The installation of engineered flooring is a happy medium between solid hardwood and laminate. While hardwood can be tricky to install and has problems with moisture, laminate is a combination of wood chips and a chemically infused paper product. Thus, it is obviously not wood. Engineered flooring, on the other hand, is wood.
It consists of a thin layer of finish wood atop plywood. Although it is not solid hardwood, it is nonetheless wood. In fact, it has some advantages over hardwood. If you know you want real wood floors, compare hardwoods to engineered woods. In terms of price, installation, strength, look, and water resistance, you may find engineered flooring to be the better choice.
Hardwood vs Engineered Floors
Hardwood floors are desirable for a number of reasons including the beauty of the wood grain, resale value, and their ability to be refinished. However, hardwoods are in many ways at a disadvantage to engineered floors. Consider the facts.
Hardwoods cost more than engineered wood floors. While hardwoods must be milled from solid wood, engineered floors are made from a combination of plywood and a wood finish, meaning they are less expensive at the production level. Some woods are relatively scarce which makes them even more expensive. There is also the environmental price associated with hardwoods. Engineered wood floors are largely made from scrap and recycled wood products, making them the more sustainable choice.
Hardwood flooring installation requires a sub-floor on which to nail the slats. Engineered woods can be nailed, glued, or installed as a floating floor. Hardwoods usually require an expert, for moisture problems can arise during the process. And while the top layer of engineered wood is pre-finished and sealed, most hardwoods come unfinished and must be sealed after installation.
In addition, hardwoods cannot be installed in any room where moisture levels are high. By contrast, engineered wood floors are designed to withstand moisture and can be installed anywhere, although areas prone to flooding should be avoided.
Strength and Durability
Hardwood floors are strong. There is no question about that. Because engineered floors consist of plywood below the finish that is laid cross-ways to the grain of the finish, they are extra strong. Hardwoods can be refinished more than engineered woods, and assuming there are no moisture problems, they will last slightly longer. Given the other variables, though, including price, installation, and strength, engineered wood floors have just as much upside.
While hardwoods come in many different species, each of which adorns your floors with different grain and ambiance, engineered wood floors are made to match all hardwood options. Whether you want hickory, oak, bamboo, or maple floors, engineered woods offer you the same selection as hardwoods at a lower cost.
Engineered wood floors are a viable alternative for hardwoods, giving you the same benefits at a reduced price. Engineered woods are better than hardwoods in terms of versatility, installation, and the ability to resist moisture. For purists, hardwoods will always be desired. Considering the benefits, engineered flooring is desirable in its own right.