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What is Engineered Flooring?

What is Engineered Flooring?

Dear Bob and Betsy,
I’m looking for new flooring for my loft and I’m overwhelmed with the choices. What is engineered flooring? How is it different than laminate?
– Betsy C.

Dear Betsy,

Engineered flooring typically refers to engineered hardwood flooring. This is a specific product that consists of several layers of wood.

The top layer is the hardwood flooring itself. This is the same as the traditional solid wood flooring. The layers beneath that consist of plywood, high-density flooring, or another core material. There are usually four total layers.

The benefit to engineered wood flooring over solid hardwood is that it is more versatile. It is more durable, stable against moisture, and resilient to climate changes. Coincidentally, these are the same benefits homeowners receive when using laminate flooring.

Laminate vs. Engineered Flooring

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Because laminate and engineered flooring look so similar, many people struggle to know which is the right flooring for their home. Here are a few comparisons to help you decide.

Price: Laminate flooring is made using a high-definition print as the top layer. Engineered flooring uses real hardwood. Although they look very similar, the price of engineered flooring is quite a bit higher than laminate because of the extra costly materials.

Radiant Heating Systems: Some engineered flooring is not able to be used with radiant heating systems because it is made out of wood, which makes it a fire risk. Laminate flooring uses a process that makes all styles and brands safe to use on radiant flooring systems.

Wear and Tear: Because the top layer of engineered flooring is hardwood, it reacts to wear and tear the same as solid wood flooring. This means that scratches, dents, dings, and damage are all possible with engineered flooring. Laminate is more durable against damage because of the protective layer that tops the decorative layer.

If you plan to put your flooring in a high traffic area, laminate is the better option. Likewise, if you’re on a budget, laminate is preferred.

Still not sure what’s right for you? Talk to one of our flooring experts by opening a chat window now!

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Bob and Betsy
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  1. My kitty knocked the iron (pointed tip down) onto my laminate floor. Is there some filler that I can use to make the small digit look better? Really enjoyed reading all the info you have on flooring. It contradicts what many workers have told me about flooring and I appreciate hearing from experts rather than handymen about my floor.

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Fran! Any home improvement store should carry a laminate flooring repair kit. You’ll find color matching putty where you can fill in the hole to make it less noticeable. The other option is to re-install a new plank. Hope that helps!

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