Engineered wood has become a popular choice for flooring with many homeowners, even though there are many other flooring options. However, there a few questions to be asked about engineered wood such as what it is, if it is as good as solid wood flooring, how it compares to other types of wood and engineered wood flooring pros and cons. These need to be addressed before choosing it so that homeowners can go for the best option.
Engineered wood has 3-12 multiple layers, which are cross-layered, glued and pressed together. The top layer is comprised of a hardwood veneer layer, while the inner core layer is comprised of hardwood or softwood ply material. Engineered hardwood can be of any wood species. Therefore it comes in a wide variety of domestic as well as exotic hardwood species. On average it lasts for 20-30 years depending on the traffic it bears.
Pros: What are the benefits?
Mentioned below are some of the significant benefits of having engineered hardwood flooring installed in your home.
- Resistance to moisture: Compared to solid wood flooring this wood has a greater resistance to moisture. This means that you can install it in your basement or if you live in a region of high humidity your home will greatly benefit.
- Resale value: If you have installed a quality engineered hardwood floor, then you can expect a good resale value. It should be about 3/4 of the value of solid wood flooring.
- Price: One of the major advantages of installing engineered hardwood floor in your home is that it costs much less than any other solid wood floor. For example, oak, pine or walnut wood flooring is very expensive. It is definitely the most cost effective solution.
- Available in a wide array of widths: Engineered hardwood floors are available from 3-7 inches in width with a thickness ranging from 3/8” to ¾”.
- Durability: This flooring can last for 20-30 years. However, if you purchase one that has a 2-6 inch thick layer, it will last for 40-100 years, but this option will be expensive.
- Green: If you buy engineered wood flooring, it helps the environment by conserving the more expensive species of exotic wood.
- You can cover other floor coverings: As long as the other floor covering is a hard surface, you can install engineered flooring. You can also glue it onto a concrete floor.
- Easy installation: Installing engineered wood is easy and you can actually do it yourself. Just follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Can they be sanded or refinished? Good quality engineered floors can be refinished and sanded if you want to.
Cons: What should be your concerns?
- What will the traffic be like? If you need to lay this floor on a heavy traffic area, then you will need a thick wear layer, which means you will have to invest more money.
- Damage by pets: Hardwood floors are pretty resistant to damage by pets. However, engineered hardwood floors are not as good. If you have pets, then installing hardwood floors such as hickory floor is probably a better option.
- Subfloor: A concrete subfloor will work best with engineered.
- Border of the floor: If you want your floor to have a beautiful border, then go for unfinished hardwood flooring.
Once you know the pros and cons of engineered wood flooring you should also know how it differs from solid hardwood flooring in order to make an informed decision.
Engineered Hardwood vs. Solid Hardwood Flooring
There are two general choices you have when it comes to hardwood flooring: one being engineered hardwood and its competitor being solid hardwood. Each of these options is composed of only real wood; however, the development process and characteristics of the wood varies. Use of the two types depends on several factors, from personal preference to situational benefits.
Solid wood flooring is measured at a thickness of ¾ inch. Installing the flooring usually includes it being nailed to a plywood subfloor. One of the benefits of this option (and why it has remained popular among homeowners) is that it can be sanded and refinished multiple times. This is not the case for engineered hardwood flooring which usually only has the ability to be re-sanded and refinished twice.
One of the downsides for solid flooring is that this option is extremely sensitive to humidity. Think of it as a chunk of tree. Trees, in their habitat, absorb water and this causes the wood to swell. The same effect will happen when it is used for floors.
Engineered wood is a result of bound together wood products being brought together by their strands, particles and fibers. Since engineered floors are more layered, with a more complex composition than solid wood flooring, they offer durability in humid conditions. No layer has the ability to expand or retract in a way that is significant to the overall floor. With this being the case, these floors are more suitable for multiple areas in the house.
Not only are they more suitable for any room in the house, they also have more options for installment. In addition to possibly nailing the flooring to the subfloor, it can also be glued, which some consider an easier process. It entirely depends on your home and what you prefer, but the general consensus is that engineered wood provides ample flexibility in installation and is the choice of many builders. You’ll generally find engineered wood flooring in areas that fluctuate in heat.
Engineered flooring is usually a product bought directly from factory, which allows a factory finish that includes aluminum oxide. The list of engineered wood flooring pros and cons is extensive but this is basically one tough crystal that increases the time of warranty by years compared to solid flooring.