Engineered Hardwood Flooring Vs Laminate – Contrasting Features, Costs & Performance

While high-end laminate floors successfully imitates the color and appearance of real wood, it’s not comparable to authentic hardwood floors. Contrary to this, engineered wood floors are somewhat similar to hardwood in looks and features nevertheless it’s harder to judge since all the details mimic realistic features of the wood.

There are lots of similarities and differences between engineered and laminate. What’s more important is that both can last for several months, when they receive proper treatment. If you’re planning to shop for brand new flooring, you should compare their features and calculate the costs of installation. This way, you can easily choose the flooring that suits your requirements.

What Is Engineered Wood?

Engineered hardwood floors are made of authentic wood. They usually contain multiple layers (containing 5 to 7 planks) that are stacked together. The top layer is coated with aluminum oxide (or similar coating) for greater resistance. If you view at engineered wood from the sides, you can trace the outlines of individual planks.

The coating used on the top layer varies from one brand to another. Customers can make changes to the top layer on request, based on their personal requirements, budget, style and brand. It doesn’t matter what material you choose, the best part is that the surface layer has a rich sheen to it. It features all the pits, swirls and lines that are characteristic of real wood.

What Is a Laminate Floor?

Having this type of flooring in homes is a relatively newer concept. This flooring has not been around for as long as engineered wood flooring. This modern invention mimics the texture and feel of natural stone or wood however it’s made of synthetic materials and polished with decorative finish.

Laminated Wood

Like engineered flooring, even laminates feature a layered construction. Its top layer or wear layer is coated with polyurethane or similar type of materials. What differentiates it from real wood is that it features a lightweight, glued-on top layer and a dense inner layer. Unlike natural wood, they’re repellent to a lot of external elements.

What Is The Difference Between Engineered Hardwood And Laminate?

  1. Laminate is typically made to look like engineered hardwood flooring but it is resistant to external agents of abrasion, daily wear and tear, dirt and dust, unlike natural wood.
  2. Engineered wood is impervious to water damages or humidity. Its multiple layers prevent moisture from seeping in but it may react to water damages. This is not the case with laminate.
  3. While hardwood flooring offers several benefits, it can’t resist fading, staining or wearing. Contrary to this, laminate flooring is easier to maintain. You can easily fix these issues at a fraction of the cost of hardwood floor maintenance.
  4. Although laminate flooring resists better, it may not last for long since its constituent materials come with a limited life span. Compared to laminate, hardwood flooring is more durable and lasts for several years to come, provided you’re committed to it cleaning and maintenance.
  5. It’s easier to color, polish or remodel hardwood floors however you can’t change the color of laminate without replacing it completely.
  6. Laminate flooring doesn’t involve any limitations on installation. Its top layer generally floats on the subfloor but you may glue it down. However hardwood floors follow a specific procedure for installation. You just can’t compromise on its construction or installation.
  7. There are different ways to clean laminate wood floor that may not be suitable for plain old hardwood.


The cost of installing hardwood floor depends on size, thickness and number of planks, type of wood and protective covering. A single strip may cost around $7 to $10. On the other hand, you can easily find laminate flooring for a few bucks. Nonetheless, high-end laminate costs you around $4 to $7 per square foot.

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