As Realtors, we hear this question all the time. Thank you, John, for sharing this article with us. In my home, I have engineered hardwood, and the difference is barely detectable. Here is an excellent description of the various types of flooring commonly found in homes.
I have a Virginia Beach Foreclosure listing and have been holding Open Houses quite regularly. One question I always get is "are the floors hardwood, laminate or engineered hardwood"? I have had many different opinions on what they were, but without tearing up a piece to to inspect it, I was not sure myself. So today I went to the local home improvement store and I found it. There it was - Scraped Maple Engineered Hardwood. Beautiful! So you might be asking "What is the difference between these floors"? Here are the definitions:
Laminate Flooring: It is a surface layer of two thin sheets of paper impregnated with melamine. The surface layer is a photograph of wood grain, not real wood, and is covered by a hard transparent layer which is impervious to most things. Underneath the top layers is about a 1/2 inch of wood composite materials. This type of floor can't be sanded.
Hardwood Flooring: As the name implies, this type of flooring is solid wood all the way through. It is similar to any other piece of lumber that is cut from the log. This type of floor comes either finished or unfinished and has to be nailed to the sub-floor. Hardwood flooring can be sanded and refinished numerous times to extend it's life for decades.
Engineered Hardwood: Engineered Hardwood is basically a sandwich between real wood and and plywood and is a great alternative to hardwood flooring. The plywood underneath is about 80-90% of the floor. This type of floor stands up well to areas with light moisture - basements and bathrooms. It can be either nailed down to the sub-floor or it can be installed as a floating floor which expands the range of uses for this type of floor. Since the top layer is only 1/16" to 1/8" it can only be sanded once or twice.
Now you know the difference between these three types of floors. Which one is your favorite and why??
Keller Williams Realty
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