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What's the Difference Between Engineered and Laminate Flooring?

2 min read
Published on December 06, 2015

Both flooring types look amazing and have some similarities. Making a choice between the two can be difficult, however there are some fundamental differences that may help.

First what are the similarities? 

Both floors can be installed in almost any area of the home. 

Both can offer water resistant properties.

Both have a variety of texture and gloss levels 

Both can be made with varying degrees of character from smooth to distressed.

Both are more allergen-friendly than carpet, and are Greenguard / FloorScore certified for air quality!

What are the differences?

Engineered wood flooring always has a layer of real wood called a veneer. This veneer varies in thickness and is glued to a core which can be plywood, lumber core, MDF and even a vinyl/stone based core. The veneer shows all the variation of wood with no pattern repeats. Once installed it is hard to tell from solid wood. The stable core makes trend forward wider and longer planks possible in real wood.

A finish is applied to the veneer to provide a wear layer and its thickness and composition can be changed to enhance its’ wear properties, to allow use not only in residential, but also commercial applications. You can be confident that these products will look great with their exceptional wear and scratch resistant properties.

Engineered wood floors can be installed using many methods nail, glue, edge glue/click floating with pad

Laminate uses a high quality image or direct print to create the look of wood, stone or even brickwork applied to a core. The core is usually Medium Density Fiber board (MDF) sometimes referred to as HDF.

Technology can allow for amazing high resolution images, depending on the product selected, but patterns are often repeated, more so in more economical versions. 

Trend-forward options.  

9 inch wide planks can be installed to achieve seamless plank lengths of 6 or 8 feet in the convenience of a 4-foot box. (See Xtend Series)

Laminate floors have one of the best scratch resistance surfaces of any hard surface floor due to the highly protective wear layer. Many laminates can even be used in commercial spaces. AC 5 rated are Kid and Pet proof. These floors are really tough.

Laminate floors are clicked together as a floating floor with pad is easy for DIY projects.

Plus there is a Laminate floor to fit every budget.

This is a very brief overview of these two amazing products. 

Check on line or at your local LL Flooring store for the latest trend forward style and innovation.

The surface of laminate flooring is a photographed image of finished hardwood and cannot be refinished.

Warranties are typically associated with the thickness of the wear-layers in mm (millimeters).

Laminates are not fastened to the subfloor but are installed "floating" over a pad.


AquaSeal 24 12mm 'Seaside Oak' Laminate Flooring (pictured above)

Engineered flooring is the most versatile of floors. Depending on the style, engineered can be floated over a pad, nailed to a subfloor or glued to cement. These are made by actually adhering real hardwood to multiple layers of plywood or Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF). Some engineered flooring can be sanded and refinished, if the veneer is thick enough. How many times it can be sanded will depend on the thickness of the veneer or top wear layer and finding someone knowledgeable enough to handle the work. Engineered floors can be excellent for radiant heat and below grade installations.

Big Horn Oak Distressed Engineered Hardwood




Virginia Mill Works 'Big Horn Oak' Wire Brushed Engineered Hardwood Flooring (pictured above)

LL Flooring Technical & Installation