Home renovations are almost always sought over the years. After all, a house tends to undergo quite a lot of wear and tear. One of the first things that require remodeling is the flooring, whether it is due to the current flooring in the house is now out of fashion or because it is damaged.
To ensure that the house looks sophisticated yet trendy, many choose traditional or engineered hardwood. This is because such flooring doesn’t get outdated and always looks aesthetically pleasing. Within the umbrella of traditional hardwood, there are three significant options one can choose from. This includes laminate flooring, hardwood, and engineered hardwood. To decide among them during home renovations, it is essential first to understand the difference between them.
The floorings differ from one another in the following aspects.
Thickness and materials
While laminate flooring is manufactured, hardwood is naturally found in the environment. To make hardwood flooring, plants are cut from wood and milled to the required shape and size. The thickness of the board is generally three-quarters of an inch.
Engineered hardwood thickness is 3/8” to 1/2″ and is therefore slightly thinner than solid hardwood. Thicker woods are usually available in premium collections. Some engineered floors have a thicker top hardwood layer which allows them to be sanded and refinished a few times. Engineered floors can be a good choice if you need thinner wood for an existing space — for example, to match the height of an adjoining floor or fit kitchen appliances into tight spaces between countertops and floors.
As far as laminate flooring is concerned, it is manufactured in a factory from a composite. The layers of the material include a core, backing, photographic and topcoat layer. Each of these layers plays a role in making the flooring resistant and stable.
In the case of hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood flooring, there is an overlapping edge treatment done which helps the edges in interlocking with one another. This function, in turn, provides the wood room to expand and contract while ensuring at the same time that it doesn’t get loose.
Laminate flooring features grooves and tongues that are combined to hold the seams together. To make sure that the flooring is well placed and tight, there is a clip installed in between the laminate flooring.
In Laminate flooring, a finish is not required. The manufacturer is likely to use color and wood grain to deliver the final look, and the only thing the user does is have the flooring installed without any further finishing process.
Hardwood flooring comes in two options – refinished and unfinished (also known as site finished). Prefinished is available in an array of wood species, color, and sheen. Site finished hardwood is installed raw, sanded stained and then coated with a clear protective finish.
Engineered hardwood flooring typically requires no sanding or finishing.
Pros of Laminate Flooring
There are various benefits to choosing laminate flooring. Here the major pros of this option:
Laminate flooring installation and the material can be up to 50 percent cheaper than the cost of hardwood flooring. This is because laminate flooring is made from composite wood pressed at a very high temperature. Both the material and the process is cheap making the final output affordable as well.
There are various layers in laminate flooring that are constructed to ensure durability. They are resistant to moisture, wear, and tear and scratches. Moreover, it is effortless to clean and maintain.
Cons of Laminate Flooring
The flaws in the flooring include:
Lack of visual appeal
The texture and the appearance of the flooring to some people are not aesthetically pleasing, when compared to hardwood. The lower the price of the flooring, the more artificial it looks.
Laminate flooring might be easy to clean. The repair of laminate is only difficult if much of the floor needs to be removed and then relayed. Laminate tend to hold its colour through age and sunlight, hardwood has this problem.
Pros of Hardwood flooring
There are two main strengths of hardwood flooring. This includes:
Hardwood flooring looks beautiful if chosen correctly. Hardwood is bound to add a sophisticated and trendy touch to any room they are installed in.
Ease of repair
It is easy to repair hardwood flooring if it becomes damaged. As individual pieces can be removed and replaced if prefinished. Site finish requires the additional steps of sanding, staining and finish coats.
Cons of Hardwood flooring
The flaws of hardwood flooring include:
Lack of durability
Since there is no protective layer on the flooring, it tends to get scratched easily. If the hardwood gets excessive moisture and sunlight exposure, it will show visible wear and tear.
The more exotic the harvested tree from which the hardwood is made is, the higher will be the price. Generally, hardwood flooring costs more than laminate flooring.
Pros of Engineered Hardwood
There are many benefits to choosing engineered flooring, here are a few:
Engineered flooring is structurally stabilized. The cross-grain pattern resists expansion and contraction caused by changes in temperature and moisture. The result is flooring that is actually more stable than solid wood flooring.
It is more environmentally-friendly than traditional hardwood for a few reasons.
- Veneer is sliced rather than cut with a saw. The process produces no sawdust, therefore all all of the tree’s wood can be used. The sawdust produced making hardwood boards is wasted wood (and adds up to a significant amount).
- Hardwood trees grow much more slowly than the trees used to make engineered flooring cores. Since more surface area is produced making veneer, installing traditional hardwood uses many times the amount of slow growing tree. This makes the replenishing time much longer.
Engineered flooring has a low tendency to swell or warp, making it very low maintenance.
Whether you are planning on staying in your home forever or selling when the market heats up, engineered wood flooring is an excellent investment. It can be pricey at first, but the floors are durable and will stand the test of time.
Engineered Hardwood Flooring Cons
There are very few principle drawbacks to this type of hardwood flooring, they include:
Subfloor flaws show through. With prefinished flooring there is no sanding done thus if the substrate has any irregularities or height variations, it may require subfloor preparation. Otherwise, the flaws will show up in the finished floor.
It will cost more for the materials of pre-finished engineered hardwood flooring than for solid flooring
Veneers that are too thin will prevent sanding and refinishing opportunities that may double the lifetime of the floor. Some veneers are so thin and poorly made that they can prematurely warp or fade.
Why choose Laminate flooring?
There are many reasons why you should consider choosing laminate flooring.
- Very budget-friendly, with the look of solid hardwood without the hardwood price
- Easy to install
- Does not scratch easily
- Can be installed over concrete or most other surfaces
- Allergens can be kept to a minimum
Why choose Hardwood flooring?
Hardwood flooring should be chosen for home renovations because:
- Luxurious styles and appearance
- Available in many exotic woods, stains, grains and patterns
- Will increase the value of any home
- Different hardwood species vary in durability and resiliency
Why choose Engineered Hardwood flooring?
Reasons you should consider choosing engineered hardwood flooring:
- Installs over above-grade concrete
- Multiple installation methods
- Less sensitive to moisture
- Improves resale value
- Radiant-heating compatible
Anyone who is confused between the three options should know what their priorities are. If one is looking for a budget-friendly solution that is hassle-free and durable, laminate is a perfect choice. If aesthetics matter more, than traditional hardwood flooring or engineered hardwood is the answer.
Analyze your priorities and decide accordingly.