Difference between Engineered and Laminate Floors

June 25th, 2012
by admin

Engineered hardwood

A complex product that consists of several layers. The outermost is a hardwood veneer, a thin Layer of wood of whatever wood species you would like. The inner layers are made of plywood, high density fiberboard, or hardwood. The core layers make the product more stable than regular hardwood, while the outer veneer surface adds beauty and authenticity. Engineered hardwood is different than a hardwood laminate because the surface is made of real wood. While laminate has a core of high density fiberboard, its surface is basically a print of wood. Laminate is less expensive than engineered and solid wood, but has a different look and feel.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring Pros

Engineered hardwood flooring is designed to reduce the moisture problems associated with conventional hardwood flooring. Its layers add stability and is more moisture resistant to other flooring. Engineered flooring will not swell as easy in high moisture areas, making it low maintenance. The price of engineered hardwood is cost effective. In addition to reducing upkeep costs, engineered flooring is less. This becomes even more true as the type of wood gets more exotic. Rare hardwood is very expensive. Since engineered hardwood flooring requires only a thin layer, the cost decreases dramatically.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring Cons

There are very few cons to this type of hardwood flooring, but this doesn’t make it a fool-proof project or even the right floor for every application. Comparable to solid hardwood in terms of cost, engineered floors are still considerably more expensive than laminate, floors. Veneers that are too thin will prevent sanding and refinishing opportunities that may double the lifetime of the floor. Some veneers are so thin and poorly made that they can prematurely warp or fade. Plus, core layers must still be from high-quality wood. Some manufacturers try to cut corners by using fibre board or oriented strand board that may compromise the stability of your floor and, at the very least, will result in an inferior flooring product.

Is Engineered Flooring Easier, Cheaper to Install?

Engineered flooring is definitively easier to install, in fact, some handy homeowners are even enticed into installing their own engineered floors. It’s still a major project with big financial implications, however, so don’t over-reach on your home improvement skills. Even for the majority of homeowners who hire a flooring contractor for the job, you’ll save a hefty sum on installation, which is important given that most engineered flooring is more expensive than solid wood.
High-quality engineered floors (thick veneers, quality substrate) will usually cost somewhere between £50 per square meter. How much extra money this costs and whether cheaper installation offsets this price often depends on the type of wood you’re choosing. With an exotic or even highly-coveted hardwood, such as maple, engineered flooring is likely to be cheaper overall. For more common hardwoods, solid wood flooring may be cheaper overall, although it will still take longer to install.

Environmental Advantages of Engineered Hardwood

Choosing engineered flooring is considered more environmentally friendly than traditional hardwood for a few reasons. Veneer is sliced rather than cut with a saw. This process produces no sawdust, which means that all of the tree’s wood can be used. The sawdust produced making hardwood boards is wasted wood (and adds up to a significant amount). Also, hardwood trees grow much more slowly than the trees used to make engineered flooring cores. Because more surface area is produced making veneer, installing traditional hardwood uses many times the amount of slow growing tree. This makes the replenishing time much longer.

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