When it comes to choosing new flooring for your home, you have many choices. One comparison that you need to make is engineered hardwood vs laminate. Though these two materials are simple, they are differences regarding how you clean them. Once you reach the end of this article, you can pick one for your home.
Engineered Hardwood vs Laminate: Which is Better?
In a direct comparison between engineered hardwood and laminate flooring, engineered hardwood is the clear winner. While it does cost per in terms of materials and labor, it lasts longer. Engineered wood can reduce noises and act as soundproofing for your home.
If it develops scratches or other damage, you can repair the wood too. With laminate flooring, you’ll need to replace the whole floor. Engineered hardwood also has an expensive look that can add value to your home.
Comparison Table: Engineered Hardwood vs Laminate
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Laminate wins in this category because you can install it yourself. Though many people think of laminate in terms of the large rolls once available, it now comes in individual pieces and tiles that you can lay down on the floor and snap together.
Engineered hardwood generally requires professional installation.
Repairs and Restoration
Engineered hardwood is the clear winner here. You can repair any damage in the same way you would traditional hardwood. All it takes is a little sanding and an application of stain or paint. There are wood putties that will repair deep gouges too.
If laminate flooring shows any signs of damage, you'll need to replace the entire floor.
If you plan on selling your home in the future, you'll want to go with engineered hardwood over laminate flooring. Engineered hardwood can look just as stylish and elegant as standard hardwood but cost a fraction of the price. Even if you spend more on a higher quality of laminate, it won't add as much value to your home.
We have to give the edge in appearance to engineered hardwood too. You have tons of options regarding what color and design to use in your home, including mahogany or ash woods.
Though laminate can resemble tile and some types of wood, it doesn't look as realistic as engineered hardwood does.
Engineered hardwood wins in this category too. When you install laminate flooring, you'll typically place it directly on top of concrete or a subfloor. It can amplify basic noises as you walk across the floor or drop things.
With engineered hardwood, there is a layer or core between the subfloor and the hardwood that helps block out some of those sounds.
We highly recommend laminate flooring for homes with pets. Engineered hardwood can stand up well in high traffic areas, but it can develop scratches as your pets run from room to room.
Laminate flooring is more resistant to those scratches. It is also easier to clean if one of your pets has an accident. If you have rooms that your pets can't enter, feel free to use engineered hardwood in those spaces.
Engineered Hardwood Vs Laminate Flooring: In-Depth Review
- Recreates the look and design of traditional hardwood flooring at a lower price.
- It requires little in the way of routine maintenance.
- Reduces the warping and other moisture issues associated with hardwood.
- You can install engineered hardwood on top of subflooring or concrete.
- It creates a classic look that works with future trends.
- Engineered hardwood is more durable than other flooring types.
- You can choose from hundreds of designs.
- The installation costs can be high, especially when compared to laminate floors.
- Engineered hardwood flooring usually costs more than other types in terms of square footage.
- Some products use a cheap and thin inner core that can wear down quickly.
- Manufacturers make some types of engineered hardwood that produce toxic gases.
Engineered hardwood flooring is a good choice for most homes because it comes in so many different styles. You can pick the flooring that matches natural hardwood such as cherry or mahogany.
As it comes in different sizes, you can also create a custom design that incorporates multiple colors or shades. While engineered hardwood does have some flaws such as emitting gases and having a high cost, it’s usually a better option than laminate flooring.
- The installation of laminate flooring is so easy that you can do it yourself over a long weekend.
- It can resist water, which makes it a good choice for bathrooms and kitchens.
- Laminate is resistant to scratches and dents.
- It comes in rolls as well as individual pieces.
- Feels warmer and more comfortable under your feet than other flooring types do.
- It can mimic some types of hardwood and tile flooring.
- It does not include the defects that wood floors have.
- Some types of laminate are hard to install, especially those with a click-together design.
- It is not as soundproof as engineered hardwood is.
- You cannot repair damaged laminate and will need to replace the floor in the future.
- Can warp when installed in areas with high moisture content.
There are a handful of times and situations where the laminate is a better option than hardwood, including when you need new flooring in a bathroom or kitchen.
The material comes in large rolls that you can cut to fit your home and in click together designs that feature individual pieces you connect. Laminate is more resistant to scratches and other damage than engineered hardwood but can look cheap.
Engineered Hardwood or Laminate: Which Should You Buy?
A good way to decide which type of flooring to buy is with a look at the cleaning and installation of each type, which we’ll go over below.
How to Clean Engineered Hardwood Floors
Cleaning engineered hardwood flooring is easier than you might think because you just need a damp rag. A rag or old tee-shirt dipped in warm water and then rung out can remove most of the dust that you see on the floor.
You can also use a mop and some types of vacuum cleaners.
Other tips on how to care for engineered hardwood floors include:
- Keep microfiber cloths on hand to clean up spills as soon as they happen.
- Sweep the floor daily to reduce the buildup of dust.
- Use liquid cleaners designed for engineered hardwood floors to remove stains.
- Avoid placing heavy furniture on the floor as it can scratch the wood.
- Use caution with steam cleaners as the moisture can wrap the floor.
How to Clean Laminate Floors
One of the best and easiest ways to clean laminate floors is with an ordinary mop. We recommend using a steam mop if you sealed the floor or are sure that water cannot reach the subfloor. It’s helpful to sweep the floor before you mop just to make sure that you don’t spread pet hair or other debris across the floor.
If you used laminate tiles, you’ll want to follow the same path with which you laid the tiles. This will keep debris from building up in between the spaces.
Other tips that you can use include:
- Use mops designed for laminate floors, which often have microfiber pads.
- Wipe up spills to keep the liquids from staining the floor.
- Vacuum the floor with an attachment designed for hard surfaces.
- Consider adding apple cider or distilled white vinegar to the water you use for mopping.
- Dry the floor with a microfiber towel or cloth after you mop.
How to Install Engineered Hardwood Floors vs. How to Install Laminate Flooring
When it comes to installation, laminate will usually win over-engineered hardwood. That is because it is easier to install and takes less time to put down. If you opt for peel and stick tiles, you just need to sweep the floor, clean it with water and soap or vinegar and dry the floor.
You can peel the paper off the back of the tile, place it on the floor and then repeat with each additional tile. Many find it helpful to start on the back wall and work their way towards the front of the room.
Engineered hardwood takes more time to install and also requires that you special tools to cut the boards to the right lengths.
You’ll also need to use caution in rooms that have unique corners or sharp edges. Though professionals can install the floor, they’ll charge a rate based on the square footage of the room.
Whether you use our comparison table or product reviews, it’s easy to see why engineered hardwood beats laminate in the top categories. One of the only places where it fails is in terms of price.
When you buy individual pieces of laminate or an entire roll, you might spend less than half of what you would cover the same square footage in engineered hardwood.
Laminate wins among those looking for a DIY project too. To save even more time and money, you can opt for laminate tiles.
These pieces do not require any glue or adhesive and click together. There are even peel and stick laminate tiles that come with a thin adhesive on the back.
If you want to add value to your home and create a beautiful look though, engineered hardwood is your best bet. It is resistant to most types of damage and good for the environment.
This type of hardwood is also easy to repair and restore. You can use stains and paints along with sandpaper and other basic supplies to repair deep gouges and scratch marks.
It’s easy to see why so many people choose engineered hardwood over laminate flooring in their homes.