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Engineered Hardwood vs. Laminate Flooring

Without a doubt, your floors are the single largest surface in your home: they are walked on daily, trampled on, have things dropped on them and spilled on them not to mention dirt and outside debris brought in and ground against them. You will see your floors and feel them every single day and that is why it is so incredibly important to consider how your new floors will look after they are installed. When comparing engineered to laminate flooring the first thing that comes to mind is how each one of them looks. However, with a purchase such as this, you will have to take that comparison so much deeper to ensure you are purchasing the right flooring for your budget, home and lifestyle.

Looks

While you will know the construction of your floors let’s face it: the first thing your guests will notice about your floors is how they look. Second to this is how your floor feels; is it too slippery or too rough on the feet? Laminate flooring is composed of images of wood planks whereas engineered has a real solid wood top layer so it is almost indistinguishable from solid hardwood. So if ensuring your floor looks as high end as possible engineered is a fantastic alternative to solid, and will look better than laminate flooring. This type of flooring also is relatively warm for being wood flooring, and can be soft and comfy underfoot.

Cost

While how the floor looks is normally the first and only thing you will think about at first how much your floor is going to cost you will soon become just as, if not more, important that how it looks. For engineered hardwoods you should budget to spend about $6 – $10/square foot or you can find some cheaper options under $5/square foot, excluding installation costs. If that is a little too high for your budget then laminates can be found for $2 – $3/square foot excluding installation. The price will reflect how much it looks like real wood; the closer it is, the more expensive it will be.

Installation

If you are determined to install them yourself, or if you just do not have it in your budget to pay someone after you have paid for materials, then the type of flooring you choose is very important. Laminate flooring has a click and lock system and is much easier to install yourself, however engineered can be a little more complicated and will cost more for installation. It is completely based on what is in your budget. If you are willing to spend the money on a more expensive floor it will probably be worth your while to invest in a team of professionals to install it so it looks the absolute best.

Durability

Just because a floor looks great in the showroom does not mean it will look great after your family gets ahold of it. If you are going to invest in new flooring, you want to make sure it will stand up to everything life can throw at it, and still look like it was just installed yesterday. Engineered flooring not only looks the closest to solid wood it comes with the drawbacks of it, too. There is a benefit though: because the top layer is real wood this type of flooring can actually be sanded down and refinished if your family is tough on your floors. Laminate, however, cannot be refinished, but it is much more durable than engineered and normally has a stain resistant finish applied to it. This type of flooring is resistant to scratches and for that reason is so much more appealing to families with young children or pets.

Lifespan

Solid and engineered wood floors, if treated properly and cared for, can last longer than a home itself. Since they are prone to scratches and nicks they may have to be refinished every 8-10 years. Laminate hardwoods cannot be refinished because they do not have a top wood layer, but they are not as prone to scratching and will stand up to everyday activities by those in your household.

Installing new floors in your home is a big undertaking, and you will have to consider more than just how they will look. Taking into consideration your budget, lifestyle and expectations of the flooring will allow you to make the best decision for you. No matter which you decide by considering each of the factors outlined will help you determine which is a better investment of your money and will ensure you get the most of your new floor and enjoy your home for years to come.

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