Laminate vs. Hardwood vs. Engineered Flooring
Flooring is an essential element of any home or office as it determines the aesthetic appeal and comfort of the space. When it comes to choosing the right type of flooring, there are several options available, including laminate, hardwood, and engineered hardwood. It is also important to consider constraints such as budget, lifestyle, and even the climate of the area.
Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of each to help you make the right decision for your home.
Flooring options have come a long way today, and although hardwood will always be considered timeless and classic, other great flooring alternatives are being considered by homeowners today, depending on the space, their needs and lifestyle.Nadia Rossini, Decor Manager
Laminate flooring is a popular choice for homeowners who want a durable, cost-effective option that looks like hardwood. It is made of composite wood pressed together at high temperatures, with a printed image of hardwood grain on top. Laminate flooring is available in a variety of styles and colours, making it easy to match any style of decor. It is also relatively easy to install, with some types featuring a click-and-lock system that requires no adhesive.
Pros of Laminate Flooring
- Affordable compared to hardwood and engineered hardwood.
- Easy to install, making it a popular choice for DIY projects
- Highly resistant to scratches, dents, and stains, making it ideal for high-traffic areas.
- Low-maintenance, requiring only regular sweeping and occasional mopping to keep it looking its best.
Cons of Laminate Flooring
- Cannot be refinished or sanded, meaning that it will need to be replaced if it becomes damaged
- Can be slippery, especially when wet, making it less suitable for homes with young children or elderly adults
- Not as environmentally friendly as hardwood or engineered hardwood, as it is made of composite wood
Hardwood flooring is a classic option that has been used for centuries. It is made of solid wood planks that are cut from a variety of hardwood species, including oak, maple, and cherry. Hardwood flooring is known for its durability and timeless beauty, with natural variations in colour and grain that give it a unique character. It can be sanded and refinished multiple times, making it a long-lasting investment.
Pros of Hardwood Flooring
- Highly durable and can last for decades with proper care
- Can be sanded and refinished multiple times, allowing homeowners to change the look of their floors without replacing them
- Adds value to a home and is a desirable feature for buyers
- Is a natural material that is environmentally friendly and biodegradable
Cons of Hardwood Flooring
- Expensive compared to laminate and engineered hardwood
- Can be more difficult to install than other flooring types, requiring professional installation in many cases
- Susceptible to scratches, dents, and water damage, making it less suitable for high-traffic areas or homes with pets or young children
- May expand or contract depending on humidity levels, leading to gaps or warping in extreme weather conditions
Engineered hardwood flooring is a popular alternative to solid hardwood flooring. It is made of a thin layer of hardwood veneer attached to a plywood or fibreboard core, making it more stable and less prone to expansion or contraction than solid hardwood. Engineered hardwood flooring is available in a variety of styles and finishes, including hand-scraped and wire-brushed looks, and can be installed using a variety of methods.
Pros of Engineered Flooring
- More affordable than solid hardwood flooring, making it a cost-effective option for homeowners who want the look of hardwood without the high cost
- More stable and less prone to expansion or contraction than solid hardwood, making it a suitable choice for homes with fluctuating humidity levels or for use in areas like basements or over-radiant heat systems
- Available in a wide range of styles, finishes, and wood species, giving homeowners plenty of options to choose from
- Easier to install than solid hardwood and can be glued, nailed, or floated over an existing subfloor, making it a good choice for DIY projects or for those who want a quick and easy installation
- Can be sanded and refinished, though not as many times as solid hardwood, which can allow homeowners to change the look of their floors over time
- Is an environmentally friendly option, as it uses less hardwood than solid hardwood and can be made from sustainable sources
Cons of Engineered Flooring
- While engineered hardwood can be sanded and refinished, it can only be done a limited number of times due to the thickness of the hardwood veneer layer
- Some types of engineered hardwood flooring may emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) due to the adhesives used in their construction, which can be harmful to indoor air quality and human health
- May not have the same natural look and feel as solid hardwood, which may be less appealing to some homeowners
- Durability can vary depending on the quality of the product and the thickness of the hardwood veneer layer. Inexpensive or low-quality engineered hardwood may be less durable and have a shorter lifespan
Ultimately, the choice of flooring comes down to personal preference, budget, and the specific needs of your space. By carefully considering the pros and cons of each option, you can make an informed decision that will enhance the beauty and functionality of your home for years to come. Whether you prefer the natural look of solid hardwood or the versatility of engineered hardwood or the low maintenance of laminate, there’s a flooring option out there that’s perfect for you!