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Laminate Flooring
Versus
Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Comparison

The following chart provides a comparison between laminate and engineered hardwood flooring materials.

Consideration Laminate Engineered Hardwood

Appearance

  • Repeated picture on surface
  • Available in hardwood, tile and other appearances
  • Very dependent on product overall finished quality
  • Elegant - Class
  • No two floors are ever identical due to variance in wood grains
  • Domestic & exotic woods
  • Array of stain colors, gloss factors, edge details

Typical Warranties

  • Wear, fading and staining: 5 to 30 years
  • Moisture resistance from cleaners and spills: 5 to 30 years
  • Will not unlock at seams: 0 to 20 years

Note: Warranties vary dramatically between on and off-shore manufacturers.

  • Prefinished:

Structural Integrity - Lifetime

Finish - 3 to 25 years

  • Unfinished:

Although available, unfinished engineered hardwood is not common. Warranties are generally very limited.

Life Expectancy

  • Dependent on overall quality of the product life expectancies will vary between 10 and 30 years
  • Dependent on thickness of hardwood finish layer. Minimum life should be 25 years, pending no damage from external sources.

Child Friendly

  • Can be gouged & scratched
  • Liquid spills can damage surface and cause boards rot
  • Can be scratched
  • Liquid spills can damage surface and cause boards to warp and rot

Pet Friendly

  • Can be scratched
  • Pet urine can damage surface and cause rot
  • Can be scratched
  • Pet urine can damage surface and cause boards to warp and rot

Care & Maintenance

  • Vacuum, sweep & mop using non-wax cleaners
  • Vacuum & mop using non-wax cleaners
  • Recoat with polyurethane as needed
  • Can be refinished, number of refinishing based on thickness of surface layer - refinishing required every 15 to 25 years

Installation

  • Interlocking floating construction
  • Requires underlayment

Additional information about laminate flooring underlayment

  • Interlocking floating construction (no glue needed): Tongue and groove locking
  • Glue, staple or floating

Standard construction: Glue, staple or float/glue to sub-floor

Interlocking floating construction (no glue needed): Tongue and groove locking

Both constructions: Over wood, concrete or existing floor with the exception of carpet

Grade Levels

  • Below grade
  • On grade
  • Above grade
  • Below grade
  • On grade
  • Above grade

Room Installation

  • All rooms with following exceptions:
  • Full & half bathrooms - not recommended - laminate is sensitive to water.
  • All rooms with following exceptions:
  • Full & half bathrooms - not recommended - hardwood is very sensitive to humidity fluctuations and water.

Note: As hardwood scratches consideration should be given to installations in foyers as dirt brought into the home can scratch the surface.

Budgeting

  • Material cost $0.75/sq. ft. to $6/sq. ft. - dependent on quality of material and finish
  • Installation cost (contractor):

$1/sq. ft. to $4/sq. ft.

Note: Sq. ft. installation prices do not include the material or installation costs of underlayment, or repairs to sub-floors.

Note: Installing laminate flooring on steps is not included in the pricing.

  • Material cost $2.50/sq. ft. to $10/sq. ft. - dependent on quality of hardwood, finish and species.
  • Installation cost (contractor):

Prefinished - $3/sq. ft. to $5/sq. ft.

Unfinished engineered hardwood, finished on site - $5/sq. ft. to $8/sq. ft.

Note: Sq. ft. installation prices do not include the material or installation costs of underlayment, or repairs to sub-floors.

Note: Installing hardwood flooring on steps is not included in the pricing.

DIY Complexity - Scale 1 to 5 with 1 being the easiest.

  • Interlocking floating without glue - 2
  • Standard with glue or staples - 3
  • Standard floating with glue - 3
  • Interlocking floating without glue - 2

Additional information on flooring materials

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