One choice a Carmel homeowner may need to make when buying new floors is whether they want laminate flooring or engineered hardwood flooring. Initially, it may seem like there are more similarities between the two than there are differences, especially as new modernized laminate has become more popular. Read on to learn the differences between laminate and engineered hardwood flooring and to find out which is best for your home.
What is Laminate?
Laminate flooring is made up of multiple layers of synthetic materials. It is able to closely mimic the look of genuine hardwood (as well as other materials). The core support layer of laminate is made mainly of resin and fiberboard, while the uppermost layer has a printed and textured layer with the desired look of hardwood, natural stone, or another pattern.
What is Engineered Hardwood?
Engineered hardwood is made of multiple layers of wood. The bottom and middle layer is typically made of plywood, while the top layer is made of genuine wood. Engineered hardwood flooring is made from real hardwood, at least on the top layer. Laminate only imitates real hardwood and is made of all synthetic materials.
Which Option Looks Better?
In addition to their structural differences, there is an aesthetic difference between laminate and engineered hardwood. While laminate can be a great imitation at first glance, it cannot fully replicate the look of genuine hardwood upon close inspection. Engineered hardwood floors show the vast amount of variance found in natural hardwoods while laminate flooring will repeat a pattern every five boards or so.
What About Durability?
Durability can depend on the home. Flooring in high-traffic Carmel homes will have shorter lifespans, regardless of whether they are laminate or engineered hardwood. However, proper care and maintenance of either kind of flooring can allow homeowners to reach the maximum lifespan possible. Generally, laminate flooring will last anywhere from 10 years up to 25 years, and it often comes with a warranty. Engineered hardwood flooring can last for a person’s entire lifetime, but it will sometimes require spot plank replacement or sanding down to repair any damaged areas. However, engineered hardwood can only be refinished once or twice before it needs to be replaced.
How Much Maintenance Does Each Require?
Both laminate and engineered hardwood flooring are easy to care for. Laminate needs to be swept or dust mopped on a regular basis. Spot cleaning as needed with a damp cloth is usually sufficient to remove spills and stains. Engineered hardwood floors also need regular sweeping, and they will usually do best if they are periodically treated with a special hardwood floor finish.
Which is Best For You?
Both laminate and engineered hardwood flooring can be less costly options than solid hardwood flooring. With proper care, you’ll get years of enjoyment and use from either laminate or engineered hardwood flooring. Call the experts at Floor Coverings International of Carmel today to discuss which is right for your home! We offer free in-home estimates in the Carmel, Fishers, Zionsville, McCordsville, Westfield areas.
Photo: © Sutichak