When selecting a hardwood floor alternative, you may be surprised by just how many new options and styles have popped up over the years. With wood-looking tile flooring and even Luxury Vinyl Planks (LVP), the choices are seemingly endless. Today we’ll talk about the differences between laminate and engineered hardwood, which are two popular types of real hardwood alternatives. Let’s dive into how they differ below.


Sometimes known as composite or a “floating floor”, Laminate flooring is more or less a rigid synthetic flooring. It’s composed of multiple layers of compressed materials. Its bottom-most layer serves as the base of each piece of laminate and is resistant to liquid and moisture. The next layer, known as the inner core, is most often manufactured with high-density fiberboard that has been reinforced with resin. On top of the inner core lies arguably the most important layer. The design or photographic layer features a high-resolution image that may even be textured. Lastly, the final layer is what’s known as the protective layer, which is laminated onto the design layer so it’s well-protected from damage. 

Engineered hardwood and laminate both make great hardwood alternatives for kitchen flooring.


This manufactured wood was created to ease many of the common issues associated with real hardwood floors. With engineered hardwood, you can avoid or lessen some issues like warping or moisture damage. Because the floor is made of multiple layers of compressed wood, it becomes a solid and sturdy plank. With up to 12 layers of compressed wood underneath, the engineered hardwood is topped with a slice of real wood on top, which gives it a beautiful and natural appearance. 


It’s hard to say which is better because so much of your selection depends on your home and lifestyle. However, they are some obvious benefits that each type of flooring boasts. We’ll describe them in a bit more detail below.


Laminate is quite inexpensive when compared to real wood options. Its “floating floor” design makes it relatively easy to install with its interlocking edges. If flooring maintenance is a concern for you, you’ll be relieved to know that laminate flooring is quite easy to clean. If you should ever change your mind and decide to go with a different type of flooring, laminate is relatively easy to swap out, as no nails or glue are involved. 


If you want a longer-lasting floor option, engineered hardwood generally lasts about 50% longer than laminate. It can also be refinished at least once or twice before needing to be replaced. Laminate, once damaged, cannot be refinished. In terms of appearance, engineered hardwood takes the cake. Because the top layer is real wood, you will get a much more realistic-looking wood-type floor. If you are considering selling your home within the next 20 years, engineered hardwood also provides better home resale value than laminateBetter resale value is always a plus!


Whether you choose engineered hardwood or decide to go with laminate, you can’t go wrong. They are both great choices, but simply differ on your needs and wants. Any of our showroom staff at Element are fully capable of helping you select a style and perfect color match for your home. We’re excited to learn more about which flooring style we can help you with, so be sure to contact our flooring store in Fort Collins today to get started!