Engineered Hardwood Flooring: The Pros and Cons

Engineered Hardwood Flooring: the Pros and ConsEngineered hardwood flooring is a product made from layers of laminated plywood, oriented in different directions, and topped with a veneer of hardwood that is pre-finished with a very durable urethane-type finish. It comes in strips with tongue and groove on opposite sides, so it interlocks. You just click it together over a foam underlay. No glue or nails are needed. The edges are covered by the baseboard or quarter round, so that there is room for expansion and contraction. There are both advantages and disadvantages of engineered hardwood flooring. Here is a look at the pros and cons:

Advantages of Engineered Hardwood Flooring

  • Engineered hardwood floors cost about half as much as hardwood, and double the cost of wall to wall carpeting, which is the least expensive floor covering. Installation can be done yourself or professionally but is less costly due to being so much easier. Engineered hardwood floors are refinished in the factory, which also makes for a less expensive installation.
  • Because it does not have to be finished in the home, you are spared much mess and chemical smells. Refinishing involves sanding, staining and then the urethane coating. This involves a lot of dust and fumes. It is best to not be there during this process. But engineered hardwood flooring is pre-finished in the factory with a very durable coating.
  • Engineered hardwood is installed as a “floating floor”, which means it does not have to be nailed down or glued down to a subfloor. This makes it perfect for situations where you cannot use such attachments, for instance, over concrete slabs, or over elements for a heated floor. If you choose engineered hardwood that is 5/8” thick, you will find that it feels very solid when you walk on it.
  • There is limited maintenance to care for engineered hardwood floors. They can be protected further with a coating of paste wax.
  • Engineered hardwood is more stable in humidity than hardwood floors.

Disadvantages of Engineered Hardwood Flooring

  • Probably the biggest disadvantage of engineered hardwood flooring is that while the panels are finished on the top, the tongue and groove edges are not finished. Because they are not glued together, there is nothing to seal that unfinished portion and so any spill or water can easily seep into the edges and cause stains and wrinkling in the surface. A layer of paste wax can help to mitigate this problem and make them more water resistant, however, engineered hardwood is not as well suited to kitchens, bathrooms, entrance ways due to wet shoes, and areas where you may have a dog dish or plants on the floor.
  • Engineered hardwood can be refinished once or twice, but not more than this because the hardwood veneer is very thin. There are better sanding methods than there used to be, which take off just the finish and not much wood, which does allow more chances to refinish these floors, but this is still a limited option. Hardwood, however, can be refinished multiple times.
  • Engineered hardwood has a lifespan of 15-20 years if well cared for and if they are protected from water. Hardwood will last over 100 years if well cared for.
  • Floating floors do not tolerate heavy loads, such as moving appliances, and can sustain much damage from this.

So, as you see, engineered hardwood flooring can be a great choice for your home for an area that does not see water. It saves money initially, as well as in the installation. Installation is fast and can be completed in a day or so. There are no fumes or messy finishing steps. So, in the right space, this may just be the flooring solution you are seeking! If you have other flooring questions about what will work best in your space and at your budget, you will want to contact Carolina Flooring. They have the experience and the professionals who can guide you through the process of choosing the right flooring. Click here to contact them today!!

Photo courtesy of:   Jeff the Trojan

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