Pros and cons of engineered hardwood flooring

20 Sep 2021

Hardwood floors make a timeless style statement, and can increase the value of your home. When you are exploring wood flooring options, you will probably come across the term ‘engineered hardwood’. Could engineered hardwood be a better option for you than classic solid hardwood?

First of all, what is engineered wood?

Engineered hardwood is made from 100% real wood. It has a plywood core with a thick solid wood veneer on top. It is impossible to distinguish visually from solid hardwood once installed, and is one of the most popular types of wood flooring.

Advantages of engineered wood flooring

Engineered wood can save you money on exotic or premium hardwoods

Engineered wood floors look the same as solid hardwood, and are available in almost as many species. However, due to their cheaper plywood core, even the more exotic, pricey woods become significantly more affordable. With engineered hardwood, your flooring budget goes further.

Resistance to moisture and temperature fluctuations

One of the most significant advantages of engineered wood flooring versus solid wood is that it will withstand a greater range of temperature and moisture fluctuations, making it ideal for a wider range of climates and room uses. Also, unlike most types of solid wood, engineered wood can be used over underfloor heating.

Installation of engineered hardwood is cheaper, faster and can be DIY

If you purchase engineered hardwood as a click-together flooring system, it’s a far cheaper, less laborious option. So, you can save money on labour hours, or even install it yourself! Engineered hardwood is ideal as a DIY flooring option, whereas solid hardwood calls for professional installation only.

Disadvantages of engineered wood flooring

Engineered wood flooring will be weak if not high quality.
Some manufacturers use cheap or weak materials to build their engineered hardwood flooring. Make sure you buy from reputable manufacturers to ensure you get a long lifespan out of your new flooring.

Some engineered hardwood products can’t be refinished.
Many people install solid hardwood flooring because it’s a ‘forever’ flooring that can be sanded down and refinished any time you want to give it a new lease on life. However, you can only refinish engineered wood if the solid wood veneer is thick enough to allow for sanding, otherwise you will sand through to the plywood core. Most veneers range from 1mm to 3mm thick; if you want to leave refinishing as an option, we recommend a 3mm veneer or thicker.

Most other disadvantages of engineered hardwood are also characteristics of solid hardwood.
Engineered wood is susceptible to wear and tear. All wood is susceptible to scratches and dents over time, whether it is engineered or not. Resistance to wear and tear will be determined more by the species of hardwood and the finish you choose. Both engineered and solid hardwood requires just as much caution with high heels, pets and furniture, and both are also prone to fading from too much contact with UV rays if not maintained properly.

Neither engineered wood or solid hardwood are waterproof.
Both types of wood flooring will warp if soaked and left in standing water for significant periods of time. If you want a more water resistant wood flooring option, you might want to consider a wood-look laminate instead.

So, is engineered hardwood flooring or solid hardwood better?

Most cons of engineered wood are the same as with traditional solid hardwood flooring. The main issue with engineered hardwood is that it cannot be refinished as many times. It really comes down to your budget, your personal preference and the functionality of the room you are laying the floor in.

If you would like to explore flooring options further, check out our engineered hardwood flooring range here,or contact us to request a free at-home consultation and quote from a trusted member of the Harrisons Carpets team.

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