When you want the look of hardwood but are looking for something easier to install, engineered wood flooring or laminate wood flooring can be great choices. While not identical to hardwood, the quality of these products has continued to improve. That makes newer options often hard to tell apart from an actual hardwood floor.
What is Laminate Flooring?
Laminate wood flooring is made from synthetic materials which are designed to simulate the look of wood. That material is laminated to give it a shine and protect it from foot traffic and other potential damage. A lot of people like laminate flooring because it's easy to install. Many companies make it, and a lot of options come with a tongue in groove system that allows the pieces to simply be locked together. Laminate also resists stains, and it's easy to replace if a piece becomes damaged.
Is Laminate Flooring Right for Your Space?
While laminate flooring is hygienic and easy to care for, it's also very hard and doesn't completely give you the experience of having real wood floors. It can't be refinished or sanded like true wood flooring can, so any damage or wear means those pieces will have to be removed and replaced. Scuff marks show relatively easily, as do scratches, and when laminate gets wet it can make for a very slick surface that could result in someone falling. There are slip-resistant options available.
What is Engineered Wood Flooring?
Engineered wood flooring is a composite. It has a hardwood veneer as its top layer, with several layers of wood underneath. It's machined and processed so it has a specific look and feel, and then it's laminated to help protect the veneer and make it shiny and durable. Engineered wood isn't as susceptible to moisture as actual hardwood, so it can be installed in places like basements and kitchens. It's typically glued down, and installation is fast. You can put this flooring option over nearly any type of subfloor, as well, making it easier to get a new floor in no time.
Is Engineered Wood Flooring Right for Your Space?
The quality, durability, look, and cost can really vary across brands, and engineered wood flooring won't last as long as true hardwood. While it can be sanded and refinished, that can generally only be done once. After that, the flooring would need to be replaced if it became too damaged. The panel or plank edges typically aren't finished, and that can let water in and cause them to fray. Anyone choosing engineered flooring should do their research, so they can get a quality product that will last a long time and still look great.
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