Engineered wood flooring vs laminate: Which should I choose?
There’s no denying that engineered wood flooring can look fantastic. Made from cross-layered plywood, with a layer of hardwood on top, it’s stylish, contemporary, luxurious and a long-lasting investment for your home. But it also has a pretty big price tag!
On average, for a mid- to high-quality product, you can expect to pay around £35-50 per square metre. Which means, even if you’re flooring a relatively small room, the cost can soon add up.
If you’re working with a slightly more modest budget, laminate flooring could be a better alternative. Not only can it look just as impressive, it offers many of the same qualities and benefits as engineered wood. And in some ways, even supersedes it. Yet, it’s available for a much more reasonable ‘wallet friendly’ price.
Here are just a few reasons why it’s worth considering laminate instead of engineered wood and keeping that leftover cash in your back pocket for a rainy day.
5 reasons to choose laminate rather than engineered wood
1. It looks just as good
One of the main differences between laminate and engineered wood is the way it’s made.
Engineered wood flooring is constructed from strips of plywood, with a thin layer of hardwood glued to the top. It looks impressively real, because the top layer of the plank is actually real.
By contrast, laminate is made from high-density fibreboard and the top layer is simply a paper-like material, that has been printed with a ‘wooden’ pattern. And as a result, at one time, laminate flooring designs had a bad reputation for being limited and unrealistic.
But that’s not the case anymore.
In recent years, manufacturers have worked hard to improve the aesthetic of laminate. And thanks to advances in printing technology, it’s now considerably more authentic – boasting on-trend patterns and a richer, deeper embossing of wood grain textures. So much so, that it’s now difficult to tell it apart from both engineered and real hardwood!
2. It’s highly durable
In terms of durability, laminate and engineered wood are pretty equal.
You may pay more for engineered wood, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you get better value for money. Laminate is just as strong and tough. It has a similar lifespan of 20-30 years on average. And with regards to water resistance, it even has a slight advantage.
Sure, laminate isn’t completely waterproof. If moisture were to soak through the boards, it could cause some damage to the fibreboard core. But as long as any water is mopped up quickly, the plastic ‘wear’ layer provides a good level of protection – and you shouldn’t have any problems.
Engineered wood is also finished with a water-resistant surface sealer. But if moisture was to reach the organic plywood underneath, it’s likely to swell and warp – and cause more significant damage.
3. It requires less maintenance
Technically, engineered wood is a form of hardwood – and, as such, it requires many of the same maintenance and upkeeps tasks. For example, you’ll need to sweep and mop it daily to prevent surface damage. It should be vacuumed weekly. A wood cleaner will need to be applied monthly. And re-waxing – every 1-2 years – is recommended to maintain its shine.
In comparison, laminate flooring is really easy to care for.
It’s by no means indestructible. But to keep it looking as good as new, you simply need to use a vacuum to pick up loose dirt, deal with any spills immediately, and gently wipe the surface with a flat-headed spray or microfibre mop.
4. It’s easier to install
Another key difference between engineered wood and laminate is the way they’re installed.
Engineered wood is fitted in the same way as solid hardwood – either by blind-nailing it to the subfloor or gluing the material in place. And as a result, a professional fitter is usually required.
On the other hand, laying laminate flooring is 100% DIY friendly.
Laminate is described as a ‘floating floor’. The planks simply connect via a click-and-lock mechanism, which means it doesn’t need to be nailed or glued. Very few tools are required, and even for a beginner, the job can be completed to an excellent standard in no time at all.
And the added bonus? As laminate flooring is much cheaper, if you do make a mistake during the installation, this will be much less costly than it would be with expensive engineered wood!
5. It’s better for pets
Pets – particularly dogs and puppies – can spell bad news for engineered wood flooring. Their nails can very easily scratch the hardwood surface layer and, if they’re prone to ‘little accidents’, stains, smells and water damage can quickly start to appear.
By contrast – thanks to its general wear-resistance and affordability – laminate flooring ticks all the right boxes. It’s scratch-resistant, especially if it has an abrasion class (AC) of 3 or higher. It’s easy to clean and water-resistant; much less sensitive to moisture than many other materials.
In fact, the only issue is that it can be a bit slippery – but this can be easily overcome with the addition of a few rugs and carpet runners.
Leaning towards the laminate?
Here at Carpet Underlay Shop, nine times out of ten, we think it’s the right choice.
As a leading online supplier of laminate flooring, perhaps you could call us biased…
However, whilst the realistic appearance of engineered wood is impressive, we genuinely don’t believe it justifies the price difference. If you’re looking to update your home, but are conscious of the cost, laminate is a great alternative – and we guarantee, it will do the job just as well, leading to pretty much the same stylish and high-quality results.
So why not take a look at our range?
We currently have Royale® 8mm laminate flooring available in four popular colourways:
These are all AC4 rated, meaning they offer exceptional levels of scratch, stain, water and impact resistance. Constructed from high-strength wood board, our laminate is incredibly durable and designed to last many years. And the best bit? It’s available for the reasonable price of just £19.99 per m2.
Contact us today
If you have any questions – whether about the difference between laminate and engineered wood, which might be the better option for your project or any of the products in our flooring collection – please don’t hesitate to get in touch. When investing your hard-earned money, it’s important to make the right decision, and we can help to point you in the right direction.
- Alex Illidge