Solid wood floors and engineered wood floor products are popular design elements in modern decorating. They provide warmth and brightness to a room, and are durable and easy to care for. If you are interested in the look and feel of wood flooring but don’t care for the price and difficult installation of solid hardwood floors, an engineered wood floor may be the perfect alternative for your home. They are stylish, durable, repairable, and can be used in places with moderate dampness. These and other factors may make engineered hardwood a better choice for your home in some cases than solid hardwood flooring.
Engineered Wood Floor Construction
Engineered wood floors are composed of hardwood veneers layered over crisscrossing layers of plywood that provide extra strength. The hardwood veneers are 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick, and can be sanded and refinished. The advantages of an engineered floor include: easier installation, an allowance for limited repairs and refinishing, a wide range of installation methods, and the ability to install them in areas with light moisture, such as kitchens and bathrooms.
Engineered hardwood floor planks typically come prefinished. Depending on the thickness of the flooring you purchase, it can usually be installed as a floating hardwood floor, although some products are installed by nailing or gluing each plank. Depending on the thickness of the hardwood veneer, engineered hardwood floors allow for limited refinishing and repairs if necessary. The thicker the veneer finish layer, the more it can be sanded and refinished. A thinner veneer may only stand up to one or two refinishes, while thicker veneers may stand up to three or four repair or refinishing attempts.
Engineered hardwood is an excellent choice for damp parts of a house, or for climates that experience humidity and temperature extremes. Solid wood flooring can split or warp with temperature and humidity changes, but the layered construction of an engineered floor prevents this type of damage. Layered construction allows for even expansion and contraction of the wood without permanent warping in any single direction. This flexibility is what makes engineered hardwood floors a perfect choice for kitchens, bathrooms, and any areas that are more likely to experience temperature and humidity changes. Engineered flooring may even be installed in some basements where only moderate dampness occurs, a great option to consider along with laminate flooring.
Since engineered hardwood flooring products are finished with real hardwood veneers, the variety of finishes and stains available is similar to that of other hardwood flooring types. They feature a wide array of finish choices, from relatively inexpensive traditional oak or maple finishes, to more expensive cherry or hickory finishes. A variety of stain options can give your floors a look ranging from light and bright to dark and dramatic.
If you are hoping for the beautiful look of hardwood flooring, but balk at the expense and installation challenges of solid hardwood flooring, engineered flooring may be the perfect choice for your home. It combines the look and feel of hardwood flooring with easier installation, more temperature and humidity flexibility, and it allows for refinish and repair. Since engineered floors are constructed with real hardwood veneers over layers of plywood they are more affordable than solid hardwood, but come in the same variety of woods and finishes. No matter what your taste in wood flooring, you can find an engineered wood floor to satisfy your needs.