $15 per square foot. A laminate that costs $5 per square foot rather than around $1 will look more like real wood flooring and will last longer.
Maintenance and Life Expectancy
Both require regular cleaning if you expect them to last. Because the wear layer of most laminates is smooth, it wipes clean easily. You’ll want to make sure to use non-abrasive cleaning solutions on either material to avoid scratching. The cheaper the laminate, the shorter the life. Most require replacing after about 10 years.
Engineered wood takes a bit more care because it does have a layer of real wood. You’ll want to be diligent about wiping up any spills quickly so they don’t damage the wood. Because you can refinish engineered wood flooring, it will last longer with good care. Typically, after about 10 years you’ll want to refinish your engineered wood flooring but it may last as long as 50-100 years depending on the quality.
Which is Best?
When it comes to choosing the right flooring material for your home, consider your budget and what you expect out of the flooring. If you plan on selling your home in the near future, you may want to consider resale value. Although neither have the resale value of real hardwood flooring, quality laminate and engineered wood floors are better regarded today than ever before.
If you’re still trying to make the right choice for your new flooring, call Seer Flooring at (727) 785-1930. With our free consultation, we can help you choose the best flooring for your home. In our next blog, we’ll compare wood look tile and engineered wood flooring.