What's Your Style Choice?
There are many style choices available for homeowners. These include ash, bamboo, cherry, oak, walnut, and maple among others. Walnut seems to be popular among present-day homeowners.
Wood flooring is an extremely popular choice for most homeowners, as it gives an ageless look and a warm feeling to the house. Among all the flooring options that resemble wood, laminate and engineered wood are two options that people get confused with. Let's make it simple for you in a nutshell. Know that engineered wood comes close to solid hardwood; in other words, its price matches that factor, but it isn't composed of any natural wood layer. Laminate, on the other hand, is less pricey, looks good from a distance, but may not be so appealing look-wise on closer examination.
Both laminate and engineered wood have their own pros and cons, and you have to consider all the aspects, such as the appearance, price, durability, maintenance, etc., before coming to a decision. Now, let's go through a point-by-point comparison between both the wood flooring.
Engineered Wood Flooring Vs. Laminate
Engineered wood floors are made using real wood, and it is manufactured with a plywood core base that is covered by real hardwood skin. The hardwood layer can be made from a range of common or exotic wood varieties. The plywood layers are just as strong as hardwood, and the finishing coats that are applied at the factory provide further protection to the flooring. Typically, a thick layer of hardwood veneer and a high number of plywood and finishing layers indicate good-quality flooring. The veneer ranges from 0.6 mm to 7 mm in thickness, and when glued to plywood, it makes the total thickness range from ⅜" to ¾ ".
Laminate is made up of 4 layers, namely a stabilizing layer at the base, a core layer that is made of either high-density fiberboard or medium-density fiberboard, a decorative layer that is the photographic rendering of the hardwood design, and a wear layer that is a resin coating, which protects the flooring from stains, wear and tear, etc. The quality of laminates is judged by their thickness and manufacturing process. High-pressure laminates are considered to be better than direct-pressure laminates.
Compared to laminates, engineered wood is relatively more expensive. Depending on the quality of the boards and species of wood used in the veneer, the price can range from USD 3 to USD 14 per square foot.
Depending on the quality and your supplier, laminates can cost anywhere between USD 2 to USD 11 per square foot.
There are a number of installation methods available depending on the function of the room. Engineered wood can be glued, nailed down, or used as a floating floor. It is not affected by changes in humidity and can be installed over radiant heat. This flooring is prefinished, i.e., sanded and sealed. You can walk on it as soon as it is laid on the floor. Homeowners who have done DIY projects before can do this task easily.
Installing laminate flooring is also easy with some DIY experience. It can be used either as a floating floor, or it can be glued down to a concrete base. One needs to keep the laminate in the room for 48 hours before installation, for proper acclimatization. It is also very easy to uninstall the laminate flooring without damaging the floor underneath or the laminate itself.
Maintenance and Repair
A little care must be taken to maintain this type of flooring. One must utilize special cleaning agents that are manufactured specifically for engineered wood. It is advisable to clean up spills immediately and keep a regular cleaning schedule. On the other hand, this material is much easier to repair than laminates. It can be sanded down and recoated up to three times. Planks can be easily replaced in case of localized damage. It has great stability for longer periods of time due to the attached plywood. It is advisable to employ professional services for sanding due to the low tolerance of engineered wood that may result in revealing the plywood.
Laminate floors are really easy to maintain. A little sweeping and mopping is all that is needed to keep it in a good condition. This material is also highly damage-resistant. However, if it is dented or damaged by wear and tear, it cannot be repaired. Even small scratches and dents are very noticeable on these surfaces. Depending on the installation process, you may have to do a partial or complete replacement. Moreover, partial replacement is usually noticeable due to the exposure to sunlight and wear and tear of the older planks.
You can use engineered wood flooring for kitchens, basements, and areas of low moisture. However, it does not hold well in areas with high moisture content such as bathrooms.
Laminates are highly water-resistant and are suitable for dry as well as wet conditions. However, one must check for the warranty details and recommended installation instructions to avoid any problems.
If proper care and maintenance measures are taken, this flooring can last for a very long time, even up to 100 years. Because of this, it is very cost-effective in the long run, even though it is an expensive type of flooring.
Laminates have a short lifespan compared to engineered flooring. They usually fade out, start showing wear and tear, and have to be replaced after 20 - 25 years.
This material is manufactured using solid wood and plywood. The product is almost completely organic and hence, eco-friendly.
The manufacturing process of laminates involves the use of several chemically produced materials, resins, and glue, and if these materials are of a poor quality, they could be toxic. These laminate sheets could release fumes after installation, which are harmful for people living in the house.
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- Lumber Liquidators
After going through the comparisons mentioned above, you should be able to understand the basic differences between laminate and engineered wood flooring. A careful look at the features will tell you that if you can spend a little extra on the flooring of your home, engineered wood is a more durable, healthy, eco-friendly, and an aesthetically appealing choice than laminate.