It’s clear to see that today’s laminate flooring looks more like real wood than ever before, but it’s still not the same as engineered or hardwood flooring. You’ll find that most laminate is less expensive than most engineered wood flooring. However, the differences are also significant in ways other than price.
Both products are made of layers of various materials. Only engineered wood flooring has a top layer of actual hardwood. Laminate’s top layer is a wear layer that protects the pattern beneath. The other layers differ too. Laminate has a backing layer, then a base layer beneath the print, and then, finally, wear layers. Engineered wood floors have between three and twelve layers. The more layers, the higher the quality of the flooring. The top layer can be just about any hardwood species found in real hardwood floors, and its thickness also influences the cost and longevity of the product.
Finishing and Refinishing
Laminate flooring only comes pre-finished. Once it’s scratched or otherwise damaged, it has to be replaced. There is no re-coating or refinishing for laminate floors. Although engineered wood floors are most commonly installed pre-finished with several layers of stain and a topcoat, some are available ready to stain and finish on site. There are many benefits of a pre-finished style, including speed of installation and a stronger finish. Of course, if you want a color you’ve not been able to find, a ready-to-finish product is a great solution. Most quality engineered wood floors can be refinished at least once, making them a longer lasting option for your home.
Things happen and floors are commonly damaged. Although neither product should be installed in a wet environment like a laundry or bathroom, both have different advantages when it comes to water. A laminate floor will resist surface water better than engineered wood flooring. However, once the base layer is wet, it will have to be replaced. If an engineered wood floor gets wet, it won’t warp or buckle as quickly as a laminate.
Both products can be scratched from furniture, pet nails, and other means. Engineered wood is more likely to sustain scratches. Because you can refinish it, though, some surface scratches might not require replacement of the whole floor.
Seer Flooring can help you choose the right material for your home. We install hardwood and engineered wood flooring, tile and luxury vinyl tile, and occasionally laminate. Call us at (727) 469-7963 to schedule your in-home consultation to help you determine the best flooring material for your home and budget.