Engineered wood vs laminate : durability, renewability question

homey_birdFebruary 24, 2011


We want to replace our existing carpet with a floating surface. We are on a concrete slab, in mild-weather (SF Bay Area), and this is our main house level. Giving a wood-like look+feel to the floor is very important to us and we're considering high-quality laminate like Pergo and engineered wood as our options.

So far, considering the pros and cons, we're leaning towards engineered hardwood. I like the qualities discussed here of wood -- like warmer feel on the feet, great value add etc. At the same time, I learnt here that laminate scratches too -- which came to me as a surprise because I'd been considering it more "durable". However, wood being a natural surface, will be prone to getting dings and marks and I am wondering how it can be maintained successfully. I also learnt here that engineered wood can be sanded but not refinished.

Thus my question to the experts on this forum is: if I choose an engineered wood, pre-finished floor, then would it need regular sanding, or are they made to withstand normal levels of wear and tear and keep looking nice? Most of these come with multiple protective coats and 25yr warranty etc. but what does that really mean? What has been your experience if you have seen engineered wood? We're a typical family and I do not expect above-average assault on the flooring.

Thanks in advance!

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Go online and Google hardwood and laminate secrets revealed. About as accurate as it gets for discussing the differences. Good Luck.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 9:52PM
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laminates cannot be refinished in any way. Eng. hdwd can be screened and recoated adding a new coat of finish without sanding. The aluminum oxide finish on eng hdwd is similar to the low maintenance ao on laminates but can be recoated. Wear warrantys are the amt of traffic needed to walk thru the finish down to the bare wood. When people discuss 'wear' what they are seeing is a diminished gloss in traffic areas. This is when recoating comes in handy.
I agree that hdwd adds value where laminates don't.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 1:16PM
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Thanks for your response, boxers! It helped me understand the relative benefits.

Just as a final comment, laminate floor makers' selling proposition is that laminate is "virtually indestructible". Does not seem like that's the case! Thanks again!!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 3:49PM
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it has been oversold. It scratches, dents, chips just like everything else. It also sounds hollow, plasticky and cheap. Wood has none of that and can be repaired or refinished.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 12:03PM
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Big differences in engineered floors too. You want a sawn / sliced one rather than a rotary cut. They hold up much better over the long haul. Also check the veneer thickness of the top layer, thicker is better. A quality sliced veneer floor is indistinguishable from a solid one.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 7:45PM
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