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The Difference Between Engineered, Laminate And Solid Wood

Originally posted 29th July 2016. Last updated 20th July 2020.

Post Authors
Chris Davies

Flooring Technician

Deciding on what you floor you want to install in your home can be a difficult decision to make. After all, you'll be seeing and using it every day, and flooring is not something that is easily replaced if you decide you didn't get it right the first time. To help make sure you get the perfect flooring option for your home we've looked at the pros and cons of engineered, laminate and solid wood to give your home that perfect real wood look.

Engineered Wood

Engineered wood is the perfect solution for many homes and can be used in all rooms in the house. The product consists of a mix of both laminate and solid wood flooring, with a core of plywood or High Density Fibreboard (HDF), and a veneer of real wood which gives it its realistic and attractive finish. This veneer is glued atop the plywood or HDF and, as it can be taken from any species of wood, can mimic the appearance of any solid wood flooring.

image of kitchen with wood floor

Pros of Engineered Wood

  • Can be used in bathrooms and kitchens as it's much more resistant to wet conditions than solid wood
  • Durable and can be sanded and refinished up to two times, depending on the thickness of the veneer, if marks occur
  • Easier to repair than laminate
  • Provides a realistic finish
  • Can be used over underfloor heating

Cons of Engineered Wood

  • More expensive than laminate flooring
  • Easier to damage than laminate flooring
  • Susceptible to excessive water damage
  • Can be cold and loud to walk on, as most wood floors can be

Related: Should you have Engineered or Solid Wood Floor?

Laminate Wood

Durable and particularly budget-friendly, laminate wood is the perfect solution for those who want a wood look without a large price tag. Laminate consists of a core of HDF, just like engineered wood, but instead of a veneer of real wood it has a photographic layer. This is designed to mimic an extensive variety of species of wood. This means that, for a very small fee you can achieve a finish similar to real wood, without having to worry about maintenance.

image of room with laminate floor and chair

Extremely easy to fit with either a click or tongue and groove system these floor boards can be fitted in your home quickly to produce an instant and dramatic change to the appearance of the room.

Pros of Laminate Flooring

  • Easy to install, re-install and remove
  • The most durable of all three flooring options
  • Easy to clean
  • Can handle excessive wear and tear

Cons of Laminate Flooring

  • Difficult to repair as boards have to be completely replaced when damaged
  • Can be loud to walk on
  • Can be cold
  • The photographic layer doesn't always provide a realistic finish.

Solid Wood

Solid wood flooring is the only option of these three flooring types that consists completely of solid wood, with no other products used in its makeup. The only limit to variety that this flooring option has is the amount of tree species there are. Most trees can be made into solid wood so whether you fancy mahogany, birch or yew we're bound to have the flooring option for you.

image of bedroom with wooden floor

Modern solid wood planks are made with a tongue and groove system which makes them easy to install and their beautiful quality creates a stunning impression in any room you choose to install them in.

Pros of Solid Wood Flooring

  • Easy to sand and refinish if damage occurs
  • Beautiful to look at
  • Provides an attractive finish that most other flooring options can't match

Cons of Solid Wood Flooring

  • Susceptible to wear and tear and easy to mark
  • The most expensive of all three flooring options
  • Prone to expansion and contraction in adverse conditions
  • Requires a lot of maintenance to keep it in good condition

Read more: Should you have Laminate or Solid Wood floor?

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