I am buying a brand new house. And today I had a conversation with the builder about the hardwood in it. He told me that the floor in the house was a "Laminate Hardwood 5'' hand scraped".

I googled this but could not find anything like that. I was always get redirected to the "Engineered hardwood" websites ? What is the difference between the "Laminate hardwood" and "Engineered hardwood" floor ? Are they the same ? I know this is not just a simple laminate . It looks like hard wood, but it has a really flat texture and feel

I am really confused. Please help me understand the difference if any

Here is the picture I took

enter image description here


  • I had come across the below video link, which try to give a good insight on the difference between sold, engineered and laminated hardwood. youtube.com/watch?v=WxdZeYeIkhs. I hope it gives some usefult info.
    – shri
    Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 8:42
  • This answer might be helpful.
    – Tester101
    Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 13:10

3 Answers 3


From https://www.woodandbeyond.com/blog/engineered-vs-laminate-flooring-which-is-better/:

Engineered wood flooring

Engineered wood flooring is a man made product that is made from natural materials. Commonly made up of layers of ply that are bonded together, engineered wood flooring is always topped off with a layer of solid wood. This layer of solid wood is called the lamella or top layer and it’s thanks to this solid wood finish that engineered wood looks so convincingly like solid wood.

Engineered wood flooring has the advantage over solid wood that its stable structure means that it is much more resistant to expansion and contraction than solid wood. What this means is that it can safely be fitted in rooms where temperature and moisture fluctuations are significant, like bathrooms and kitchens. Engineered wood flooring can also be installed over under floor heating.

Laminate flooring

Laminate flooring on the other hand is a synthetic, man-made product that is made up of various layers that are fused together using a lamination process. Laminate flooring is a relatively recent addition to the range of flooring options available on the market and made its first appearance in the late 1970s. It originally launched as a competitor to vinyl flooring. Made up of typically five (or fewer layers), laminate flooring can be made to look like any material the manufacturer wants, because effectively the layer which makes up the image is just that, an image.

Laminate flooring is the cheaper (and generally lower quality) of the two.

  • This definition of laminate flooring is more of what was around in the 80-90s. This isn't necessarily true of newer laminates, both of how it is made and price. Many of the high in laminates that you see now are made almost exactly like engineered flooring except for the top couple layers.
    – DMoore
    Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 17:13

There is no such thing as laminate hardwood. He was simply using incorrect terminology. There is engineered hardwood and laminate. You can have laminate that looks like hardwood but it isn't call laminate hardwood. If there were a product called laminate hardwood then it would have laminated pictures on top of hardwood - this simply doesn't exist because it is a dumb idea.

Both Engineered flooring and laminate have a couple of shared characteristics:

  • Most can be floated or glued down
  • Most require underlayment/padding
  • Most are suitable to install over concrete/hard surfaces
  • Most are cheaper than traditional hardwood
  • Most come with a prefinished top layer
  • There is tons of variety in thickness of each.

They differ:

  • Laminate is more likely to have a built in pad/underlayment
  • Laminate is just a picture on top of the board with a laminated top over the picture, hence the name laminate.
  • Laminate has more varieties of material under the top layer. I have seen this vary from MDF, to cork, to rubber, to other wood by products.
  • Engineered flooring almost always has a wood core. The really cheap ones are MDF and the high quality ones are layered wood.
  • Engineered flooring has a wooden skin on it. This top layer is usually rather thin - anywhere from 2-10mm - but the fact is you could give an area super light sanding and the wood would still be there.
  • Engineered flooring has a poly layer on top, not laminated layer.

I would just assume yours is laminate based on the wording. A laminate made to look like hardwood.


I don't know if this is a hard-and-fast rule, but in general:

Engineered = real wood top layer

Laminate = top layer is printed (paper or other material) to look like real wood.

Laminate is usually cheaper.

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