A lot of our customers ask what floating floor to have in their home... laminate or engineered hardwood? Just to be on the same page, "floating" means the floor is not actually secured in any way to your sub-floor, and "sub-floor" meaning the plywood underneath your finished floor. For instance, real hardwood flooring is stapled/nailed to your sub-floor, while engineered is just floating and in some cases glued. If you were set on the wood floor then we would highly recommend paying the extra bucks to install real 3/4" hardwood flooring as it is solid and can be sanded and refinished down the road, while engineered cannot, but if it's not in your budget or you have a cement floor, then engineered is a good option.
Engineered hardwood flooring is made with a thin piece of stained wood veneer glued or laminated on top of a piece of plywood. The main benefits vs the laminate flooring are the look & durability. Engineered hardwood looks like real wood & will withstand a higher impact blow before chipping, and if chipped, can be touched up with a matching stain. It is better when penetrated with moisture and looks great when extended into the kitchen!
Laminate flooring is a multi-layer synthetic flooring product laminated together. The finish you see on the top of the floor is a picture under a clear protective layer, while the core of the floor is made of fiber board material & melamine resins. So if you want the floor to extend into your kitchen, then I would stay away from the laminate, as any spilled liquids that penetrate through the joints of your floor will cause the fiber board to swell and expand, thus creating a need to replace some of the boards, which is not a simple task. If you have decided already to install laminate, then you could end the laminate at the entrance to your kitchen and install tile or vinyl flooring.
The only benefit of laminate vs engineered is cost. You will find that most engineered hardwoods start at that price just for the flooring! So if you are on a lower budget and want a beautiful modern floor, then laminate is the way to go, but if you are looking for a step up in quality and appearance, then engineered is your next best product.
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