Homeowners are often confused about the choice of flooring between engineered hardwood and laminate flooring. This article will help an investor or a homeowner to make considerations about the choice of flooring based on the wood appearance, durability, longevity, maintenance, and eco-friendliness. It will also take into consideration other factors that may influence flooring options such as Singaporean tropical climatic conditions. Generally, one should be aware that the durability and usefulness of the floor surface largely depends on the intensity of foot traffic, professional installation, and strict adherence to the recommendations given by the manufacturer.
Engineered hardwood is a type of wood that consists of both several wood or plywood layers. The bottom and middle layers are manufactured from cross-laid solid wood or plywood planks. The top layer consists of sawn wood pamella which is often stained and pre-finished during manufacture. Laminate flooring is a multi-layer synthetic flooring product that simulates wood with a photographic layer under a protective layer. Usually, the inner layer is manufactured primarily from fibre optic materials and melamine resin. It has an imprinted textured image which makes it imitate the appearance of real wood.
The are a number of benefits associated with the use of engineered hardwood. Due to its structural pattern, it has a higher resistance to temperature variation and moisture. In addition, it can last longer than laminate floor. In fact, if well maintained, its floor life expectancy is a life time. This is because the floor can be re-sanded after extensive use. After its damaged, it can be recycled or damaged without causing harm to the environment. However, its durability depends on the thickness of the top layer. It is easier to repair than laminate wood. In case of extensive damage, the entire floor can be resanded. In case of localized damage, individual planks can be removed and replaced. Spots repair is possible and do not need technical expertise. Due to these factors, it has a high resale value and increases the value of a home.
Engineered hardwood floor has several disadvantages. It is prone to scratches. This makes it unsuitable to high active families especially those with children and pets. In addition, it requires more care than laminate wood. Cleaning should be done through using hardwood flooring cleaners. In this regard, detergents, universal cleaners, and furniture polish should not be used to clean the floor. Although the wood has a superior dimensional stability, it is not recommendable to use it in kitchens or bathrooms due to the high level of moisture in such places. Moreover, it is not always suitable and safe for radiant heat systems.
Laminate flooring has several benefits. Its aluminium oxide coating and a melamine finish makes it highly resistant to scratches. This makes it more suitable for active families than engineered hardwood. In addition, it gives the homeowners and designers a variety of home decor options. This is because laminate flooring is suitable for variety of designs. Furthermore, its installation is fast and easy. Thanks to the development of modern and effective laminate installation methods, glue is not required. In addition, it is resistant to moisture, staining, and fading. This makes it possible for use in basements, kitchens, and bathrooms. Moreover, it is easy to maintain. It just requires dry mopping, sweeping, or wiping with a damp cloth. It is safe for radiant heat systems. Since it is economical to produce, it is less expensive than engineered hardwood.
There are several disadvantages of using laminate flooring. It has a relatively short life-span compared to engineered hardwood. Its floor life expectancy is up to 20 years. Since it cannot be re-sanded or re-varnished, scratches, damages, and accumulated tear-and wear eventually lead to the destruction of the floor. By implication, one may be required to change the whole floor again. The floor is not easily to repair. This is because it cannot be sanded or refinished. Removal and replacement of individual planks does not create a unique aesthetic effect of the home. Disposal or recycling of the laminate wood can have a negative impact on the environment.
In conclusion, the choice of either engineered hardwood or laminate depends on specific circumstances. If one has children or owns a pet, it is recommendable that one uses laminate flooring because it is resistant to scratches. Similarly, rooms that have high humidity and temperature are best floored with engineered hardwood. If one is looking for the uniqueness of colourful designing, then laminate is better than engineered hardwood.
If one does not have a high renovation budget, laminate flooring is more suitable than engineered hardwood. The complexity of integrated layers of hardwood and plywood makes engineered hardwood more expensive than laminate. Whichever the choice that an investor, designer or homeowner makes, following the instructions of the manufacturer on installation, use, cleaning, and maintenance is paramount.