Once thought of as an afterthought, engineered hardwood is quickly becoming the most popular choice for flooring. It has several of the qualities of traditional solid wood but can better withstand the punishment that life delivers to your floors. When it comes to appearance, the recent advancements in engineered hardwood have put it on a level playing field with solid hardwood. If you want the look of real wood, laminate and vinyl flooring can’t compete with solid or engineered wood. So, why should you choose engineered hardwood over other types of flooring?
One of the misconceptions about engineered hardwood is that it is not real wood. This idea is simply not true; Engineered wood is 100% real wood. Unlike traditional solid wood, engineered hardwood is not made from a single piece of wood but rather it is comprised of several layers of different types of wood.
The top layer is made from a single piece of wood. In terms of the quality of wood used, there is no difference between the top layer of engineered wood and an entire piece of traditional solid wood flooring, except for the thickness. The top layer of engineered hardwood is thinner than a piece of solid wood flooring and can even be sanded to remove chips and scratches from excessive wear. Unlike vinyl and laminate, the top layer of engineered wood shows the natural characteristics of the wood used. It’s real wood instead of a high-definition photograph of wood covered by a wear layer.
The top layer of engineered wood is affixed to a thick core of bonded plywood. Because it is compressed using extreme heat and pressure, the core of plywood adds a level of stability to engineered hardwood that you don’t have with solid wood planks. This stability makes engineered hardwood resistant to changes in humidity. In other words, you don’t have to worry about engineered hardwood shrinking in the winter and expanding in the summer. If installed incorrectly, the shrinking and expanding of solid wood can cause damage and shorten the life of the floor. You don’t have to worry about this type of damage with engineered hardwood.
When it comes to installation, engineered hardwood is much easier to install than traditional solid wood flooring. Engineered hardwood can be glued, stapled or nailed, or even floated above an existing floor. You don’t have those same options with solid wood flooring. Solid wood is usually nailed or glued into place above a wood subfloor. Traditional solid wood can’t be installed above other floor surfaces, like concrete, or in areas that are exposed to excessive moisture. Moisture doesn’t affect engineered hardwood as much as solid wood because of the strength of its plywood core. Engineered hardwood gives you more installation options than solid wood flooring because of these characteristics.
While engineered hardwood planks are slightly less expensive than solid wood, the overall cost of installation is usually much less. Solid wood needs to be installed by professionals to ensure that the floor will last a long time. Because engineered hardwood can be floated on top of almost any surface, it can be installed by DIYers over a weekend, saving money on installation and cost of installation materials.
If you want the look of solid wood flooring but don’t want to worry about the issues associated with it, engineered hardwood is the choice for you. After it’s installed you can’t tell the difference between engineered hardwood and solid wood flooring. Both use real wood; however engineered hardwood has more stability and can be installed in numerous places where solid wood can’t. They can both be sanded to remove dents and scratches which allows them to last for years. If you want to save money, the costs of installing engineered wood are usually less than that of solid wood flooring. If you want the look of real wood without the limitations of traditional solid wood flooring, engineered wood is the choice for you.