Is Engineered Hardwood the Same as Laminate Flooring?

Posted on 05/01/2019Posted by Kevin Ward

At Peeks, our staff is sometimes asked: is engineered hardwood the same as laminate? It’s not surprising for shoppers to be unsure. After all, there are many flooring products these days. So, we thought we’d explain what engineered wood flooring is, what laminate is, and how they differ.

Why Choose Engineered Hardwood?


More luxurious choice than laminate, but cheaper than regular hardwood
Can be refinished one or more times (unlike laminate)
Moisture resistance is greater than hardwood or laminate

Both engineered hardwood and laminate are both manufactured products. However, engineered wood has a layer of plywood and natural wood that laminate does not. The plywood provides stability. The real wood provides the beauty that makes engineered wood so similar to the look and feel of solid hardwood. Real estate specialists will point to engineered hardwood as a good selling point for a home.

When the day comes that a new floor is needed, laminate needs to be replaced. It’s possible that engineered hardwood can be redone with a light sanding and refinishing. Find out more about engineered hardwood.

Why Choose Laminate?

  • Less expensive than engineered hardwood, reducing upfront costs

  • Same wood looks as engineered hardwood or regular wood

  • Tough and resilient

  • Can float over subfloor

  • Individual pieces can be replaced easily

Purchasing laminate saves money on the front end, and that lures many shoppers to it Better laminates have a hardy, transparent finish that lays over a high-quality image. In the last decade, advances have allowed laminate to feel more like wood as well as look more like it. This is accomplished using a deeper embossing to achieve a more natural texture. Higher-end buyers have a thicker premium laminate to tempt them away from engineered hardwood.

Laminate is easier to install than engineered hardwood which must be glued or stapled. The floating floor method is quicker and cheaper, reducing the cost of new flooring. Find out more about laminate.

Composition of Engineered Hardwood vs Laminate

Engineered hardwood is made of high-quality plywood and a natural wood veneer. It may contain 25-percent natural wood in all. Laminate is made of two layers. The base is pressed wood fiber while the top is tough plastic. Many laminates also have a closed-cell foam underlayment. If it doesn’t, then you need to figure in the expense of adding an underlayment.

Which One is Moisture Proof?

While it isn’t recommended for bathrooms, engineered wood is actually considered better than laminate when it comes to moisture. It is preferred over laminate for kitchens, entryways and anywhere that moisture may be present regularly.

Laminate is moisture resistant, but if water is allowed to seep through the seams, laminate pieces will swell. The key is good installation methods. Peeks installation experts can tell you more.

How Thick are The Boards?

The least expensive laminate tends to be ¼ inch while the more expensive may be closer to ½ inch. Engineered wood flooring has a veneer of about 3/16 inch, but the total thickness tends to be around ¾ inch.

Engineered wood is naturally warmer and harder. Laminate is naturally colder. It can be softer if there is a foam underlay.

We hope this helps you as you decide which floor is right for your personal space. Come take a closer look at the two products and ask our expert staff to explain more about them.

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