Laminate Vs. Engineered Wood: Which Is a Better Flooring Type?

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modern living room in wood flooring

When choosing among different types of alternatives to hardwood, the two common choices comprise laminate and engineered wood. Both have certain differences despite being the same in terms of appearance and composition.

If you live in California, installation for engineered wooden flooring will be more expensive than laminate flooring. In Santa Ana, CA, for instance, most homeowners spend between $4 per square foot and $7 per square foot for laminate wood. By contrast, engineered wood costs from $8 per square foot to $13 per square foot.

The Advantages of Laminate

Homeowners with a limited budget should consider laminate because you can install it by yourself. While DIY installation is possible, you need to be quite experienced in handling a chop saw and be familiar with waterproofing underlayment. Vapor and moisture barriers are necessary especially when you have to install laminate over concrete subflooring.

Laminate also has better resistance against scratch marks and dents, which means it’s a better choice for pet owners. It can last for at least 10 years but can be used for up to 20 years with proper care and maintenance. Both laminate and engineered wood are suitable for radiant heating as long as the product’s manufacturer recommends it.

The Advantages of Engineered Wood

If you want a material that closely resembles hardwood except for the price, then engineered wood should be your option. Unlike laminate, engineered wood has a surface made from a thin slice of genuine hardwood. You don’t have to worry about water damage just as much as when you install laminate on your floor space, but be extra careful when you have pets since the surface is made from hardwood that’s prone to damage.

Engineered wood lasts for up to 100 years depending on the quality of wood. When properly maintained, it can increase the resale value of your house although this requires extra care and maintenance.

Care and Maintenance

A shiny, polished hardwood floor in a new home

It’s easier to clean laminate wood because of its smooth surface. Don’t use a soaking wet mop, power cleaners or hot steam for cleaning to avoid damaging it. You shouldn’t leave standing water even with a waterproofed surface because it can warp the material. In other words, laminate flooring isn’t an ideal choice for bathrooms. Take note that you need to replace the top layer of laminate when it becomes damaged.

Engineered wood requires special cleaning products that are used for maintaining real hardwood. You need to refinish and wax it regularly to preserve its original appearance. Avoid using a dripping mop as well to prevent the materials from becoming warped and buckled. If you need to move furniture, make sure to use pads against scratches.


Choose laminate flooring when you want a more affordable choice. Engineered wood is a better choice if you plan to sell your house in the future. Whichever you pick, you should consider hiring a flooring specialist for guaranteed results that will likely come with a service warranty. Consult at least three different professionals before making a decision.


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