2022 Engineered Wood Flooring vs Laminate

Average Cost To Install Laminate Flooring Price Range: $970 - $1,690
See costs in your area

Laminate flooring and engineered hardwood are good options for those looking for a floor that resembles solid hardwood but at a much lower cost.

Keep reading to find out how laminate flooring vs engineered hardwood compare, and which of these two best fits your needs.

What Is The Total Cost Of Laminate vs Engineered Hardwood Flooring?

As with any project, you need to set aside a budget to execute the installation of these floors successfully.

The total cost of installing a laminate floor depends on various factors.

Here are some that might need special attention.

  • The quality of the laminate flooring planks
  • The brand you want to purchase
  • Whether or not you need to uninstall and dispose of old flooring
  • Average labor costs in your area
  • The size of the installation space

Both laminate flooring and engineered hardwood are low-cost alternatives to solid hardwood floors, but here is a breakdown of how much each one of them will cost to set up:

Engineered Wood Flooring vs Laminate Cost Breakdown

Flooring Type Average Cost of Material per Square Foot Average Cost of Labor per Square Foot Average Cost of Installation Including Materials and Labor per Square Foot Average Cost of Labor Plus Material for 300 Square Feet
Laminate $1.45 $6.05 $7.50 $2,250
Engineered Hardwood $3 $5 $8 $2,400

Laminate Flooring Cost Brekdown

Generally, laminate flooring tends to be more affordable compared to engineered wood.

Since installing laminate flooring is relatively easy, most people choose to install it themselves instead of hiring a professional.

According to statistics, homeowners spend between $850 and $1,500 to install laminate flooring on a 150-square-foot floor.

These numbers account for labor, material, removal, and disposal of the old flooring and installation of the new floors.

Of course, if you install the laminate flooring yourself, you can expect to spend much less.

Engineered Hardwood Cost Breakdown

Engineered hardwood flooring tends to be more expensive than laminate flooring because you’re highly likely to hire a professional to install the flooring for you.

You can expect to spend from $2,000 to $7,000, depending on the type of material and labor costs in your region.

Almost a half of your budget will be for labor costs.

The amount you spend on labor greatly depends on the contractor you’re working with. Most of them will charge per project, but the pricing will depend in part on how much space the product will cover.

Did you know? Many homeowners choose engineered hardwood over solid hardwood. Studies show that engineered hardwood accounted for 52% of all revenue generated from flooring sales in 2019.

Laminate Flooring Cost Per Square Foot

Since laminate flooring is one of the most affordable options, it has a significant cost advantage compared to engineered hardwood.

For example, at big box home improvement stores, you can expect to spend between $1 and $3 per square foot of laminate flooring.

If you go for high-end or designer styles, you can spend between $9.50 and $11 per square foot.

If you’re having a professional install your flooring for you, you’ll spend an additional $5 to $9 for every square foot that’s installed.

If you have old floors that need to be removed, that will set you back around $70 per hour. Most professionals spend less than a day uninstalling old floors.

Engineered Hardwood Cost Per Square Foot

Engineered hardwood can cost you $4.50 per square foot on the low end, but you can expect to spend close to $7.50 per square foot on average.

In many cases, you’ll require a professional to install the flooring, and that can push the price to almost $25 per square foot.

With laminates, you might not need assistance from a professional.

What Is Engineered Hardwood?

Engineered hardwood is a much more convincing imitation of solid hardwood because its surface is made of natural wood.

Engineered hardwood floors bond a relatively thin layer of solid hardwood over a substrate of superior plywood rather than being made entirely of solid hardwood.

Because of its excellent dimensional stability, sometimes it serves even better than solid hardwood flooring.

Engineered hardwood consists of several layers.

Here’s a breakdown of each one of them:

  1. Wear Layer – This layer protects the flooring from moisture and scratches.
  2. Timber Veneer – This layer is made up of natural wood and varies between 0.6 mm and 6 mm in thickness. It also gives the material a solid hardwood feel that laminates cannot match.
  3. The Core – Engineered hardwood has a plywood core designed to stabilize the floor and avoid floorboard movement.

What Is Laminate?

Laminate flooring is an artificial, wood-like material made up of several layers and was created to serve as a low-cost alternative to solid hardwood.

Many people think laminate flooring is made of plastic, but that’s not true.

Let’s have a look at each layer and what it does:

  1. Foam – Foam is the layer at the bottom of the product. It protects the product from moisture and helps balance the flooring. Some older or low-end laminate floors might lack this layer and would need a substitute to perform these functions.
  2. High-density Fiberboard – This layer has high-density material that increases the durability of the laminate. It further protects the product from moisture and indentations.
  3. Design Layer – This is the layer that brings the visual appeal of the product to life. It consists of a high-resolution image of the laminate’s surface.
  4. Wear Layer – The wear layer is made using aluminum oxide and protects the design layer from fading, burns, spills, and stains.

Engineered Wood Flooring vs Laminate Key Differences

Let’s look at various aspects that differentiate laminate flooring from engineered hardwood flooring.

Engineered Wood Flooring vs Laminate: Appearance

While the attractiveness of a particular material is subjective, many people find engineered hardwood more attractive and authentic than laminate flooring in terms of appearance.

This is understandable, considering that the top layer of the material is made up of natural wood. The wood planks are pre-sanded and treated, making them splinter-free.

From afar, you might think that laminate flooring is natural wood. If you look closer, you’ll quickly realize it’s not hardwood.

Engineered Wood Flooring vs Laminate: Comfort

Engineered hardwood and laminate flooring are comfortable to step on, but laminate flooring tends to be kinder underfoot.

Laminate flooring is fitted on top of a subfloor using a foam underlayment. This design makes laminate flooring tend to flex, mainly if the product isn’t laid down flat.

Engineered hardwood is not installed using foam, making it a bit hard to step on.

Unlike laminate flooring, you won’t notice any flexing because the engineered hardwood is installed using glue or is nailed down to the subfloor.

Engineered Wood Flooring vs Laminate: Resale value

If you’re planning to sell your house in the future, the resale value is a strong consideration.

Many buyers value engineered hardwood; thus, it will tend to maintain or increase the resale value of your house, especially if it’s newly installed.

Laminate flooring is less likely to increase the resale value of your home.

Engineered Wood Flooring vs Laminate: Moisture Resistance

Neither laminates nor hardwood flooring are best for wet areas.

Very few flooring options can withstand a humid or damp environment. If you’re looking for the best flooring for your bathroom or kitchen area, tiles or vinyl flooring might serve you better.

Engineered Wood Flooring vs Laminate: Floor Installation

If you love DIY projects, then laminate flooring is what you should be eying because it is relatively easy to install.

Usually, laminate flooring is not directly placed on the floor. Instead, a layer of foam underlayment is spread over the subfloor and the planks are laid over it.

Also, you don’t need glue or nails to hold the planks together, thanks to a special click-lock edge design that allows the laminate flooring planks to interlock.

Compared to laminate flooring, engineered hardwood may require professionals to help with the installation.

This flooring is nailed directly to the subfloor or stuck using glue.

Floating versions of engineered wood flooring can be installed the same way you would install laminate flooring.

Engineered Wood Flooring vs Laminate: Maintenance

Engineered hardwood requires more maintenance than laminate flooring.

You have to be very careful with liquids and spills.

If you accidentally pour a liquid on it, you must clean laminate immediately. Otherwise, your floor might absorb the liquid and swell.

You can refinish engineered wood once or even twice. Laminate flooring can’t be repaired or refinished in case of damage. Instead, you have to remove and replace the entire section of damaged flooring.

Pro Tip: While engineered hardwood requires more attention, all of these floors are delicate products and should never be cleaned with wet mops.

If you have to clean them with a liquid, ensure you squeeze all the water out of the mop until it’s dry. Also, never use ammonia to clean the surfaces.

Engineered Wood Flooring vs Laminate: Durability

If maintained well, laminate flooring can last for up to twenty years.

Engineered hardwood can last up to 40 years if installed correctly, is well-maintained, and is in a dry environment.

Engineered Wood Flooring vs Laminate: Pets

Pets are a significant part of our family, but their claws and accidents can mean disaster for your floors.

Engineered hardwood can be very loud if pets jump on it. Over time, claws will ruin it, but you can always refinish it if the damage is severe.

Laminate flooring offers greater resistance against claws.

If your pet has one of those “moments” on laminate flooring, clean it immediately to prevent the floor from soaking up the moisture, which can cause swelling later on.

Engineered Wood Flooring vs Laminate: Radiant Heating

Engineered hardwood is an excellent choice if you want flooring that retains heat.

For better results, go for thicker planks, but consult the manufacturers to understand better which engineered wood flooring plank is suitable for retaining heat in the house.

Laminate floors are poor conductors of heat, so you’re most likely to remain stuck with cold floors.

They also don’t stand up well against temperature changes, which can cause gaps within the product.

Pros and Cons Of Engineered Wood Flooring vs Laminate

Both laminate flooring and engineered hardwood have pros and cons that you must consider before making a decision.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the benefits and drawbacks of each one of them.

Pros of Laminate Flooring

  • Easy to install and doesn’t need professional help
  • More affordable compared to engineered hardwood

Cons of Laminate Flooring

  • Once the floors are damaged, they can’t be sanded or refinished
  • Shorter lifespan compared to engineered hardwood

Pros of Engineered Hardwood

  • Longer lifespan of up to 50 years if maintained well
  • Damaged floors can be sanded and refinished up to three times
  • Looks more authentic because it closely mimics solid hardwood

Cons of Engineered Hardwood

  • Expensive compared to laminate flooring
  • Probably need to hire a professional to install

Engineered Wood & Laminate Flooring Top Brands

If you want to purchase laminates or engineered hardwood flooring, below are some of the most recommended brands.


For a long time, Bruce was owned by Armstrong, the world’s largest flooring company. But recently, the company has sold its wood flooring division to American Industrial Partners (AIP).

Bruce provides high-quality and affordable laminate flooring.

They also manufacture engineered hardwood, and you can purchase all of Bruce’s products at big box home improvement stores.

Bruce also has a team of professionals that can help with installation in case you don’t know how or don’t have time to set up their products.


Mohawk is another big name in the flooring industry.

They manufacture both engineered hardwood and laminate flooring.

Mohawk’s products can be purchased from specialty flooring centers.

Mohawk’s laminate flooring is among those that closely mimic natural wood.


Shaw is another flooring giant and is owned by Berkshire Hathaway.

Shaw is a massive flooring retailer that offers nearly every kind of flooring, including engineered hardwood, solid hardwood, and laminate flooring.

You can find Shaw’s products in specialty flooring shops or purchase them from online vendors.

While their prices are slightly higher than their competitors, you surely get excellent quality for the money.

Engineered Wood Flooring vs Laminate | Which Floor Is Best for You?

Deciding which floor is best for you comes down to your flooring needs and how much you’re willing to spend.

Engineered hardwood is excellent if you want a high-quality product that will serve you well for a long time. If you choose engineered hardwood, prepare to spend a bit more.

If you have a tight budget and are simply looking for wood-like flooring, then laminate flooring might be the best option for you.

Average Cost To Install Laminate Flooring Price Range: $970 - $1,690
See costs in your area

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Need Flooring Pros?

Get Free Quotes From Local Contractors