Will it be worth it to invest in engineered hardwood floor? Usually, it is as expensive as solid wood floor. So, is it superior or inferior? If you have some issues with hardwood floors like warping in the extreme temperature or wet condition, engineered hardwood flooring will be the solution.
Engineered hardwood flooring is appropriate for you who are searching for the timeless wood flooring with versatility. To know whether engineered hardwood suits your need or not, you have to understand it in detail.
In this article, we will discuss it further including the pros & cons, pricing, and guidelines. Some reviews from customers can also be the consideration to decide your choice.
Table of Contents
The pros of engineered hardwood flooring can be seen in the following list:
Can be installed over concrete
For your information, engineered hardwood has is better resistant to humidity and moisture. Therefore, it can be installed over concrete. It can be floated or glued over concrete easily.
In this case, make sure that you waterproof the subfloor. Do not forget to fix cracks before installing it.
You have to keep in mind to install a moisture meter in order to monitor the level of humidity.
Engineered boards are tolerant better to temperature fluctuations they contain natural wood. It means engineered hardwood can still warp or buckle in extreme condition.
Various Installation Methods
There are some methods to install engineered hardwood. You can hire a professional or consider performing DIY project, especially if you are experienced.
Engineered hardwood can be floated, stapled, and glued. Planks with locking mechanism are also available.
Less sensitive o humidity and moisture
Engineered hardwood is not only various but also not sensitive to humidity and moisture. So, expansion will not be easy to happen. Engineered hardwood flooring is dimensionally stable because of the layers.
For your information, it comes with a wood veneer layer at the top whereas the core layers consist of fiberglass, particleboard, or plywood. That is why it is not easy to swell and shrink.
Improves resale value
One of the good news is that a home with engineered hardwood flooring will be priced much higher. So, investing this flooring to your home will not disappoint every homeowner.
Can be refinished
You do not need to worry if there are scratches or damages on this floor because it can be refinished. In this case, you just need to sand & restrain your engineered hardwood floor.
Hybrid flooring can also be an alternative to refresh it. However, refinishing will make it less durable.
Sanded, stained, & sealed
Engineered hardwood flooring comes with a sanded, stained, & sealed finish from the manufacturer. The saint & protective sealers make it eco-friendly. So, do not hesitate to choose this flooring.
The trend changes from year to year, decade to decade. However, engineered hardwood flooring will never be outdated.
So, if you want to invest home flooring for forever, this can be ideal for you. It may be costly at first. However, it is very durable. In addition, it will also never be out of style.
Compatible with radiant heating
One of the most common problems when it comes to wood flooring that it can easily be damaged by heat.
However, you do not need to worry because engineered hardwood flooring is compatible with radiant heating. This flooring is not only budget-friendly but also comfortable. Anyway, you have to check before you install it over radiant systems.
Here are the cons of engineered hardwood flooring:
Unfortunately, any flooring shades including engineered flooring. It usually fades over time when exposed to direct sunlight.
Even more, covering it with rugs or large furniture will even make it worse. For the solution, you may need to use curtains or blinds to minimize direct sunlight.
Susceptible to dents and scratches
This flooring is not maintenance-free. It still scars, scratches, and dents. Having pets and walking with high-heeled shoes can cause scratches and damages.
If you are looking for adorable wood flooring, engineered hardwood is not the best choice. The price is similar to solid hardwood.
Low-quality core construction
Some manufacturers use low-quality core material like fiberboard or oriental strand board in order to cut production costs. It makes the floor unstable and even prone to damage.
So, make sure that you only buy high-quality hardwood flooring that is dimensionally stable and withstand temperature fluctuations.
Veneer must be minimally 3/16-inch thick to ensure its durability. Thinner surface is cheaper but it reduces the durability. So, you have to pay attention to the veneer before purchasing this flooring.
Many manufacturers use formaldehyde & other carcinogens in the wood flooring construction. These chemicals convert to a gas that can cause health problems.
So, make sure that you only buy certified formaldehyde & VOC free engineered hardwood flooring.
If you plan to install engineered hardwood flooring for your bathroom or kitchen, it will not be a good idea because it is not moisture-proof. Mold & bacteria will grow underneath the floor.
If it gets wet, it will also buckle & shift. So, you should only install this flooring at the dry areas.
Deciding to install engineered hardwood flooring means that you are ready to dedicate you is a lot of time and effort to care for and maintain it.
You should sweep, vacuum away dust, etc. to keep it clean and beautiful. You also have to be careful because water and some cleaning products are not allowed.
The price of engineered hardwood flooring is various. It starts from 2 o 3 dollars per square foot for the lower quality. Make sure that you get proof of health as well as safety compliance.
If you consider mid-range products, you will need to pay about 4 to 6 dollars per square foot. Make sure that you get one that comes with decent warranties & meet minimum quality standards.
Engineered hardwood flooring with high-end quality is also available. Even though it costs from 7 to 12 dollars per square foot, this is cost-effective for long-term projects.
High-end engineered hardwood comes with the thickest wear layers & sturdiest cores. You can refinish it many times. It will last 50 years or longer. The colors, lengths, & finishes are available in various options.
When it comes to installation, you can choose a DIY or a pro install. The DIY method is appropriate for you who install a floating or click-lock floor. If you are not experienced in it, hiring a pro will be a better decision.
In fact, installation failure will require you to spend much more money because the warranty does not cover it.
When installing engineered hardwood flooring, there are many things to consider including the moisture level.
Besides that, you also have to decide the waterproofing substance to use. Hiring a pro to install this hardwood flooring will usually cost from 4 to 10 dollars per square foot.
Sometimes, some contractors prefer hourly wages where it charges 30 dollars per hour. If possible, you can negotiate it to them.
To get the best quality, you have to know how engineered hardwood is produced first. Mostly, it is made from multi-ply construction laminated by 3 to 5 sheets of plywood.
This cross-ply construction ensures its stability. It prevents expansion and changes in the humidity or temperature. Most experts recommend you to buy engineered hardwood that comes with 5/8-inch thickness.
Cores should be made from 9 to 11 layers of plywood. When it comes to veneer, it must be at least 3/16-inch thick.
Besides that, you also need to know what chemicals used in the boards. You must also know whether it is off-gas or not anyway, make sure that it meets air quality regulations.
One more important thing to be considered is about the warranty. Mostly, engineered hardwood flooring is covered by a 50-year limited lifetime warranty.
Make sure that the warranty does not only cover construction but also surface layer defects. There are so many reputable suppliers & manufacturers. So, you have to search the best one.
Brand Reviews of Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Let’s review some of the best engineered hardwood flooring brands:
Hurst Hardwoods Flooring
This online retailer offers unfinished & prefinished engineered hardwood flooring. They also offer various wood species that comes in different sizes and styles. Tigerwood & Brazilian Teak are some of the best options.
Many homeowners & contractors recommend this retailer because of the satisfying products & services. Hurst Hardwoods also offers competitive prices that range from 3 to 6 dollars per square foot.
In addition, the company also gives fast & reliable shipping as well as a 30-year warranty for residential installation, except installation over radiant heating.
Hosking Hardwood Flooring
Both solid and engineered hardwood is carried by this site. Many top-quality products are offered. The cost ranges from 3 to 10 dollars per square foot. It depends on the quality of the product. For more detailed information, you can go to their official web.
This one is appropriate for you who want eco-friendly engineered hardwood flooring. Since their products are FSC-certified & zero-VOC, they fit well in all environments.
Various colors & tones are offered to meet your desired style. For the prices, they range from 6 to 8 dollars per square foot.
It is interesting because the company uses recycled hardwood from industrial waste and old building timber to construct engineered boards with high quality. In addition, the company also offers a lifetime warranty for the board structure.
Both solid & engineered hardwood is offered in different sizes, tones, and textures. Their products are made in the USA. The price ranges from 5 to 6 dollars per square foot except you want to travel to the nearest distributor. This thick engineered hardwood flooring is covered by a 50-year warranty.
Regal Hardwoods provides hand-scraped engineered hardwood flooring on budget. The products come with 8 lines of flooring and solid birch cores.
The American Back roads collection offers weathered planks in nail-down and floating varieties. The Walla Wlla Valley offers modern and artistic boards that come with high-sheen finishes.
Anyway, the price ranges between 6 and 12 dollars per square foot. The company covers their products with long warranties for both construction and finish.
This manufacturer offers some lines of flooring with different prices. The company’s Choice collection offers a 9-ply birch core. The products are available in 15 prefinished styles where they cost about 8 dollars per square foot.
A limited lifetime warranty is offered to ensure the quality. Samples and discounts are also available.
Hallmark Floors does not only prioritize quality but also convenience. Their engineered hardwood flooring products are available in various design patterns, styles, and sizes.
The price may be a bit high but the quality is undoubted. For example, the Organic 567 Series comes with thick ply construction, a multi-layer oil finish, and a sawn-cut veneer. The price ranges from 8 to 9 dollars per square foot.
This manufacturer provides various options of engineered hardwood floors. If you are searching for click-lock engineered hardwood, you can find more than 19 varieties with different finishes and colors. Their products are also affordable where the price ranges from 3 to 4 dollars per square foot.
The planks come in 6.5” wide, an aluminum oxide finish, various lengths, and various installation options. A lifetime warranty is also offered to cover manufacturer defects & the finish.
How Is Engineered Hardwood Compared to Solid Hardwood?
In the past, people never compare engineered and solid hardwood. They thought that engineered hardwood has inferior construction & durability. However, the time changes. Today, engineered hardwood is much more attractive.
Solid wood planks are totally hardwood with a single solid piece whereas engineered hardwood consists of some layers of plywood with a thick veneer surface. So, which one is better?
Comparing the installation options, engineered hardwood can be installed with more methods such as gluing, nailing, and floating. For the durability, it depends on the species you choose.
In fact, different products may come with different thicknesses and qualities.
What about the price?
Both of them cost between 3 and 10 dollars per square foot. Now, the choice is in your hands.
FAQs about Engineered Hardwood Flooring
With, a top layer of hardwood, engineered hardwood flooring can scratch as easily as solid wood flooring. When scratches happen, you can still refinish it but twice only.
Both engineered hardwood & laminate flooring are layered composite flooring that look like solid wood. Engineered hardwood uses wood layers for heat & water resistant. On the other side, laminate layers fiberboard & is stopped with a layer to look like hardwood. It means engineered hardwood is real wood whereas laminate only looks like wood. Because of that, engineered hardwood flooring is twice more expensive than laminate flooring.
Since engineered hardwood flooring is available in various types, the quality is also different. Anyway, this flooring can last 30 years but it can still scratch, fade, and scrape.
Designed to be water-resistant, engineered hardwood floor must not be exposed to water. Since it comes with wood layers, it will warp when it is exposed to water. Anyway, it will do better in a mildy damp location than hardwood.
Engineered hardwood looks beautiful like solid hardwood. The important thing is that it is not only beautiful but also durable.
Without a doubt, engineered hardwood flooring is real wood flooring. It is different to solid wood so that it is less prone to warping when exposed to extreme temperature or water.
Mostly, it is available in ½” or 5/8” thickness. Anyway, it works for a residential installation. The top layer should be minimally ¼” thick.
Engineered hardwood flooring is perfect for you who want the value of wood flooring with the versatility of vinyl or laminate. It is not the cheapest floor but it belongs to the best ones. It can be a smart long-term investment because it lasts decades.
Various installation methods are also available including with nails, glue, and locking mechanism. Overall, engineered hardwood flooring combines timeliness & versatility.