What is the difference between laminate and engineered hardwood flooring

Steve Uncategorized November 20, 2018

What are the differences between engineered hardwood flooring and laminate flooring?

Shopping for new flooring for your home isn't a picnic, your choice lasts for years and can affect much more than the look. When choosing between hardwood or laminate floors, you have to consider the cost, the durability, and whether or not it suits your lifestyle. Flooring can be expensive so when you make a choice it really is an investment. Your tastes should be secondary to what is best fitted to you and you can't only go by what the perks are at the hardware store.

Before going over the pros and cons of each kind of floor in different aspects, let's define what engineered hardwood and laminate floors are. At its most basic, engineered hardwood floors are made of plywood with a surface of fine hardwood on top and laminate is composite wood pressed together with an image of hardwood on top of it. Each flooring has its strength and weaknesses, so we're going to go over the different features commonly looked at to compare and contrast them.


It's usually the first thing people look for to make a decision. But, you have to remember that floors are an investment and no matter which way you slice it, they will cost.  Also, don't let price be the only deciding factor as going on the cheap could cost you more in maintenance or if you sell your home. So, what is the difference between engineered hardwood floors and laminate as it pertains to price?

For engineered hardwood floors, the cost can be around pure hardwood floors but tends to be cheaper. It's cheaper due to the middle layers being other than real wood and also saves in repairs at it is moisture resistant, unlike pure hardwood. The price changes on how thick the engineered hardwood floors are, the more layers the more cost. This is its own question, how many layers you want in each square foot.

For Laminate floors, they are usually quite cheap compared to the hardwood. The reason for this is that the material itself, composite wood, is quite cheap. Also, installing laminate floors is often fifty percent less than hardwood. But, as it isn't real wood it can often look like a poor imitation and offend the eyes.


When choosing between hardwood and laminate floors, you must consider your lifestyle. If you have pets and kids running around, or an active house in general then you'll need to seriously think about durability. You don't want to invest in one of these floors and have to spend a truckload of money because they weren't a good fit for the natural wear and tear of your life. So, what is the difference between laminate and engineered hardwood flooring?

Engineered hardwood flooring is resistant to moisture which means you can put in basements and isn't damaged by radiant heating systems. Beyond that, even a prefinished engineered hardwood floor is very durable and can endure quite a bit. Scratches and dents are even harder to inflict on this kind of floor with a finish, the multiple and crisscrossing layers of an engineered hardwood floor help to ensure that.

Laminate floors are also very durable and resist scratches and dents, due to it being pressed wood. The downside here is that it isn't resistant to moisture and restricts where you can install it. Heating systems, climate, and places in the house are all factors when installing laminate floors. When asking what the difference is between laminate and engineered hardwood flooring, this is a major one: moisture and warping.


All things in a home, no matter the level of quality, need repairs. But, you can choose a floor informed on what kind of maintenance you're likely to need. A kind of pre-pricing future costs. So, what is the difference between laminate and engineered hardwood flooring as it pertains to maintenance?

Engineered hardwood flooring can be a bit more do it yourself for minor issues and even still with bigger ones. While matching planks can still be an issue, the natural wood at the top makes it easier. You're able to get kits to fix small damages to your floors and buy single planks to replace more heavily damaged ones. While engineered hardwood floors can be around the price of pure hardwood, it can save of maintenance and repairs.

Laminate floors limit your repair options as the top surface is basically a photograph. It can't be refinished or sanded, just replaced. It is possible to replace damaged pieces of the floor, but then it becomes a question of finding the right patterns. Part of the appeal of laminate floors is that you can have something that looks like hardwood at half the price, but that can go out the window if picking a poorly fitting piece.

As you can see, there are differences between laminate and engineered hardwood flooring that should concern you when shopping for new floors. This is a material that you'll be spending a great deal of your time on and you shouldn't shuffle out money for something that doesn't suit your house, selling price, or lifestyle. Consider the durability, pricing, repair costs, and you're likely to save money over the long run. When asking what is the difference between laminate and engineered hardwood flooring, now you have three answers.