Engineered Vs. Laminate Floors

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Engineered Vs. Laminate Floors
There are many similarities between engineered and laminate floors. (texture of wooden floor image by Elnur from Fotolia.com)

When looking at home floor options during remodelling, there are several choices for homeowners to consider, including engineered wood and laminate floors. Because they are both prefabricated, there is often confusion between the two products. Engineered wood is real wood, while laminate is pressed layers of wood sandwiched between two synthetic layers.

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Product Construction

Both engineered and laminate floors are prefabricated. Engineered wood uses a core of plywood or other less expensive wood with a thin top layer of hardwood. The hardwood is glued to the plywood core. Engineered wood floors come are usually pre-finished with a moisture seal, unlike traditional wood. Laminate is made of layers of compressed wood that has a melamine resin top layer and a stabilising paper bottom layer.

Appearance

Wood floors have a rich grain and texture. Engineered hardwood floors have a layer of real wood on the top, providing appearance many homeowners want from a wood floor. Laminate floors only mimic the look of real wood. Technology has made many advances in laminate floors to make them look more realistic, but they still don't compare to real wood.

Installation

Homeowners may try to save costs in home renovations by doing the labour. Laminate floors have interlocking layers that make for easy installation. Many laminate floors don't use glue in the installation, reducing the mess. Engineered wood floors may be glued, stapled or floated over an existing foundation. Floating floors are installed as easy as laminate floors, but staple and glued floors are more difficult to install and create more mess.

Durability

Traditional hardwood floors are known to fade and scratch easily. Engineered wood flooring is more durable than hardwood, but are not as good as laminate floors. The layer of wood on top of engineered wood is susceptible to fading, scratching and denting. Laminate is more durable in this respect with high resistance to stains and dents. Both engineered and laminate are susceptible to moisture damage if not tended to immediately.

Life Expectancy

The life expectancy of any floor is highly contingent on the maintenance by owners. Both floors are easily cleaned with a broom and simple mopping. One advantage that engineered wood has compared to laminate is that the top layer can be sanded and refinished. When owners care for floors, the laminate can expect to last up to 20 years, with engineered floors lasting more than 25. Laminate can be half the cost of engineered wood, making it a good choice for the life expectancy.

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