While planning to purchase the best flooring type for your installation and renovation project, you may find it difficult to understand really well what is offered on the market. In fact, nowadays the variety of flooring options on the market is very wide and even if you somehow manage to refine the cycle and decide that you want wooden flooring, you still have plenty of solutions to choose from. Well, this is always a good thing, however, it could be also overwhelming and stressful for many people that have only basic knowledge about wooden flooring types. It is a popular misunderstanding that laminate and engineered wood floors are the same thing, for example. Understanding and recognising flooring types to the core is something essential in order to make the best choice for your solution. The bad part is that there is hardly ever someone to take some time and help you understand the main differences between what is offered on the wood flooring market. Usually, manufacturers will try to sell you what they believe is the best, as known as what they sell at their showrooms. But today we will try and give you objective advice and assist you to orientate better in the big diversity, starting with explaining the main differences between engineered wood and laminate flooring.
We are starting with the basic and most important difference – laminate is not a natural wooden product. Although it looks like real wood, laminate floors are made out of a few layers, starting with a bottom layer called “backing” that is moisture resistant, next is the inner core made out of fiberboard and the tops layer is a high-resolution picture of wood (or stone, metal or other material) under a clear protective layer. Engineered wood has a very similar concept and construction, however, engineered wood planks are made from real wood entirely that is cut in thin layers, which are glued together crisscrossed in order to make the floor resistant to extending and contracting due to moisture and high level of indoor humidity. Engineered wood planks’ top layer is made from hardwood species that are used for making solid wood floors and when installed, there is practically no visual difference between engineered and solid wood floors.
Both laminate and engineered wood floors are very easy to install and a very flexible solution, because they can be installed practically anywhere and remain in good condition for a long time (however, engineered wood is more long-lasting). Laminate and engineered wood boards can be glued to the subfloor and when the subfloor cannot be even or completely dry for some reason, they both can be installed floating.
Both laminate and engineered wood are very easy to maintain. Regular vacuuming is recommended as an essential part of the cleaning routine, however, water when mopping should be used in a limited amount for engineered wood floors, because moisture and water are wood’s biggest enemies and lead to major issues when excessively used. In terms of long-term maintenance, engineered wood floors could be sanded and refinished while laminate cannot be treated for improvement.
Durability is one of the crucial aspects in which the two flooring options differ from one other. In general, even well maintained, laminate flooring can serve you up to 20 years, while engineered wood floors can remain in perfect condition for up to 70-80 years. Simply take this factor in the account and your personal preferences when purchasing flooring materials and be sure to make the best choice for your project.
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