10 Differences between Solid, Engineered and Laminate

One of the most important parts of flooring installation is deciding what type of hardwood is right for you. Before choosing solid wood, engineered wood, or laminate flooring it’s crucial to look at all the facts, so I have compiled the following list showing 10 differences in types of hardwood.

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Solid Hardwood

Engineered Hardwood

Laminate Hardwood

Solid Hardwood Floor:

Manufacturing:

It’s a bit more complicated than chop tree, saw planks, and nail down but roughly that is the point. Solid wood floors are typically comprised of a plank of wood with ‘tongue and groove’  sidesThese sides are used to interlock each plank with another.

Eco-Friendly:

Solid hardwood floors are 100% wood and all natural so they are extremely eco-friendly.

Stability:

Because it’s a natural product, hardwood flooring expands and contracts in response to seasonal change.

Characteristics:

The main characteristic of solid flooring is that it responds to air humidity variations. Also, solid hardwood emits a warm, classic, and inordinately valuable sense to a home.

Maintenance:

Solid hardwood floors are among the easiest to keep clean. The main things to do are: keep floor mats at entrances, wipe up an spills ASAP, don’t use oil soaps, use felt contacts on furniture, sweep and dry dust mop regularly.

Durability:

Both solid and engineered hardwood floors are very durable. Surface wear depends more on the finish of the flooring rather than on whether it’s solid or engineered.

Plank Size:

Since solid wood is more sensitive to moisture the plank size shouldn’t exceed 4¼”-5” wide. However, the exact size depends on the finish as well.

Appearance:

The appearance of solid hardwood flooring depends on many things such as wood species, specific grain and, of course, the stain you choose.

Installation:

Before installation the finished planks should sit in your home for a period of time to acclimate. To learn more about acclimation and why its very important click here. Afterwards, solid wood should be installed on or above grade and should be nailed down or stapled down. At Evergreen, we mainly focus on solid wood installation both for the quality and longevity of the product.

Engineered Hardwood Floor:

 

Manufacturing:

It all begins with 2-5 thin sheets of wood being laminated together in opposite directions (Cross-ply construction). Since engineered wood floors are comprised of several layers the finish of the top/visible layer can be completely different than the other layers.

Eco-Friendly:

As long as the adhesives used to bond the layers are non-toxic, engineered floors can be equally eco-friendly to solid hardwood.

Stability:

The advantage of cross-ply construction is that the layers of engineered floors counteract each other so seasonal changes are less of a problem.

Characteristics:

Engineered wood flooring has many of the same characteristics of solid flooring, except it maintains stability through seasonal humidity variations.

Maintenance:

The maintenance of engineered hardwood is the same as solid hardwood flooring.

Durability:

Both solid and engineered hardwood floors are very durable. Surface wear depends more on the finish of the flooring rather than on whether it’s solid or engineered.

Plank Size:

Engineered wood’s stability allow for a wider plank.

Appearance:

Since the top layer of engineered flooring is made of real wood there is virtually no difference from solid hardwood.

Installation:

Depending on construction, nail down, glue down or floating methods may be used.

Laminate Hardwood Floor:

Manufacturing:

With laminate flooring there are 4 basic layers: the balancing layer, the core layer, the pattern layer, and the wear layer. All layers are combined in a high-pressure, high-heat process to press them together. Once pressed they are cooled, and stacked and stored to acclimate.

Eco-Friendly:

Laminate flooring’s appearance is a high-definition photograph that provides the desired look without felling a tree, this being said, laminate flooring vary in glue and other bonding materials used that are not always eco-friendly.

Stability:

Laminate flooring does not expand or contract since it is not a natural product and so isn’t effected by seasonal changes. However, excessive moisture is still not good for it.

Characteristics:

Laminate floors are impact, scratch, and stain resistant.

Maintenance:

Do not use steam cleaners or wet mops on laminate floor. Use a damp cloth to blot up spills, and use nail polish remover on a clean cloth for tough spots.

Durability:

Laminate resists scratches, moisture, and wear and tear.

Plank Size:

There is no standard size for laminate flooring, every manufacturer produces dimensions based on product lines and plank styles.

Appearance:

Because laminate is made up of images of wood planks it may not look as close to the real thing, however laminate has come a long way over the years.

Installation:

Laminate is a fairly easy installation as it is installed using floating methods and can be laid down in almost any area of the home.

 

CONCLUSION

The best value is with having a solid hardwood floor.  The durability and longevity, is hard to beat, they can last the life of your home.  When it comes to pricing there are many factors including plank size, cost of materials, glues, and installation method.

Contact us for a free estimate on your hardwood flooring needs!