Discover the Difference: Engineered Hardwood vs Laminate

Discover the Difference: Engineered Hardwood vs Laminate


If you're considering a new flooring project for your home or office, there are two common options that you may have compared: engineered hardwood and laminate. The popularity of these materials can be easily attributed to their durability, beauty, and affordability; however, it is important to understand the differences between them before choosing the best option for your specific needs. In this ultimate guide to comparing engineered hardwood vs. laminate, we'll explore each material's unique traits and characteristics so that you can make an informed decision on which is right for you. So if you want to learn more about how these two materials compare in terms of appearance, quality, installation requirements, environmental impact, and cost effectiveness, read on!


Engineered Hardwood: Engineered hardwood is the epitome of elegance and luxury. Made from real hardwood veneers atop a core made up of layers of ply, it gives an authentic and elegant appearance that exudes a natural beauty. The genuine wood surface comes in various species, grains, plank widths, and finishes, providing versatility to match your desired interior design. The authentic look of engineered hardwood flooring is hard to beat and adds significant value to your home while elevating the overall ambience.

Laminate Flooring: Laminate flooring has come a long way in mimicking the appearance of real wood. Modern laminates boast high-resolution images that convincingly replicate the look of hardwood. While they may lack the texture and depth of real wood, laminate options have expanded to include various wood species, stone, and tile patterns, offering a wide range of aesthetic choices.


Engineered Hardwood: When it comes to quality, engineered hardwood flooring shines. The top layer of real wood provides durability and longevity, while the multiple layers beneath add stability and resistance to moisture. Additionally, its quality allows it to be sanded and refinished multiple times, extending its lifespan. This composition makes engineered hardwood less prone to warping and shrinking, making it an excellent choice for areas with fluctuating humidity levels.

Laminate Flooring: Laminate flooring is known for its impressive durability and resistance to scratches and stains, making it a practical choice for busy households. However, laminate's synthetic composition means it lacks the authentic feel of real wood. While it is highly durable, it may show signs of wear and tear over time, particularly in high-traffic areas. Laminate flooring is not known for its reparability, and once damaged, it usually requires replacement.

Installation Requirements

Engineered Hardwood: Engineered hardwood can be installed using various methods, including glue-down, nail-down, and floating installations. Glue-down and nail-down methods provide a more permanent and stable solution, while floating installations are relatively easy and suitable for DIY enthusiasts. Keep in mind that some engineered hardwood may require acclimation to the room's humidity levels before installation.

Laminate Flooring: Laminate flooring is typically easier and quicker to install due to its click-and-lock system. This category of flooring can be a great choice for DIY enthusiasts who wish to tackle the installation process themselves. The planks snap together, eliminating the need for adhesives or nails. This easy installation process can be a significant cost-saving factor for homeowners. Additionally, laminate flooring requires an underlayment to prevent moisture and sound from permeating through the floor.

Environmental Impact

Engineered Hardwood: Engineered hardwood flooring is generally considered a more environmentally friendly option compared to solid hardwood. The use of real wood veneers allows manufacturers to utilize less high-quality wood, making it a more sustainable choice. However, it is crucial to check for certifications like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to ensure the wood comes from responsibly managed forests.

Laminate Flooring: Laminate flooring is predominantly made from composite wood materials, including high-density fiberboard (HDF) and melamine resin. While it doesn't require the harvesting of rare or exotic trees, it is essential to consider the environmental impact of the manufacturing process and the use of synthetic materials. Look for laminate products labeled as low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) and those certified by reputable eco-friendly organizations.


Engineered Hardwood: Engineered hardwood typically falls within the mid-range of flooring costs. While it may be more expensive than laminate, the genuine wood surface justifies the higher price tag. Investing in engineered hardwood can add significant value to your home and make it an attractive selling point if you plan to sell in the future.

Laminate Flooring: Laminate flooring is well-known for its budget-friendly nature. Its lower cost, combined with the ease of installation, makes it an ideal choice for those on a tighter budget or seeking a quick and affordable flooring upgrade. Keep in mind that while laminate is cost-effective upfront, it may not offer the same long-term durability and value as engineered hardwood.

In the end, the choice between engineered hardwood and laminate flooring depends on your priorities and preferences. Engineered hardwood impresses with its authentic appearance, premium quality, and long-term value, while laminate flooring stands out for its affordability, ease of installation, and versatility in replicating various styles.

If you seek elegance and a timeless look that complements your home's value, engineered hardwood may be the ideal choice. On the other hand, if you need a reliable and budget-friendly option that can mimic the appearance of real wood, laminate flooring might suit your needs best.

Consider factors like your budget, lifestyle, and environmental concerns before making your final decision. Whichever option you choose, investing in high-quality flooring will undoubtedly enhance the beauty and comfort of your home for years to come.