Engineered Flooring Vs Laminate Flooring

Hi there,

We have a technical question from the association: Can Laminate flooring be called “Prefinished Engineered Flooring”? We have received a contract agreement with one condo developer and they have used the term “Prefinished Engineered Flooring” instead of Laminate flooring in their contract and the company that is providing Laminate flooring is certified under NALFA. we were wondering if this term is correct or it can NOT be used under “Prefinished Engineered Flooring”?

Thank you very much for your help

Sia Madieh
Director of Interior Design

Home Inspectors tend to use the generic term of “Laminated Wood Flooring” or similar, whereas Manufacturers now like to use the ‘fancy’ term “Prefinished Engineered Flooring”.

So, to answer your question… "Can Laminate flooring be called “Prefinished Engineered Flooring”? Yes, it can, but the real question is “should it”?

In your instance of a ‘contract’, I would be certain to require specific terminology as both terms are vague at best, leaving the final installed product up to the discretion of the installer (wood, plastic, resin, etc.).

Hope that helped.

Hi Jeffrey,

Thank you for your reply, but I believe you misunderstood me. you sent me a link that refers to “Engineered Wood Flooring” . this product is different than “Laminate”. As you know, Engineered wood flooring is real wood veneer glued to layers underneath it, but Laminate is NOT real wood. Laminate is only an image of the wood and it doesn’t relate to the link you sent me.

This means that probably we can NOT use “Prefinished Engineered Flooring” for Laminate cause Laminate doesn’t have to be finished since it’s NOT wood and it’s only an image.

Anybody else can comment on this??


if you have received a “contract agreement” it should have specifications wherein the exact material to be used is listed by manufacturer and model/name or description.

Or, ask for clarification from the developer as to what exactly is wanted.

Prefinished engineered flooring, what does that mean? It could be any kind of manufactured flooring designed by someone calling themselves an ‘engineer’, which also means nothing by itself. I believe that is what’s called a weasel clause. If your association has signed I suppose you are stuck with it, if you haven’t signed, change it to what you want.

I’m not so sure that Laminate Flooring could be considered Prefinished Engineered Flooring, simply because when you google “Prefinished Engineered Flooring” you only get hits for Hardwood Flooring, and nowhere in the results is Laminate Flooring mentioned. Meaning, there is a general impression that “PEF” represents hardwood.

Furthermore, here’s an installation guide for Prefinished Engineered Flooring: As you can see, it quickly talks about hardwood, and the installation methods differ from how you would install a Laminate Floor.

Unless the contract specifically states the name of the product they’re going to install, I believe you may have a case in your favour. Otherwise, with such hazy terminology, it would really be up to the courts to decide what is correct- Usually the courts would side with whoever has the better lawyer in these instances.

PS. I’m only replying here because Sia decided to email everyone on InspectorSeek.