Most people know that the two products have more differences than similarities. However, because both products are made with layers, a lot of shoppers think that they’re more alike than they really are. If you’re debating between the laminate flooring and engineered wood flooring, here are the differences in the layers in both products.
Admittedly, there can only be one top layer, however, we’re combining two elements of each material for comparison purposes. The top layer of engineered wood flooring, if you’re being technical is the stain and finish. The next layer is hardwood. It can be any species but it must be real wood. Aluminum oxide of varying thickness makes up laminate flooring’s top layer. There is no design on the top layer of laminate floors. That on the design layer just beneath the wear layer. The wear layer of engineered wood flooring is the top layer. In laminate, the aluminum oxide is the wear layer.
The next layer on engineered wood flooring is actually several layers of plywood glued together. Depending on the manufacturer and quality of the product, the number of layers vary. The more layers, the stronger and more structurally sound. Depending on the quality of the product, engineered wood floors have between three and 12 layers of plywood. They are always cross layered.
Beneath the design layer of laminate lies the core layer. It’s hard and durable and is what gives laminate flooring it’s strength and water-resistant properties. Most manufacturers use compressed sawdust and woodchips bound together with resin. Some use plastics in the core.
Depending on the manufacturer and type of engineered wood flooring, the bottom layer may be the second layer of plywood. However, there are two other options. If the engineered wood flooring is labeled “balanced” then the bottom layer is the same thickness and wood species as the top layer. This provides more stability and allows for wider and longer planks. Other manufacturers add an underlayment to the bottom of the plywood layer which eliminates the need for a separate underlayment.
Laminate’s bottom layer is called the backing or back layer. It’s purpose is to provide stability and protect the flooring from moisture. In a way, it is an underlayment of sorts, however, some manufacturers still recommend a separate underlayment in some installations.
Which Material is Best?
That depends on where you’re installing the flooring and your lifestyle. As a local flooring installation company, Authentic Hardwood Flooring installs laminate flooring as well as hardwood and engineered wood flooring. Call us today for your free in-home consultation and estimate at (727) 786-6330.