Laminate, Hardwood, And Engineered: Understanding Why These Wood Floors Are Different
Who does not love a wood floor? They are fairly easy to care for, even easier to clean, and if the kids or pets make messes on a wood floor, you will not go ballistic trying to scrub the mess off the floor. They also have a tendency to look very nice. If you have decided to replace the flooring in your home with wood, you might discover that there are three ways to do this. Laminate, hardwood, and engineered wood floors are your options, but you should also know what makes these very different from the next.
These are solid wood floors several inches thick. A base floor of thick planks is put down first. Then a second layer of wood boards is installed over that. Usually, whatever type of wood you have chosen is your top layer of flooring. It will be stained and/or varnished according to the color and shine factor you desire. A dust mop effectively keeps it clean, but you can use a wood floor cleaner and damp mop once a month to wipe it down.
Engineered flooring is a step down from hardwood floors but a step up from laminate. Engineered flooring is essentially laminate, since its top layer is a thin layer glued to other layers of wood. However, engineered flooring is a few layers thicker than laminate, and the layers are meshed in a perpendicular manner before being cut into strips. A lot of the "click-lock" laminate options are usually engineered flooring.
Laminate are very thin slices of wood glued to each other. The top layer can be stained and varnished wood, but recent developments in this industry can also make the top layer linoleum, vinyl, or stone tile. There is a lot of versatility with laminate, but it requires a lot more care because of its delicate nature. You also have to avoid getting laminate excessively wet because moisture warps the laminate and water in between its layers creates the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew.
However, laminate is the cheapest option. It costs only a fourth to a third of what hardwood flooring costs. If you want the look of hardwood flooring, but you do not want the expense, then laminate may be the right option for you. It will install easily and quickly, and you can choose floating floor (not glued or nailed down) or the secured floor.