Laminate flooring is a high-quality image of wood fused to a fiberboard core and topped with a highly durable transparent wear layer. Laminate flooring manufacturers have responded to the competition from engineered wood and have stepped up their game with newer iterations that not only look even more like wood but feel like it. Richer, deeper embossing of wood grain textures modeled on actual wood gives higher quality laminate flooring its realistic feel. Thicker premium 12 mm laminates, too, have convinced many buyers to experiment with the product in higher-end homes.
Engineered Wood Flooring
Engineered wood flooring is more closely aligned to solid hardwood than laminate because it incorporates a thin veneer of natural wood on top of a high-quality plywood base. Because the plywood's layers run perpendicular to each other, the plywood is more dimensionally stable than solid wood.
Engineered wood floor's higher price point, too, resembles that of solid hardwood. Yet the upside to this high price is that its resale value is commensurately high. Its perceived value, as well as its monetary value, has only gained over the last few decades as more builders, designers, and homeowners have adopted engineered wood flooring.
Laminate flooring and engineered wood flooring contrast against a host of factors. Only one, laminate flooring, is a true, do-it-yourself flooring, as planks fit together without nails or staples and, in most cases, even without glue. While some floating engineered flooring is produced, most versions must be stapled down just like solid hardwood flooring.
Laminate flooring's top layer only looks like wood; engineered wood flooring truly is wood. One is an image of wood; the other, wood veneer. Laminate's core is a type of wood fiberboard that swells upon contact with water and is unable to regain its original dimensions. Engineered wood flooring's core is dimensionally stable high-grade plywood.