When searching for an affordable alternative to solid hardwood, engineered wood and laminate flooring are great choices. Both flooring options have advantages and disadvantages, so comparing and contrasting them is essential before making your final decision.
The floor is one of the most prominent parts of any room. Therefore, picking a flooring option is a crucial step that requires several considerations. Choosing the wrong floor can be a considerable loss, especially since you have to stick with your decision for quite a while. So, before you decide between engineered wood and laminate flooring, it is essential to read this guide.
7 Key Differences Between Engineered Wood and Laminate Flooring
Structure and Composition
Before we delve deeper, it is crucial to answer these questions: What is engineered wood flooring made of? And what is laminate flooring?
Engineered wood flooring is manufactured by glueing together multiple layers of plywood to create a solid inner core. The core is topped with a hardwood outer layer (known as Lamella). This outer layer varies in thickness (2-6mm thick), depending on the board quality.
Laminate flooring also consists of several layers. However, the inner core is made of highly-durable fibreboard (HDF), which provides support to the other layers. Beneath the core is a stabilising layer that helps keep away water to prevent moisture damage. Above the core is a decorative layer printed with a high-resolution photograph of natural wood. It is then topped with an outer layer, which consists of a clear finish designed to keep away stains and scratches.
Both engineered wood and laminate flooring are available in various sizes. However, it is essential to note the difference in plank dimensions.
For engineered wood flooring planks, lengths range from 12-60 inches, widths between 2 ¼ -7 inches, and thickness ranges from 3/8 – 9/16 inches. Plank dimensions vary depending on the specific type and design.
On the other hand, laminate flooring planks are available in lengths ranging from 48-72 inches, widths ranging from 4-8 inches and thicknesses between 8-12 mm. With these dimensions, these planks are thinner than their engineered wood flooring counterparts. However, it is essential to note that wood flooring planks can be cut and redesigned to suit the installation or customer preference.
The installation processes for engineered wood and laminate flooring differ in various aspects.
Engineered wood flooring has a relatively straightforward installation process, usually involving glueing or nailing boards to the floor. With improvements in the industry, you can also find new designs of planks that can be installed using the floating method.
Laminate flooring planks are relatively easy to lay down. The installation employs the floating method, which involves a click or lock mechanism, meaning these boards attach side-by-side. That is made possible by the tongue-and-groove joints between the planks.
Moisture and Temperature Resistance
Both engineered wood and laminate flooring provide an ideal solution to moisture and temperature issues common with hardwood flooring. Here is a breakdown of how well these two flooring options resist heat and water damage.
Engineered wooden floors have a veneer on top that keeps water away. However, the core is made of real wood materials, which can still absorb water and warp. On the other hand, laminate flooring has a water-resistant finish on the outer layer.
Concerning temperature resistance, both flooring options are highly heat resistant. You should be fine installing any of them in your home without any heat-related issues arising.
One of the advantages of engineered wood flooring over other wood flooring options is durability. Engineered wood planks are designed using a strong core and a natural wood lamella – which means you can refinish it several times in the floor’s lifetime.
On the other hand, laminate flooring cannot be refinished at all. The planks have a rigid outer surface made of a transparent protective material; however, any scratches and stains cannot be removed through refinishing, which means you might have to replace your floor after a few years.
It is imperative to note that durability depends on several factors, such as where it is installed or the amount of foot traffic in the room. Your floor will also last longer if you use proper maintenance practices.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Both engineered wood and laminate flooring are great options for homeowners looking for easy flooring material to clean and maintain. However, there are some differences worth noting.
In terms of cleaning, laminate wood floors are easier to clean. The outer surface is smooth and non-porous, which makes it effective for repelling stains. If you spill something on the surface, you can easily wipe it off with a clean, damp mop. However, you cannot sand or refinish the surface. This means there is no other option besides replacing the floor if significant damage occurs.
Engineered wood floors are relatively more challenging to keep clean compared to their laminate counterparts. The outer layer (made of hardwood veneer) is slightly resistant to spills, so you will need to wipe them off as soon as they happen. Here is a short guide on how to clean engineered wood floors.
Although engineered wood floors are susceptible to staining and scratches compared to laminate floors, you can re-sand an engineered wood floor multiple times in its lifetime – which makes it easier to remove any blemishes and make it as good as new.
So, What Flooring Option Should You Choose?
As you can see, both engineered wood and laminate flooring have advantages and disadvantages. They provide an excellent and more affordable alternative to real hardwood floors. However, looking at the differences, engineered wood flooring is a better option. But why choose engineered wood flooring?
Besides their authentic wood appearance, engineered wood floors are durable and can be refinished multiple times in their lifetime. It is also a perfect way to increase your home’s value, as many homebuyers consider it a premium flooring material compared to its laminate counterparts.
Get in Touch Today
If you have been searching for a top-quality flooring option that combines durability and beauty, look no further than Wood Flooring Ireland. Our engineered wood flooring options are carefully manufactured to create stable, durable, sustainable floors.
We also offer a wide range of styles and designs – ensuring there is something for everyone. Our styles consist of herringbone flooring, chevron flooring, long plank flooring and Versailles Panels. Contact our team by filling out our contact form and let us help you find a floor that suits your budget and needs.