*This is a collaborative post*
A common question that pops up in the flooring world is ‘what should I choose laminate or engineered wood?’ Well there are actually plenty of differences. So, let’s start at the beginning, a good place to start. When we say the beginning, we mean looking into exactly what these materials are made of.
Laminate is made of synthetic materials that make up layers and are then laminate together. Each plank has 4 layers which helps create the firm flooring that’s so popular amongst homeowners. The bottom layer is called the backing and enables the plank to become moisture resistant and works as a barrier in case of any excess moisture. The next layer is called the inner core, which is made of wood and it the thickest layer, the one that keeps the floor stable. Moving up from the inner core, is the design layer which gives the real wood appearance. The final layer is known as the wear layer, which gives laminate that protection from scratches and stains.
Now you’re an expert at laminate, let’s move onto our next contestant. Engineered is made from natural materials, with it being made from anything between 3-12 layers, the inner layers built using hard or ply wood. The thick top layer is also made from hardwood and is then glued and pressed on top of the core layer – this layer is what gives the engineered wood the feel and look of a traditional solid wood floor.
So, we’ve covered the science bit but what exactly are the differences between these two floors?
Cleaning, Maintenance and Durability
When it comes to cleaning, there’s not much difference between the two. Both only need to be swept with a soft indoor brush and mopped with a warm damp cloth as often as you see fit. So cleaning is pretty straight forward, but what about durability? This is where the major difference is. Although laminate is hard wearing, it’s not completely resistant to scratches and stains and these can start to show wear over time. The problem is with laminate is that as soon as its damaged, it’s hard to repair and will likely have to be replaced – of course an expensive option.
When it comes to engineered wood, durability is a little better. It can be sanded down and refinished multiple times due to the wear layer – so if any damage does occur then they can be eradicated by using this method. Therefore, even though engineered wood is more expensive than laminate to begin with, its longer life expectancy means and being able to sand it down means it can often end up paying for itself.
Although we all have different tastes, it’s no surprise that engineered wood comes out on top here. So many of us lust after the look of real wood in our homes, with many materials such as laminate and Luxury Vinyl Tiles imitating it. With many wood types, finishes, colours and plank arrangements, there’s something to suit everyone. Laminate is a good option however if you still want the stunning look of wood but just need something at a cheaper price.