Tips to Help You Choose Between Engineered Timber & Laminate Flooring
If you want the look of timber floors but don’t want the maintenance or are limited by budget, you will still find plenty of different products that promise to deliver that look. Two of the most popular choices are laminate and engineered timber flooring. To help you understand each option better, including the benefits and drawbacks of each, we’ve put together a quick guide to timber-look flooring, so you can make the best choice for your needs, taste, and budget.
What is Laminate & Engineered Timber Flooring?
Not unlike laminate, engineered timber is also a multi-layered flooring product. However, layers are usually made from solid wood or plywood planks, and the top layer is a solid-sawn wood sheet, which can be stained, re-stained, and finished to your liking.
How Do They Differ?
While from a distance both materials look like solid hardwood, upon closer inspection laminate floorings fail. Real wood is characterised by great texture variation, meaning each solid or engineered timber plank being unique from all others. Laminate flooring, however, being a synthetic product doesn’t have the same uniqueness, repeating patterns on average with every 5 planks.
Engineered wood planks can last a lifetime, 40 to 80 years or more. The important element to ensure this durability is they are installed corrected and cleaned and maintained according to manufacturer’s instructions. They can also be sanded down and refinished at least 4 times before they need replacement.
Laminate flooring, don’t have the same durability but still can last anywhere from 15 to 20 years. On average, a household will wear down the finish layer at this time. Since laminate can’t be refinished, the flooring will have to be fully replaced after that time.
While engineered timber planks are more resistant to water than hardwood planks, laminate is still the most moisture friendly option. When installed correctly, laminate creates a seamless protective layer.
It’s important to note that while these are moisture resistant materials, they shouldn’t be used in bathrooms – there are timber-look tiles on the market which are much better options for wet areas.
With engineered timber and laminate floors, always read the manufacturer’s instructions and whenever in doubt, ask a professional.
Laminate floorings are definitely the easiest in terms of maintenance. Regular sweeping or vacuuming are usually enough to guarantee its longevity.
Engineered timber planks, however, require extra care. You should use special cleaners recommended by manufacturers, and you should avoid using generic and universal detergents and chemicals, as these can cause permanent damage to your floors.
Engineered timber planks are mostly organic, being made from layers of solid wood and plywood, so they are the more eco-friendly option. Also, once it’s time to replace your engineered timber flooring, you can either recycle it or dispose of it with no harm to the environment. The same cannot be said about laminate.
Laminate floorings contain glues and resins which make them far from organic. It is hard to know exactly what chemicals are used, and what toxic residues and substances can be harmful to you and your family. So if this is something important to you, we suggest you do some research and make sure you buy high quality, non-toxic products. Tile Wizards has technical information on all products that we sell so you can make an informed decision on your purchase.
Laminate flooring is cost effective and comes in a variety of thicknesses and finishes, engineered hardwood is a great option if you are looking for a long-lasting and durable flooring option at a variety of price points depending on the thickness of the board.
For more information, advice, or to check our timber flooring products up close, head over to any Tile Wizards store, and we will be happy to assist you.
Tile Wizards stores can be found across Australia, in and around:
- Sunshine Coast QLD (Tile Wizards in Bokarina)
- Coffs Harbour NSW (Tile Wizards in Coffs Harbour)
- Adelaide SA (Tile Wizards in Lonsdale, Para Hills West, and Richmond)
- Brisbane QLD (Tile Wizards in Brendale, Capalaba, and Springwood)
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