engineered wood floors vs. laminate floors

Many people love the look of wood floors in their homes. Good hardwood floors are beautiful, durable and often raise the value of a home. But they are not an option that fits in everyone’s budget. Two options, to get the look you want and still maybe save a little money, are engineered wood and laminate flooring options. Here we will break down the differences and tell you some of the benefits of each, to help you make the best decision for your home.

Most people are familiar with laminate floors; they mimic the look of wood with the springy core of fiberboard for comfort and cost effectiveness. Engineered wood flooring is a bit less common though it is gaining ground in high end markets as a greener alternative to solid hardwood. Engineered wood floors do use real wood on the very top layer. Underneath this are layers of stabilizing plywood and other materials. This brings more of the traditional wood feel and stability to the floor. The key difference between these two options structurally is that engineered wood floors actually contain wood elements, while laminate floors do not.

Engineered Wood Flooring

Pros

  • Engineered wood contains natural wood, giving you a more authentic look and adding to some of the other pros listed here.
  • Wood doesn’t conduct cold so your floor will stay warm in colder weather.
  • Since it looks and feels like hardwood, it increases the resale value of your home.
  • It is more moisture resistant than hardwood and is less likely to crack or bubble. But since it contains real wood, it is still not recommended for bathrooms.
  • Engineered wood is more environmentally friendly than hardwood, as it uses less of the tree to create.

Cons

  • These floors are typically professionally installed, as they are more complex and often need glued down.
  • Since it contains real wood, it can warp or mold when exposed to excess moisture.
  • As the layer of real wood is thinner than hardwood planks, the floor can only be refinished once or twice. A deep scratch or gash would usually warrant replacement.

Laminate Flooring

Pros

  • Laminate floors can resemble any kind of wood or look you want with less worrying over cost or availability.
  • Newer laminates can look AND feel like wood, as designers create deeper textures in their floors.
  • These floors are resistant to scratches and dings.
  • If placed as a floating floor (not glued down) it can be replaced in sections more easily for spot issues.
  • Easy DIY installation. However, for reasons mentioned below, badly installed laminate will cost you more in the long run.

Cons

  • Laminate may not add value to your home’s resale price. If you are remodeling with the intent to sell your home, it’s best to consult with a Floor Coverings International design associate first so you can make the best decision in regards to resale value.
  • Laminate can bubble and crack under standing water. If you are looking for a waterproof option, consider Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP). Many times people confuse laminate with LVP.

These are both great flooring options that will give your home the look of hardwood you want. Try engineered wood and laminate floors for yourself and see which you prefer! Talk to the professionals at Floor Coverings International for advice on the best flooring options for your home and budget. Call to schedule an appointment with a flooring expert today at 803-661-8567.