Every Inside

Get All Your Home Improvement Solutions with Our Handy Tips

12mm Laminate Flooring vs Engineered Hardwood: 12 Crucial Differences

12mm Laminate Flooring vs Engineered Hardwood

Last Updated on July 24, 2023

Are you in the market for new flooring but unsure whether to choose 12mm laminate or engineered hardwood? Both options have their pros and cons, making the decision a difficult one. But don’t worry, we’re here to help break it down for you.

First, it’s important to understand the differences between the two. Laminate flooring comprises several layers of compressed fiberboard with a printed image of wood on the top layer.

On the other hand, engineered hardwood is made of real wood on the top layer, with several layers of plywood or high-density fiberboard underneath.

This means that while laminate flooring may look like wood, it is not actually made of wood, whereas engineered hardwood is.

Keep reading to learn more about the differences between 12mm laminate flooring and engineered hardwood and how to tell which one is right for you.

The Differences Between 12mm Laminate Flooring and Engineered Hardwood

The Differences Between 12mm Laminate Flooring and Engineered Hardwood

If you’re considering 12mm laminate flooring versus engineered hardwood, there are a few key differences to consider.

  • No 01: Construction
  • No 02: Appearance
  • No 03: Water Resistance
  • No 04: Durability
  • No 05: Installation
  • No 06: Cost
  • No 07: Refinishing
  • No 08: Comfort and Feel
  • No 09: Resale Value
  • No 10: Maintenance
  • No 11: Thickness
  • No 12: Value Perception

No 01: Construction

The construction of 12mm laminate flooring involves a high-density fiberboard (HDF) core, which provides stability and durability to the product. The HDF core compressed wood fibers under high pressure and heat, resulting in a strong and consistent material.

On top of the HDF core, a photographic layer is added, mimicking the natural wood’s appearance. This layer can be customized to replicate various wood species, colors, and textures. Finally, a protective wear layer is added to the top of the photographic layer to enhance the durability and resistance of the product to scratches, stains, and fading.

In comparison, engineered hardwood consists of a thin layer of real hardwood bonded to multiple layers of plywood or HDF. The thin layer of hardwood is usually 2-6mm thick, depending on the manufacturer, and can be made of various wood species.

The plywood or HDF layers provide stability and reduce the risk of warping or shrinking, which can occur with solid hardwood. The layers are bonded together with adhesive and pressure, creating a strong and durable product that resembles solid hardwood.

No 02: Appearance

You’ll be surprised to know that engineered hardwood is known to increase the value of your home by up to 2.5%, due to its authentic and convincing appearance of real wood.

The top layer of genuine hardwood in engineered hardwood flooring provides a natural and realistic look that can enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of your home.

On the other hand, laminate flooring simulates the look of wood but may not be as convincing or natural as engineered hardwood.

Although laminate flooring has improved in appearance over the years, it still needs the texture and depth of real hardwood. Also, laminate flooring can appear artificial or fake, especially when viewed up close. In terms of appearance, engineered hardwood is a superior choice to laminate flooring.

No 03: Water Resistance

Regarding water resistance, it’s important to consider the type of flooring that best suits your needs and lifestyle. Laminate flooring has better surface water resistance compared to engineered hardwood due to its top wear layer that helps protect it from water damage.

However, it’s important to note that excessive water exposure can still cause swelling or warping in both types of flooring.

Laminate flooring’s water resistance is due to its layered structure. The bottom layer is made of high-density fiberboard (HDF), which is treated to be water-resistant.

The HDF layer is then covered with a high-resolution photographic layer that mimics the appearance of natural wood and a clear top wear layer that provides scratch and water resistance.

On the other hand, engineered hardwood’s water resistance is dependent on the quality of its finish. A high-quality finish can provide good water resistance, while a low-quality finish can lead to water damage.

No 04: Durability

Compared to laminate flooring, engineered hardwood is generally more durable and can have a lifespan of 30 years or more with proper care and maintenance. This is because engineered hardwood is made of layers of real wood that are pressed together, creating a strong and stable flooring option.

In addition to its construction, engineered hardwood is also more resistant to scratches and dents than laminate flooring. This is because the top layer of engineered hardwood is made of a solid wood veneer that can be sanded and refinished multiple times.

On the other hand, laminate flooring is made of a printed image of wood that is sealed with a protective layer. This protective layer can be easily scratched or damaged, leaving the laminate flooring looking worn and outdated.

No 05: Installation

Laminate flooring is typically easier to install as a DIY project due to its click-lock or glueless installation system. This means you can easily install laminate flooring yourself without needing professional help.

On the other hand, engineered hardwood may require professional installation as it often needs to be nailed, glued, or stapled down to the subfloor. This requires expertise and tools that may need to be more readily available to the average homeowner.

While it may be possible to install engineered hardwood yourself, it is important to note that any mistakes during installation can lead to costly repairs in the future. Therefore, it’s recommended to hire a professional for this type of installation.

No 06: Cost

Typically, laminate flooring is more affordable than engineered hardwood due to the materials used in their construction. Laminate flooring consists of a high-density fiberboard core with a printed image of wood grain on top and a protective layer of clear melamine resin.

On the other hand, engineered hardwood consists of a real hardwood veneer on top of a plywood base. The price of mm laminate flooring can range from around $0.50 to $5 per square foot, while engineered hardwood can range from around $3 to $14 per square foot.

No 07: Refinishing

To keep your floors looking like new for years to come, you’ll be glad to know that you can regularly sand and refinish engineered hardwood over its lifespan.

This means that if your floor becomes scratched or worn down, you can simply have it sanded and refinished instead of having to replace the entire floor.

This is a great advantage over laminate flooring, which cannot be refinished. Once the wear layer is damaged on a laminate floor, the entire plank needs to be replaced.

Refinishing your engineered hardwood floor can actually extend its lifespan and save you money in the long run. As you sand away the top layer of the floor, you’re removing any scratches or imperfections and exposing a fresh layer of wood.

This fresh layer can then be stained or sealed, giving your floor a brand-new look. Refinishing your floors every 7-10 years is recommended, depending on the amount of foot traffic they receive.

No 08: Comfort and Feel

With its softer and more flexible feel, walking on engineered hardwood is like strolling on a cloud. This type of flooring is designed to mimic the texture and warmth of traditional hardwood floors but with a more comfortable underfoot feel. 

The engineered construction of this flooring allows for more give, which can be especially beneficial for those who spend extended periods of time on their feet.

On the other hand, laminate flooring tends to feel more rigid and firm underfoot. While some people may find this to be uncomfortable, others appreciate the stability and support that this type of flooring provides.

Additionally, laminate flooring is often designed to have a textured surface that can add to its overall feel and aesthetic.

No 09: Resale Value

When selling your house, engineered hardwood has a higher resale value than its competitors. The authenticity and durability of real hardwood are often more desirable to potential buyers.

Engineered hardwood is made up of multiple layers of real wood, making it more durable and long-lasting compared to laminate flooring, which is made up of synthetic materials. Additionally, engineered hardwood can be sanded and refinished multiple times, allowing it to maintain its beauty and functionality for years to come.

In contrast, laminate flooring cannot be sanded or refinished and will need to be replaced entirely if damaged. This means that potential buyers may see laminate flooring as a temporary solution rather than a long-term investment.

No 10: Maintenance

Maintaining the beauty and longevity of your hardwood or laminate requires a delicate touch and regular attention, as even the slightest neglect can lead to costly repairs or replacements.

For laminate flooring, it’s important to regularly sweep or vacuum with a soft brush attachment to avoid scratching.

Occasional damp mopping with a specialized cleaner is also recommended, but it’s important to avoid using excessive water as it can seep into the seams and cause damage. Spills should be cleaned up immediately to prevent any moisture from penetrating the planks.

Engineered hardwood requires similar care, with regular sweeping and vacuuming to prevent dirt and debris from scratching the surface.

However, it’s important to note that engineered hardwood is more susceptible to moisture damage than laminate flooring. Therefore, it’s essential to avoid using excessive water when cleaning and to wipe up spills immediately.

Additionally, it’s recommended to use a specialized cleaner specifically designed for engineered hardwood to prevent any damage to the finish.

No 11: Thickness

To ensure your flooring’s stability and durability, consider the thickness of your choice. Regarding thickness, 12mm laminate flooring is a standardized option that provides a reliable level of durability.

This thickness makes it more resistant to wear and tear, which is particularly useful for high-traffic areas in your home or office. Additionally, the thicker the laminate, the better the sound insulation and the more comfortable it is underfoot.

On the other hand, engineered hardwood can vary in thickness, with some options ranging from 3/8 to 3/4 of an inch. The thickness of engineered hardwood is typically determined by the number of layers it has, which can influence its durability and stability.

However, a thicker plank does not necessarily mean it will last longer, as the quality of the materials used also plays a significant role.

No 12: Value Perception

As mentioned earlier, engineered hardwood is generally considered to be a higher-quality and more valuable choice compared to laminate. This is due to its authentic wood appearance, durability, and longevity.

However, it’s important to note that value perception is subjective and can vary depending on the individual. While some homebuyers may prioritize the authentic look and durability of engineered hardwood, others may be more concerned with cost and the ease of installation that laminate provides.

Ultimately, the value perception of laminate versus engineered hardwood will depend on the needs and preferences of the individual buyer.

Comparison Table between 12mm Laminate Flooring and Engineered Hardwood

Criteria12mm Laminate FlooringEngineered Hardwood
ConstructionMan-made material with HDF core, photographic layer, and wear layerThin layer of real hardwood bonded to plywood or HDF layers
AppearanceSimulates wood, may not be as realisticMore authentic and convincing wood appearance
Water ResistanceMore resistant to surface water damageLess resistant to water damage, can swell or warp with excessive water exposure
DurabilityTypically lasts 10-20 yearsCan last 30+ years with proper care
InstallationEasier DIY installation with click-lock or glue less systemOften requires professional installation, nail-down, glue-down, or staple-down
CostGenerally more affordableUsually higher cost compared to laminate
RefinishingCannot be refinishedCan be sanded and refinished multiple times
Comfort and FeelCan flex more underfootFeels harder underfoot
Resale ValuePerceived as less valuablePerceived as higher quality, better resale value
MaintenanceDelicate cleaning, no wet moppingDelicate cleaning, no wet mopping
ThicknessStandardized thickness of 12mmVaries, typically 3/8 to 3/4 inch (9.5mm to 19mm)
Value PerceptionSeen as less valuable by some home buyersPerceived as higher quality and value

How to tell if the floor is laminate or engineered hardwood?

How to tell if the floor is laminate or engineered hardwood

If you want to distinguish between laminate and engineered hardwood flooring, you can play a game of spotting the difference, like trying to identify which cookie is oatmeal raisin and which is chocolate chip.

Laminate flooring is made from compressed wood particles and has a photographic layer that replicates the look of the wood grain. The repeating pattern of the photographic layer is a dead giveaway that the floor is laminate.

If you look closely, you’ll notice that the wood grain on each board is identical to the one next to it. Additionally, laminate flooring is typically thinner than engineered hardwood flooring.

In contrast, engineered hardwood is made from real wood veneers that are glued together with a backing layer. Unlike laminate flooring, every board of engineered hardwood is unique because it is made from real wood.

The natural variations in the wood grain give it an authentic look that is difficult to replicate with laminate. Additionally, engineered hardwood flooring is thicker and more durable than laminate flooring.

Is 12mm laminate too thick?

At 12 millimeters thick, this type of laminate feels substantial and sturdy underfoot, like walking on a solid wood slab. This thickness provides a more realistic wood-like feel and reduces the potential for creaking and shifting that can occur with thinner laminates.

Additionally, thicker laminate can offer better sound insulation, making it a desirable choice for multi-level homes or apartments. However, it’s important to note that thicker laminate may require additional subfloor preparation to ensure its level and debris-free. This can add to the overall cost of installation.

Also, some homeowners may find that the thickness of 12-mm laminate can make it difficult to install in tight spaces or around doorways.

12mm Laminate or Engineered Hardwood: Which Is Best?

The decision between 12mm laminate flooring and engineered hardwood should be based on your specific needs and preferences. If you’re looking for an affordable option that resembles the look of hardwood, 12mm laminate flooring is a great choice. It’s durable and easy to maintain, making it ideal for high-traffic areas. 

However, if you want natural wood’s authentic look and feel, engineered hardwood offers added durability and stability. It’s important to carefully consider your options and make an informed decision, as your flooring choice sets the foundation for your entire home.

You can enjoy beautiful and functional flooring for years with the right choice. So take your time, do your research, and choose wisely. Your home and your feet will thank you.

12mm Laminate Flooring vs Engineered Hardwood: 12 Crucial Differences

Leave a Reply

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

Scroll to top