If you’re looking for new floors for your home, you may be considering laminate and engineered wood flooring. Although there are some similarities between the two materials, they are vastly different. With advancements in manufacturing, there’s not doubt that both look like real hardwood more than ever before.
Both products are made with multiple layers of different materials. However, the layer that matters, the one on top, is drastically different. Engineered wood flooring’s top layer is actual hardwood. It can come in prefinished options or be stained. Most quality engineered products can even be refinished. The top layer of laminate is a wear layer. The thicker the wear layer, the more durable. The wear layer protects the pattern of the flooring. Once its scratched, it cannot be repaired or refinished. Replacing the board (or the whole floor) is the only way to remove damage.
Both products can withstand water about the same way – which is not very well. We never recommend putting laminate or engineered wood flooring in a bathroom or laundry room as the chances of water damage in those rooms is relatively high. However, laminate flooring does a bit better with surface water than engineered flooring. With either product, too much water for too long will lead to the layers coming apart and the need to replace the flooring.
Because engineered wood flooring’s top most layer is actual hardwood, its durability varies. If you have pets, young children or like to walk on your flooring in heels, you should choose a harder variety of hardwood for your top most layer. As we mentioned previously, most quality engineered wood flooring can be refinished which allows you to remove surface scratches and other minor imperfections. The thicker the top layer, the more times you can refinish it.
Laminate flooring’s durability is rated on a scale called the AC Rating. Most areas of your home should have at least an AC2 rated product but you can’t go wrong with AC3 or higher, especially if you have dogs or kids. Keep in mind that once laminate is scratched, it can’t be repaired, only replaced.
Authentic Hardwood Flooring offers engineered, laminate and hardwood flooring. We’d be happy to discuss your best option based on your budget, lifestyle and what you expect out of your new flooring. Call us today at (727) 786-6330 or fill out our contact form.