Is Engineered Hardwood Flooring The Right Flooring For You?
Engineered hardwood flooring has been all the rage in the industry as of late. Have you ever considered if it is right for you? Coming to a decision about flooring is a large task to oversee. But if you read this article you will have enough information to find out if this flooring is good for you, your home, and your family. My goal is to make this decision easy, for you to consider, so without further adieu let us jump right into it.
What is engineered hardwood flooring exactly?
Engineered hardwood is a different kind of wood flooring. Unlike solid hardwood flooring it is not made of a single strip or plank of wood. It is comprised of layers or plies, of real wood that has been glued and pressed together. The top layer is called the veneer wear layer, and is standard hardwood that comes in a large variety of species and finishes.
Many people associate the word “engineered” as it relates to flooring as “laminate wood.” This is so off the mark that it is not even funny. Laminate contains plastics and it is made to imitate the look of real wood flooring by laminating a photograph of real wood onto the surface of composite wood materials.
Does it come in the same sizes as solid hardwood flooring?
Absolutely, but you are a little more limited in thickness. Engineered hard wood boards will vary from 3 to 7 inches in width and from 3/8” to ¾” when it comes to thickness. The thickness depends on the number of the layers of plies as well as the thickness of the top wear layer. Keep in mind that the thinner the thickness on the top wear layer, the less of a lifespan the floors will have. Also if the wear layer is incredibly thin, and I’m talking under 1mm thick it will not be able to be refinished and will last maybe 30 years, but a thicker wear layer can be refinished multiple times and has a lifespan that can possible reach 80 years.
The Benefits of having engineered hardwood flooring are numerous:
- Offering the same durability, strength, and looks of solid hardwood. With the right amount of care it may even outlast solid hardwood.
- It is a lot more moisture resistant because of its plied construction that allows the wood to expand and contract more freely as the level of temperature and humidity fluctuates.
- Incredibly versatile as far as where you can put it in your home. It can be installed on, above, or below grade level.
- It is structurally more sound. This means it will not bow, warp or gap, unlike solid wood flooring.
- More environmentally friendly than that of solid wood.
- Installation is much more easily done, because it can be installed directly over concrete or subfloors. You can glue, staple, use an adhesive bed, or use tongue and groove system to install.
- Finish is usually pre-applied by the manufacturer. This is great because it usually last a lot longer than when it is applied on-site finish like with solid hardwood flooring.
There are a few downsides that you should consider:
- Even though engineered woods are more moisture resistant they are not moisture proof. More than a 4% change in moisture could possible affect the length of the boards and can cause the ends to lift or gap.
- Seasonal changes can make the veneer layer crack. However the cracks are covered and unnoticeable after finish is applied, but they can still appear during these changes in moisture and temperature.
As with all products, you can choose a high and a low end quality. But with that being said, even if you go with the high end, you will typically still come out cheaper than that of solid hardwood flooring. If you really want hardwood and it is out of your budget, go for a similar engineered wood, because it will still look just a great while coming with added quality.
It is also a better option for basements because it will not suffer as much due to the high humidity. And if you love to save money by DIY, you will not be able to say no to these floors, because you will not have very much trouble installing yourself.
I hope that this shed some light on figuring out if engineered hardwood flooring is right for you and your home. Until next time, Happy Flooring!