If you want to upgrade your home and install wood flooring, you need to decide if you want solid wood or engineered hardwood planks. The two choices look the same once installed, but they have different qualities. Here are some things to know about engineered hardwood flooring.
How Engineered Hardwood Flooring Is Made
Engineered hardwood flooring looks just like solid wood because the top layer of engineered flooring is made of wood. The difference between the two types of flooring is what is under the top layer. Solid wood flooring is a single piece of solid wood that is cut from a tree and formed into planks.
Engineered wood is made of multiple layers. The inner layers are made of plywood or other types of wood products and are fused together with a top layer of real wood. Making planks this way gives them more stability so there is a lower risk of warping due to changes in humidity and temperature.
Why Engineered Wood Floors Are A Good Choice
Because of the way they're made, engineered planks can be used in your basement, kitchen, and bathrooms. The flooring can be used in these spaces because it tolerates water vapor and high humidity better than solid wood.
However, even engineered planks won't tolerate being flooded with water for very long. You should still take care to use mats on your bathroom floor and make sure your basement is waterproofed before installing engineered flooring.
How Engineered Flooring Compares In Price
Engineered floors are comparable in cost to solid hardwood floors, depending on the quality of flooring you buy. You can buy economy flooring that costs less than solid wood, but engineered floors are usually more expensive than carpet, vinyl, and laminate flooring. That's because they are partly made of real wood. They give your home a classic look that also adds value.
How To Buy Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Since engineered planks have a thin layer of real wood on top, they can only be refinished once or twice during their lives. When you shop for new flooring, you may want to look for planks that have a thicker layer of wood on top so the planks can be refinished in case of damage.
Since the planks should last for decades, you may need to have them refinished so you can prolong the life of the flooring and put off installing new floors for as long as possible.
Besides buying quality flooring, you can also shop by wood species, length of the planks, and width of the planks. You can also buy engineered wood flooring based on the way you want to install it. For example, you may want planks you can glue to concrete or planks you can nail to a subfloor. Some engineered planks even click together so they float above the subfloor or flooring below it.
Engineered hardwood flooring could be the best choice for your home if you want wood floors in your basement or kitchen or to use over radiant floor heating. The flooring will look just like solid wood but will tolerate humidity and temperature changes better.