Date: 03.03.2024
Author: Zoe
Category: Buying Guides

Engineered Hardwood Flooring vs Laminate Flooring: Everything You Need to Know

The debate of engineered hardwood flooring vs. laminate flooring has captivated homeowners and interior enthusiasts for years. The flooring you choose has the power to transform the ambience of your living or working space, so the decision is crucial. At Matt Britton, we’re dedicated to helping you make an informed decision about your wood flooring.

Hard wood flooring solutions

 

In this article, we’ll delve into engineered hardwood flooring and laminate flooring attributes, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses. But ultimately, we’ll demonstrate why hardwood is the undisputed champion in the laminate vs. hardwood flooring showdown.

 

What is the Difference Between Engineered Hardwood Flooring and Laminate Flooring?

Engineered hardwood flooring features a real wood veneer surface mounted on a robust plywood core. This multilayered construction elegantly fuses the authentic charm of solid hardwood with enhanced durability. Furthermore, its stratified construction offers resistance to natural warping, making it an exceptional choice suitable for any room in your home.

In contrast, laminate flooring comprises a fiberboard core overlaid with a photographic image that attempts to mimic real wood. While typically more budget-friendly and lower in maintenance, it falls short in quality and durability when compared to engineered hardwood flooring.

So, in a nutshell, engineered hardwood flooring is the closest you can get to genuine solid hardwood. Conversely, laminate flooring offers a wallet-friendly option that replicates natural wood’s appearance but lacks long-term benefits.

 

Important Considerations When Choosing Your Wood Flooring

Choosing the ideal wood flooring involves more than just its visual appeal, as paramount as that is. When deciding between engineered hardwood flooring and laminate, it’s crucial to look at functionality, longevity, and the material itself, among other factors, and here’s why:

1. Cost

Engineered hardwood flooring often bears a higher price tag due to its genuine wood veneer and sturdy construction. On the flip side, while laminate flooring tends to be more affordable, this cost saving does mean compromising on quality and aesthetics.

2. Style and Appearance

At an initial glance, laminate might convincingly mimic real wood, but closer inspection reveals its artificial nature. So, this consideration boils down to a preference; Do you want the timeless elegance of an authentic hardwood floor or the imitation of a photo-printed laminate floor?

3. Durability

Are you looking for a quick fix or a long-term solution to your flooring needs? Engineered hardwood flooring, such as parquet wood flooring, is renowned for its unmatched durability and its inherent resistance to dents and scratches. In contrast, laminate flooring is more vulnerable to wear and potential damage, it therefore lags behind in terms of lifelong durability. 

4. Maintenance

When weighing the merits of hardwood flooring vs laminate flooring, one must consider their maintenance needs. Although both types offer ease of upkeep, engineered hardwood has the added advantage of being refinishable, allowing it to rejuvenate and preserve its pristine appearance over time. Laminate, on the other hand, simply relies on standard cleaning products, but lacks the depth and longevity hardwood brings to the table.

5. Lifespan

Engineered hardwood flooring can easily last for decades, and even up to 100 years with meticulous care. Its capacity for multiple refinishing and sturdy construction are hallmarks of its longevity. On the other hand, laminate flooring, while resilient, typically has a shorter lifespan, lasting around 10 to 20 years.

6. Moisture resistance

While laminate flooring boasts some moisture resistance due to its plastic or resin top layer, the distinction between it and hardwood flooring is nuanced. Indeed, while engineered hardwood flooring can have vulnerabilities to water if not precisely installed and sealed, at Matt Britton, we’ve elevated protection standards. Our unique hybrid seal finish, layered atop the UV oiled finish, acts as a shield, offering an additional tier of defence against potential damage. Coupled with the expertise of our recommended craftsmen and following our comprehensive hardwood care guide, any water-related apprehensions dissolve, positioning engineered hardwood flooring as a choice that’s both aesthetically alluring and a reliable one.

7. Environmental impact

Our engineered hardwood flooring notably presents a diminished carbon footprint, thanks to its sustainably-sourced origins. In contrast, the chemical-centric fabrication of laminate can elicit environmental apprehensions, especially linked to the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). 

 

Hardwood Flooring: Pros and Cons

Hardwood flooring offers numerous advantages and some weak disadvantages and is, therefore, the favoured choice among homeowners.

dark hardwood flooring in hallway

Pros:

  • Engineered hardwood stands out, offering both unmatched durability and a genuine wood appearance, setting it leagues ahead of laminate and other flooring options.
  • Engineered hardwood flooring promises longevity, if cared for correctly and refinished regularly. This means that even after decades of wear, you can restore its original appearance by sanding and refinishing the surface.
  • Engineered hardwood is also more eco-friendly. At Matt Britton, our products are made from ethically and sustainably sourced natural wood from responsibly managed companies, and the manufacturing process produces fewer emissions and waste products than laminate flooring production. 
  • Additionally, the look and quality of hardwood flooring add greater value to your home. Therefore, it is a long-term investment that you can benefit from for years to come.

Cons:

  • While engineered hardwood flooring is highly durable, it will require a touch of maintenance to ensure it remains in pristine condition.
  • While it comes with a heftier price tag compared to laminate, that investment is reflective of its superior quality and enduring lifespan.

 

Laminate Flooring: Pros and Cons

Laminate flooring has become a popular choice for homeowners looking for a cost-effective and water-resistant flooring option. While it offers some advantages, laminate flooring does come with significant drawbacks that, from our standpoint, substantially overshadow its benefits.

Pros:

  • Laminate flooring is a budget-friendly option that attempts to mimic the look of real wood without the associated cost.
  • Laminate floors are designed to resist water damage, making them a suitable choice for areas prone to moisture, like bathrooms.

Cons:

  • Laminate doesn’t measure up to the robustness of engineered hardwood. Even though it may resist some superficial wear like scratches, it is simply not as tough. Thus, laminate flooring may not withstand heavy foot traffic or hold up well in high-traffic areas of your home over an extended period of time.
  • Unlike genuine hardwood floors, laminate cannot be sanded and refinished. Once the damage is done, the only option is to replace it. So, in the long run, laminate flooring suffers higher costs.
  • While laminate flooring can mimic the look of wood, it doesn’t offer the same authenticity. The photographic layer that creates the wood appearance lacks the true depth and texture found in real materials. 
  • And as mentioned previously, laminate flooring is also the less environmentally friendly option. And in today’s day and age, this is a crucial factor to keep in mind. 

At the end of the day, when it comes to laminate vs. hardwood flooring, laminate remains a mere imitation, while engineered hardwood comes with many more substantial advantages.

 

Hardwood vs. Laminate Flooring Features FAQs

But if you’re still not convinced about engineered hardwood, let’s tackle some of the most commonly asked questions that arise within the laminate wood flooring vs. engineered wood flooring debate.

 

Hardwood flooring

 

Which is Better: Engineered Hardwood Flooring or Laminate Wood Flooring?

There is no doubt that engineered hardwood flooring is the way to go if you’re after a durable option with an authentic wood feel and a long lifespan. While the main upside of laminate is its budget-friendliness, long-term costs of replacement make this option unfavourable to homeowners.

What styles does engineered hardwood flooring come in?

Engineered hardwood flooring comes in a wide range of styles. At Matt Britton, we offer high-quality engineered hardwood flooring in herringbone, plank, chevron flooring, and design panel designs, all customisable to your preferred colour choices, widths, thicknesses, dimensions and grades.

Why Choose Hardwood Over Laminate?

As discussed above, engineered hardwood offers a genuine wood experience. If you want your home to feel warm, inviting and of superior quality, there really is no other choice than hardwood. Beyond its aesthetic charm, its enduring durability ensures it’s not just a choice, but a lasting investment for your home.

Do Engineered Wood Floors Scratch Easily?

Engineered hardwood flooring is resilient. While no flooring is entirely immune to wear, especially in bustling areas or from the occasional pet frolic, what sets engineered hardwood flooring apart is its ability to rejuvenate. With consistent care and the unparalleled advantage of refinishing, any minor scratches or wear can be seamlessly restored, ensuring its timeless appeal remains undiminished.

Which flooring lasts the Longest?

We don’t recommend it, but even without taking the proper care, engineered hardwood will easily outlast laminate. It has the potential to last several decades, especially since it can be refinished multiple times. Laminate generally lasts between 10 to 20 years and then needs to be replaced; it can’t be refinished. Hardwood flooring therefore has the knock-over laminate!

What is the Disadvantage of Laminate Flooring?

To quickly summarise, laminate flooring’s main drawbacks include:

  • Its inability to be refinished
  • It’s less environmentally friendly
  • It lacks authenticity when compared to natural wood.
  • It’s a lower quality flooring option and will need to be replaced after several years

 

Choose the Best Hardwood Flooring For Your Home 

So there you have it! Engineered hardwood flooring emerges as the unparalleled option, thanks to its captivating authenticity, extended lifespan, and eco-conscious credentials. 

Take a look at our beautiful range of engineered hardwood flooring and book an appointment with one of our flooring experts today!

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