# Laminate vs Engineered Hardwood in a house with dogs

6,642 1,313 May 13, 2016 at 01:11 PM
We're remodeling our house and replacing the existing carpets / laminate flooring.

We are torn between laminate or engineered hardwood. We found a laminate we *really* like and it's only $2.50 per sq foot (plus install). Engineered hardwood floors would be$2 - $4 more expensive per sq foot ($5 - $7 before install). We're covering an area of around 1800 sq feet (bedrooms, single great room - living room / dining room / kitchen all in a single space so we should use the same flooring or it will look funny), so it will be a large area. I heard engineered hardwood is better (looks better, can be refinished, etc), but it also scratches more easily with pets. We have 2 dogs and family/friends will bring their dog(s) over from time to time, and the dogs do have long nails that can scratch floors over time. So I'm torn. Go with the cheaper laminate floor that looks nice (and more durable), or go with the engineered hardwood floor that may require more maintenance, but may look nicer and will add more value to the house in the long run? What do you all think? Any other pro's con's to be aware of? ### 20 Comments 1 2 Sign up for a Slickdeals account to remove this ad. This comment has been rated as unhelpful by Slickdeals users Joined Dec 2008 L10: Grand Master 6,096 Posts 2,415 Reputation #2  Quote from cheap_bastid : We're remodeling our house and replacing the existing carpets / laminate flooring. We are torn between laminate or engineered hardwood. We found a laminate we *really* like and it's only$2.50 per sq foot (plus install). Engineered hardwood floors would be $2 -$4 more expensive per sq foot ($5 -$7 before install). We're covering an area of around 1800 sq feet (bedrooms, single great room - living room / dining room / kitchen all in a single space so we should use the same flooring or it will look funny), so it will be a large area. I heard engineered hardwood is better (looks better, can be refinished, etc), but it also scratches more easily with pets. We have 2 dogs and family/friends will bring their dog(s) over from time to time, and the dogs do have long nails that can scratch floors over time. So I'm torn. Go with the cheaper laminate floor that looks nice (and more durable), or go with the engineered hardwood floor that may require more maintenance, but may look nicer and will add more value to the house in the long run? What do you all think? Any other pro's con's to be aware of?
With pets, traditional solid hardwood would be better. It will get scratched but you have lot more material to work with when you refinish in the future. Their are likely to be some sales around memorial day.

It's a toss up between engineered and laminate.
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 Quote from jkee : With pets, traditional solid hardwood would be better. It will get scratched but you have lot more material to work with when you refinish in the future. Their are likely to be some sales around memorial day. It's a toss up between engineered and laminate.
True, but it would be a pain to refinish as you still have to move furniture around, deal with the sanding (noise / dust), chemicals to refinish, etc., right?

That being the case, it may make more sense to install laminate and then rip / replace 10 - 20 years later without the need to refinish / maintain hardwood? Not sure though if I've considered everything...
Last edited by cheap_bastid May 13, 2016 at 01:32 PM.
cheap, fast, good - pick any two.

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If you do not plan on moving anytime soon and are not picky about a few scratches here and there, then long term the engineered hardwood will add value to your home when you do sell and you would only have to deal with refinishing when you sell or when it gets really banged up. Some are better at being refinished than others though so you need to check on that. If on the other hand your dogs will scratch it a lot forcing you to resurface often, then it is not worth it.

I would go with real hardwood though if you can afford it\it is not below grade. Laminate is viewed as cheap and will not add value to your home. Engineered hardwood is great but you only can resurface a couple of times in many cases and it sounds like it really would not be an ideal fit.
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 Quote from YanksIn2009 : If you do not plan on moving anytime soon and are not picky about a few scratches here and there, then long term the engineered hardwood will add value to your home when you do sell and you would only have to deal with refinishing when you sell or when it gets really banged up. Some are better at being refinished than others though so you need to check on that. If on the other hand your dogs will scratch it a lot forcing you to resurface often, then it is not worth it. I would go with real hardwood though if you can afford it\it is not below grade. Laminate is viewed as cheap and will not add value to your home. Engineered hardwood is great but you only can resurface a couple of times in many cases and it sounds like it really would not be an ideal fit.
Yes that's the quandary.

I'm not sure how much how much hardwood floors would add to the value of a house, since it costs more to begin with, is it going to add more value than what it cost to put in? If that's the case then it's a no-brainer.

But if we save money on laminate and it's ok, and doesn't detract from the value of the house, and doesn't increase the value, is that ok as well?

I'm really confused and torn on this.
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 Quote from cheap_bastid : True, but it would be a pain to refinish as you still have to move furniture around, deal with the sanding (noise / dust), chemicals to refinish, etc., right? That being the case, it may make more sense to install laminate and then rip / replace 10 - 20 years later without the need to refinish / maintain hardwood? Not sure though if I've considered everything...
The sanders they use have really good filtration. You can run a hepa filter at the same time if you want, but dust is really pretty minimal. The stains and finishes used today are low odor and low voc.

It does cost a bit more but solid oak gets my vote. There are other woods like bamboo too. Last time I ran the numbers between nice carpet, hardwood, and tile with installation the prices weren't actually that different. They are cheaper lower quality and diy options for all of these.

Overall a wood floor looks good longer than carpet. A lot of laminate has kind of a dull sheen that doesn't look great. If you're playing the real estate card, most people won't pay attention to solid vs engineered as long as it looks good. You can get prefinished solid hardwood or the unfinished. The unfinished comes in different quality grades, the lower quality ones have a lot of imperfections you have to fill before you sand and finish. If you want to DIY the install I'd go for prefinished, and watch sales memorial day and 4th of july often a time for very good sales on flooring.
Last edited by jkee May 13, 2016 at 02:25 PM.
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I agree with all points jkee hit on. Consider red oak flooring, its classy and durable. Get a roomba, and hit the floors with quickshine every now and again.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B007TSJLCE
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 Quote from jkee : The sanders they use have really good filtration. You can run a hepa filter at the same time if you want, but dust is really pretty minimal. The stains and finishes used today are low odor and low voc. It does cost a bit more but solid oak gets my vote. There are other woods like bamboo too. Last time I ran the numbers between nice carpet, hardwood, and tile with installation the prices weren't actually that different. They are cheaper lower quality and diy options for all of these. Overall a wood floor looks good longer than carpet. A lot of laminate has kind of a dull sheen that doesn't look great. If you're playing the real estate card, most people won't pay attention to solid vs engineered as long as it looks good. You can get prefinished solid hardwood or the unfinished. The unfinished comes in different quality grades, the lower quality ones have a lot of imperfections you have to fill before you sand and finish. If you want to DIY the install I'd go for prefinished, and watch sales memorial day and 4th of july often a time for very good sales on flooring.
Great to know... thanks for the tons of useful info!!

We have to re-do the floor before memorial day / summer unfortunately as we have guests and holiday plans for the summer. I'll be taking a close look at hardwood / engineered hardwood at the stores again.

 Quote from cruizerfish : I agree with all points jkee hit on. Consider red oak flooring, its classy and durable. Get a roomba, and hit the floors with quickshine every now and again. http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B007TSJLCE
Thanks. I have a small portion of the house with hardwood... it had carpet on it when we purchased the house. When we pulled off the carpet we saw the hardwood floors...

It's not perfect and lots of wear, but it's ok for now I suppose... thanks.
Last edited by cheap_bastid May 13, 2016 at 03:42 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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 Quote from cheap_bastid : Thanks. I have a small portion of the house with hardwood... it had carpet on it when we purchased the house. When we pulled off the carpet we saw the hardwood floors... It's not perfect and lots of wear, but it's ok for now I suppose... thanks.
Most welcome. You'll be surprised how well they refinish after decades of neglect. one more thing to consider, your SO will want area rugs no doubt. Be sure to factor that into costs!
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If you go with hardwood, pick a truly hard wood. Regardless of what you choose keeping the dogs' nails trimmed is the best way to preserve the floors. Clipping them is great, but if your dogs will tolerate it and you don't mind spending the time Dremel'ing their nails (sanding wheel, speed 3 or 4 on something like the Dremel 8100) keeps them really flat.
Last edited by ManUpOrShutUp May 13, 2016 at 06:45 PM.
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 Quote from cheap_bastid : Great to know... thanks for the tons of useful info!! We have to re-do the floor before memorial day / summer unfortunately as we have guests and holiday plans for the summer. I'll be taking a close look at hardwood / engineered hardwood at the stores again.
Their could be some deals as soon as next week. Around me, the hardwood floor contractor widely regarded as the best books jobs 3-4 months in advance. You might have a hard time getting somebody to install flooring that quickly. I'd watch prices at lowes and lumber liquidators closely as I've seen better prices there than most places. Also at many stores flooring may be a special order item often with 1-2 weeks before it's delivered / available for pickup. Your choices will be much more limited if you're in a hurry. And the wood generally needs to acclimate for a week or two before it can be installed.
 Quote from ManUpOrShutUp : If you go with hardwood, pick a truly hard wood. Regardless of what you choose keeping the dogs' nails trimmed is the best way to preserve the floors. Clipping them is great, but if your dogs will tolerate it and you don't mind spending the time Dremel'ing their nails (sanding wheel, speed 3 or 3 on something like the Dremel 8100) keeps them really flat.
Taking them for long walks on concrete paths after clipping can help file them too.
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 Quote from jkee : Their could be some deals as soon as next week. Around me, the hardwood floor contractor widely regarded as the best books jobs 3-4 months in advance. You might have a hard time getting somebody to install flooring that quickly. I'd watch prices at lowes and lumber liquidators closely as I've seen better prices there than most places. Also at many stores flooring may be a special order item often with 1-2 weeks before it's delivered / available for pickup. Your choices will be much more limited if you're in a hurry. And the wood generally needs to acclimate for a week or two before it can be installed. Taking them for long walks on concrete paths after clipping can help file them too.
Nice, thanks!!

 Quote from ManUpOrShutUp : If you go with hardwood, pick a truly hard wood. Regardless of what you choose keeping the dogs' nails trimmed is the best way to preserve the floors. Clipping them is great, but if your dogs will tolerate it and you don't mind spending the time Dremel'ing their nails (sanding wheel, speed 3 or 4 on something like the Dremel 8100) keeps them really flat.
Good points, thanks!
Last edited by cheap_bastid May 13, 2016 at 08:21 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Dogs will scratch hardwood and Engineered Hardwood. Their claws dig out the softer wood between grain

They won't scratch the laminate

The hardwood scratch is more of a problem around certain areas. Most affected area is the landing at bottom of steps.
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 Quote from stufine : Dogs will scratch hardwood and Engineered Hardwood. Their claws dig out the softer wood between grain They won't scratch the laminate The hardwood scratch is more of a problem around certain areas. Most affected area is the landing at bottom of steps.
Agreed. I've noticed that in the existing flooring. They say today's laminate flooring has improved a ton in the last 5-10 years, and are a lot better than the stuff in the past.
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I used a product called cortech plus xl (9 inch vinyl planks with cork backing). Has held up for 10 months with two large in door hound dogs with not one scratch on the floor.
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