There’s no denying that real wood floors look great & provide a natural and authentic aesthetic for any property. Today, there are quite a few flooring options that look just as great as real wood flooring, without some of the hassles that come with it.
What do you do if you want flooring that looks just like real wood for a fraction of the cost but is also durable, suited to high traffic areas & long-lasting? Engineered wood flooring is the answer.
Engineered wood flooring is an advanced modification of hardwood flooring. The main difference is that it is not 100% solid wood flooring. The uppermost layer of the engineered hardwood is 100% real wood. The layers beneath are composed of other wood-derived materials. These can differ considerably, although these will have things like timber & board mixed & glued together.
While engineered hardwood isn’t 100% hardwood floor, it isn’t far from it. Most people would not even be able to notice the difference once the flooring is installed. Let’s dive deep into engineered wood flooring & then we will state the pros & cons in more detail.
WHAT IS ENGINEERED WOOD FLOORING?
Unlike solid wood, engineered wood floors have a top layer composed of solid wood, which embraces a multi-layer plywood core. The word ‘engineered’ relates to the fact that this type of wood flooring material has been uniquely devised to look the way it does. The thickness of the top layer & the core will vary depending on the design & the manufacturer.
In combined thickness, these planks range from low-profile as a one-quarter inch(6.35 mm) to as thick as a three-quarter inch(19 mm, or the average thickness solid-wood flooring). The thickness of the top layer reflects the caliber of the product. The overall manufacturing norm is 2 to 6 mm, with a thicker top layer generally symbolizing a more premium product.
Also, engineered wood comprises a base layer- also known as the core board- designed to provide more structural stability than solid wood under conditions of heat & moisture.
TYPES OF ENGINEERED WOOD FLOORING:
#1 – MULTI-PLY ENGINEERED WOOD
According to top floor experts, this type of engineered wood is as close as it gets to solid wood. The multi-layered composition helps prevent over-expansion of the wood boards. At the same time, the plywood core provides extra strength & stability.
#2 – THREE-PLY ENGINEERED WOOD
This type of flooring is known to provide enhanced endurance to cupping & over-expansion. It is best applied on floors where the subfloor embraces joists with short spans connecting the supporting columns.
#3 – HIGH-DENSITY FIBERBOARD CORE ENGINEERED FLOORING
This flooring utilizes HDF (High-Density Fibreboard) as the core material instead of plywood, producing enhanced stability, strength & moisture resistance. The HDF core is created by mixing recycled hardwood & resin. The blend is ground & then pressed for a sturdy material.
PROS OF ENGINEERED WOOD FLOORS
Engineered hardwood owes its popularity to several unique advantages & not just because it’s an easy way to get the look & feel of the best hardwood floors without breaking the bank. Here are some engineered wood advantages:
#1 SAVES YOU MONEY (Especially With Exotic Woods)
If you are somewhat obsessed with the look & luster of exotic woods like teak or mahogany, you are not alone. Exotic hardwood is an attractive choice, but it can get pricey real fast. So if you are counting on an exotic wood class like Brazilian Walnut (the strongest wood flooring alternative around), think about picking an engineered product.
Because they utilize less solid wood, engineered exotic woods usually cost less than solid exotic woods. Fundamentally, they help keep your wood flooring expense within budget without compromising on beauty!
#2 INSTALLATION IS OFTEN QUICKER, EASIER & CHEAPER
One of the biggest advantages of engineered wood flooring is how quickly & easily it can be installed if you purchase it as a click-together flooring system.
Engineered wood is obtainable in multiple sizes & thicknesses in the flooring market. So installing it is much easier than installing solid wood floors.
The sanding part can also be performed according to the thickness of the topmost layers. When the floor starts to look old, sanding & refinishing can help it to look new again.
#3 LOOKS STYLISH
Engineered wood flooring looks the same as regular hardwood flooring & that’s why it looks amazingly stylish. It is also available in many different finishes. The main appeal of hardwood flooring is its timeless look & you will get the same thing with an engineered wooden floor.
Engineered oak flooring is by far the most popular wood floor; this comes in many finishes & colors.
#4 GREATER TEMPERATURE RESISTANCE
Because of how it’s formed, engineered hardwood does have one big advantage over traditional hardwood-it is more resistant to dampness & changes in temperature.
The wood would not swell or shrink as much when compared to traditional hardwood. Engineered wood flooring is suitable for water-fed underfloor heating, making it an ideal choice for new home renovations.
#5 EASY TO CLEAN
Spills can be instantly mopped up. Food can be picked up & any residue wiped away with ease. Dust & debris can be swept or hoovered & is easy to see rather than getting trapped in piles of other floorings like carpet.
#6 LESS SENSITIVE TO MOISTURE & HUMIDITY
Engineered floors are stable. Unlike solid wood flooring, producers assemble these in layers. The topmost layer is a wood veneer, while the core is composed of particleboard, plywood, or fiberglass.
These engineered wood layers are then piled in a criss-cross design & glued in opposing directions. And when the floor is exposed to high humidity, every layer prevents the other’s fundamental tendency to swell or shrink.
#7IMPROVES RESALE VALUE
The resale industry makes zero distinction between both engineered hardwood & solid hardwood flooring. So, if you are concerned about the ROI, don’t be. In fact, having hardwood flooring in your home increases the resale value.
#8 COMPATIBLE WITH RADIANT HEATING
If you want wood floors but dislike the idea of stepping onto a cool hard surface every morning, invest in radiant heating. Not only is it comfortable & cost-effective, but it’s also very much compatible with engineered wood.
While it may be challenging to find a solid wood that’s safe to install over in-floor heating, most engineered products are durable enough to withstand temperature changes.
CONS OF ENGINEERED WOOD FLOORS
Look, we really love engineered wood because it surely goes where solid hardwood can’t. Plus, it can make exotic woods more affordable, but there are some cons, as with any flooring option. Here is what you need to know in order to make an informed decision:
#1 SUSCEPTIBLE TO FADING
With continuous exposure to sunlight, engineered wood is really susceptible to fading. However, you can lessen the likelihood of fading by utilizing drapes & blinds to shield your engineered hardwood from direct sunlight exposure.
#2 CAN BE SCRATCHED & DENTED
Even though engineered wood is durable, it will dent & scratch over time, especially if you have kids, heavy furniture, or pets! Even if you buy the best-engineered wood flooring, it is still wood, and that means it is prone to scratches & dents.
#3 ARE POTENTIALLY WEAK
There are many varieties of engineered hardwood flooring & some manufacturers use very cheap & weak materials to build their flooring. It might look great but end up being pretty weak & unstable after a short period.
Do your analysis before buying engineered hardwood flooring to ensure that you are buying from a high-quality manufacturer like Supreme Hardwood Floors. We are a full-service wood flooring retail, installation & refinishing company.
We offer quality products & the discernible expertise that results in luxurious engineered wood flooring.
#4 AREN’T MOISTURE PROOF
Many homeowners mistake engineered floors as good candidates for kitchens, bathrooms, and/or other high-moisture areas, but the reality is that even the best-engineered hardwood planks are not waterproof. That means mold & bacteria can grow underneath them & if they get wet, they will buckle & shift.
If you consider using these floors in the bathroom, basement, or other possibly wet areas, please reconsider.
#5 LOW-QUALITY ENGINEERED WOOD CAN OFF-GAS VOCs
Low-quality engineered wood does not simply fail the endurance test, but it is also harmful to your health.
Studies tell that low-quality engineered wood is made with glue that comprises formaldehyde, a VOC (volatile organic compound) that goes into an off-gassing process once it is placed in your home.
Thankfully, low-VOC flooring is becoming more & more common. When you are purchasing engineered wood, you should still look out for it, particularly if eco-friendly flooring is a top preference for you.
We advise you to get your floors from Supreme Hardwood Floors, the best local flooring store in your area. We specialize in helping you find quality materials & we do not sell risky products.
#6 LOW -QUALITY CORE CONSTRUCTION
Some manufacturers in this market try to cut production costs by using low-quality core material such as oriental strand board or fiberboard. This move results in flooring being unstable & inclined to damage.
When looking for engineered wood, try to bypass cheap imitations. High-quality engineered floors have plywood cores that are dimensionally stable & built to withstand temperature fluctuations.
As with all flooring products, it’s wise to research the manufacturer & the construction process before deciding on a purchase or simply trust us.
THERE ARE SURELY SOME CONS OF ENGINEERED WOOD BUT ARE OUTWEIGHED BY THE PROS
Yes, engineered hardwood has some disadvantages, even though still one of our favorite types of wood flooring. In contrast to the enormous upside that engineered hardwood offers, these disadvantages are minor.
Just ensure you carefully analyze your distinct requirements before you buy. As always, an in-depth discussion with the experts at your local flooring retailer is the best place to start!
For any query, simply call Austin’s best flooring retail, installation & refinishing company, Supreme Hardwood Floors, at (512) 288-5545 or visit our elite showroom to explore our exclusive engineered wood floor collections at 12010 W Highway 290 Suite 250, Austin, Texas 78737, United States.