The Pros and Cons of Engineered Wood Flooring

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EEngineered parquet is a type of flooring that consists of a thin top layer of hardwood, called a veneer or wear layer, over middle layers of reinforced composite plywood. In some cases, plywood can be replaced with oriented strand board (OSB), which is made of wood shavings glued and then compressed together. Engineered wood allows a homeowner to achieve the look of solid wood flooring at a cheaper price and with an easier installation process.

In comparison, solid wood flooring, the other common type of wood flooring, is made entirely of solid wood. This type of flooring is generally more expensive than engineered wood flooring, but also lasts longer because it can be refinished over and over again.

Benefits

Lower cost

Compared to solid wood flooring, everything about engineered wood flooring costs less, from materials to labor. Note that this is only true for the same species of wood; for example, engineered oak flooring may be cheaper than solid oak flooring, but engineered teak flooring may be cheaper than solid oak flooring.

Temperature and humidity resistant

Due to its composite core layers, engineered wood flooring is not as sensitive to temperature changes or humidity as solid wood flooring. Although there may still be some warping – usually if moisture issues are not addressed (as in the case of a standing pool of water) – the overall amount of swelling and shrinkage is much less than observed in a solid wood floor.

Aware of the environment

If you are environmentally conscious, engineered wood flooring may be the answer. These floors use less hardwood per plank than solid wood floors, which can be a determining factor if you are interested in exotic or rare wood species. Combined with a reduced need for toxic glue (to glue the layers together) and little or no sawdust; these floors are ecological and durable. That being said, this varies from company to company, so be sure to check the environmental certifications of the manufacturer you are buying from.

The inconvenients

Limited resurfacing

Due to the veneer layer, an engineered hardwood floor can only be sanded and refinished a few times – and sometimes only once – before the hardwood erodes to reveal the core layers. The number of times you can resurface depends on the thickness of the veneer layer. A 1/6 inch layer, for example, will last much longer than a 1/16 inch layer.

High level of maintenance

Since the surface layer of an engineered wood floor is hardwood, you will need to actively maintain your floor to maintain its quality, just as you would a solid wood floor. Fading, scratches and dents are all common problems with wood floors, but can be reduced and avoided by taking the proper protective precautions.

Low quality

In an effort to save time and money, some manufacturers may use cheap materials in their flooring, resulting in floors with poor structural integrity. Be sure to research thoroughly before choosing a manufacturer.

Cost

The final cost of your engineered wood flooring will depend on the species of wood veneer you choose, the number of center layers, the thickness of the veneer, and the amount of coverage you need. Floors are generally sold at the following prices:

  • Lower Grade ($2-$9): Three center layers, with a veneer thickness of 1/16 to 1/12 inch
  • Mid-Year ($6-$12): Five center layers, with a veneer thickness of 1/12 to 1/8 inch
  • High Quality ($9-$16): Seven center layers, with a veneer thickness of 1/6 inch or more

Other factors such as varnishing, staining and labor costs for installation may adjust this range.

Maintenance and care

Taking care of your engineered wood floor is like taking care of a solid wood floor. Sweep regularly, lightly mop periodically and try to avoid scratches and dents as much as possible (pro tip: attach felt to the bottom of your furniture legs to prevent them from scratching the floor every time you adjust a chair ).

Avoid harsh chemicals and excess water, and use doormats or rugs in high traffic areas – you don’t want the finish coming off your floor. That being said, don’t sand or refinish your floors unless you’re sure the veneer layer is thick enough to support it; otherwise, you risk revealing the middle layers.

Design options

An engineered wood floor can achieve the same surface look and feel as a solid wood floor, including wood species and floor design. Classic styles like horizontal stripes and herringbone or herringbone parquet are common. Bespoke floors are also possible, although these designs cost more and may benefit from the additional assistance of an interior designer.

For the veneer layer, a wide variety of wood species are available. These include American hardwood staples like oak, maple, and hickory. Exotic wood species—those that are rare or imported into the United States—include Brazilian cherry, mahogany, bamboo, and Brazilian teak. In general, expect to pay more for these exotic species and less for domestic wood.

Installation

Engineered flooring is fairly easy to install and suitable for DIY. Most engineered floors can be installed as “floating floors”. It’s when individual planks are put together like a puzzle over an existing subfloor instead of being nailed or glued. Depending on the size of the room, if you buy prefinished planks and have your subfloor prepped beforehand, it’s entirely possible to install your engineered floor and maybe even do the baseboards in one. daytime.

The installation process can become much more complicated if you choose to glue your floor, if you cover a large space in a limited time or if you finish your floors yourself. Consider hiring a professional to speed up the process; otherwise, give yourself between three days and a week to complete the installation.

Lifetime

If you properly maintain your engineered hardwood floor, it can last around 20 to 30 years. High quality durable floors can last even longer, up to 50 years, as long as they are diligently maintained and nothing has been done to significantly compromise the veneer.

Top Brands

Engineered wood floors are sourced from companies around the world, including the United States, China, Canada, Norway and Sweden. Depending on what you are looking for, in terms of type of wood, style, price and environmental friendliness, at least one company will more than likely be able to meet your specifications.

Although we recommend that you find a manufacturer that will best meet your needs, some popular high quality brands include Mohawk, Kährs, Harris Wood, Anderson Tuftex and Bruce.

Conclusion

Engineered wood floors and solid wood floors require about the same level of maintenance, although the former is more resistant to temperature and humidity and the latter generally lasts longer. Engineered wood flooring is a good choice if you’re on a budget and want to be eco-friendly without sacrificing the sleek, timeless aesthetic of beautiful wood flooring.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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