We’ve all heard of hardwood flooring. Of all the available kinds of flooring out there, hardwood flooring is not only one of the most recognizable but also one of the oldest in existence.
Hardwood flooring is also known for being one of the most visually impressive floors in existence.
You’ll recognize any hardwood floor almost immediately. The way this kind of floor looks and feels are a signature feature of any hardwood floor.
There is a reason why hardwood floors are still in high demand despite the fact that require the most maintenance among the available kinds of flooring.
If maintained regularly and properly, hardwood floors can last forever. That can’t be said for their vinyl plank, ceramic, or linoleum counterparts. If you do everything right, you will never need to replace a standard hardwood floor.
The quality and popularity of a standard hardwood floor has been well established and anybody who is willing to spend the time and money on maintaining one should definitely install one.
- What, then, is engineered hardwood flooring?
- What makes it different than traditional hardwood flooring?
- What are the best aspects about it?
- What are some things to watch for?
All of those questions will be answered as the pros and cons of engineered hardwood flooring will be explored.
Before exploring these pros and cons, it is a good idea to understand exactly what engineered hardwood flooring is and what makes it so different from traditional hardwood flooring.
What is engineered hardwood flooring?
Before exploring the good and bad aspects of engineered hardwood flooring, it is a good idea to understand exactly what engineered hardwood flooring is and what makes it different than traditional hardwood.
Knowing this will give you an even clearer picture of the pros and cons of engineered hardwood flooring to the point where you will be able to notice them without a lot of effort if you decide to get engineered hardwood flooring installed.
Traditional hardwood flooring, otherwise known as solid hardwood flooring, is pretty simple to understand. It comprises of wooden planks that are fitted on top of a subfloor. Coating is then applied to these planks to protect it from impact as well as provide a luster or solid finish, depending on what is requested.
Solid hardwood is also cut from exactly one piece of wood to make the planks. They are usually three quarters of an inch in thickness, can be sanded many times, and are available in a variety of designs and styles.
Engineered hardwood flooring is comprised of thin slices of hardwood that are anywhere from three eighths to half an inch in thickness that are placed on top of a subfloor that is made of plywood. This is what gives them the name “engineered hardwood flooring.”
They are “engineered” in that there is a little more of a system involved in their installation. This may lead one to believe that this makes installation a little more difficult compared to solid hardwood flooring, but this system actually makes installation a little easier.
The major difference between solid hardwood and engineered hardwood has to do with the surface. While they both use the same kinds of wood, the wood is used differently in their installation.
This major difference writes the entire narrative that describes the good and bad aspects of engineered hardwood flooring. They will all go back to this major difference.
Because engineered hardwood flooring come in different thickness sizes, you’ll need to know the pros and cons of engineered hardwood flooring and see how these relate to the thickness size you are looking for.
Now that you know this background information about engineered hardwood flooring, it is now time to explore some of the good and bad aspects of engineered hardwood flooring.
Remember that when analyzing these good and bad aspects, you need to keep the varying thickness levels that engineered hardwood flooring in mind. These will affect the intensity of these good and bad aspects and how they relate to your decision.
Installation is much easier with engineered hardwood flooring
Because solid hardwood flooring only comes in one thickness level, they only install in one way: By being attached to a subfloor by being nailed or stapled down.
While it is possible to nail or staple down engineered hardwood, it is also possible to install it on what is called a “floating” basis, including fold-and-lock methods or even gluing.
This all depends on how thick the selected engineered hardwood flooring is. Remember that engineered hardwood flooring can be as thin as three eighths of an inch to half an inch. These thickness levels as well as where you want the flooring will determine whether your engineered hardwood floor can be installed on a floating basis or not.
In any case, it is much easier to install engineered hardwood flooring because it involves two layers. It takes a lot less time and money to install compared to solid hardwood flooring in any case, and that’s what makes engineered hardwood flooring stand out in a good way.
Engineered hardwood flooring handles moisture really well
Because the plywood base of engineered hardwood is much more dimensionally stable than its solid hardwood counterparts, it is much better at handling moisture.
One of the reasons why a solid hardwood floor has a greater chance of warping or deteriorating is because it does not handle moisture very well. This is because it does not have the plywood base that engineered hardwood has.
This makes engineered hardwood the superior choice to solid hardwood in rooms that typically encounter a lot of moisture such as kitchens, bathrooms, and especially basements.
Anybody who has solid hardwood installed in those three rooms understand how painful it is to constantly maintain said floors. This is much less of an issue with engineered hardwood flooring.
Keep in mind that the thicker your engineered hardwood floor is, the less moisture you will encounter. You will still encounter a bit of moisture with engineered hardwood floors however, so you still need to prepare for it.
Engineered hardwood requires a lot less maintenance
Building on the concept of moisture, moisture absorption is something that any given floor will struggle with.
Because engineered hardwood absorbs a lot less moisture than other floors, it is much easier to maintain compared against other kinds of floors.
This makes it possible for engineered hardwood to be installed in a lot more rooms than solid hardwood.
You will also not need to spend nearly as much time or money on resurfacing or replacing the polish of engineered hardwood because of how well it handles moisture.
This does not mean that engineered hardwood flooring does not require any maintenance, it just requires a lot less maintenance. The thicker the sheets of engineered hardwood are, the more you will need to maintain them.
These are only three of many good qualities that make engineered hardwood flooring preferable to other kinds of flooring in some cases.
However, engineered hardwood flooring is not perfect, and there are some things about it that also set it apart from other kinds of floors but in a negative way.
Engineered hardwood is not as durable as other hardwood floors
While it can absorb moisture very well, engineered hardwood struggles when it comes to other kinds of durability.
In fact, if you are looking for a hardwood floor that is impervious to being chipped or de-laminated, you will not find it in engineered hardwood.
This is because engineered hardwood is not as thick as other kinds of hardwood, which leaves it open to being chipped or de-laminated.
While you will not need to maintain engineered hardwood nearly as much as other kinds of hardwood, chances are good that you will need to replace it over time no matter how much you maintain it.
Sanding engineered hardwood flooring multiple times is not possible
You will need to be very, very careful when sanding engineered hardwood.
Because the upper layers of engineered hardwood are extremely thin, they will wear away after being sanded only once, maybe twice if the layers are thicker than they usually are.
While solid hardwood flooring will also become too thin after being sanded too much, they can still be sanded multiple times per year before their structural integrity becomes compromised.
You only have at most two chances to sand engineered hardwood before it becomes too thin. And if you select a design that contains very thin wood, you will probably have exactly one chance to sand the surface properly before it begins to deteriorate.
If you have made the decision to have engineered hardwood flooring installed, you need to have an intimate knowledge of how to sand it.
Engineered hardwood does not last as long as solid hardwood
Solid hardwood will last nearly forever if you are able to spend the time, money, and effort in maintaining them.
This is not true with engineered hardwood, and this is because engineered hardwood is not nearly as thick as solid hardwood.
Any given hardwood floor will deteriorate over time no matter how thick it is, but solid hardwood has the decisive edge over engineered hardwood when it comes to how long it lasts.
If you are interested in a form of hardwood flooring that will stand the test of time, you will eventually want to look past engineered hardwood, especially if you want to install it in a room that would be much more suitable for a different kind of hardwood floor.
There are a lot of things that set engineered hardwood apart from other kinds of flooring.
One of the best things that you can do is understand where you should install engineered hardwood flooring and where you should probably install a different kind of hardwood flooring.
If you install engineered hardwood across the entire home or building, you will run the risk of needing to replace it in certain rooms very early.
As you analyze these above pros and cons of engineered hardwood flooring, understand that they themselves are suitable for rooms that encounter a lot of moisture.
Another thing you should be aware of is that engineered hardwood flooring has varying thickness levels. This greatly affects how it can be utilized for different rooms.
Not all hardwood floors are the same, and engineered hardwood flooring has its place in any given home or other building. You just need to know what kind of purpose it has.