Engineered wood flooring was developed to withstand moisture and resist humidity better than solid hardwood flooring. Engineered wood flooring is layered with part wood and part man-made materials. It features a thin veneer top layer of solid wood and a core, typically made from layers of plywood or high-density fiberboard (HDF). These layers are oriented perpendicular to each other, which creates a stronger core structure. A mix of wax and adhesive holds this all together, which provides the resistance toward water. This process makes the engineered wood just as durable as traditional hardwood.
Is engineered hardwood the same thing as wood laminate flooring?
Engineered Hardwood Pros
Not only was engineered hardwood developed to deal with issues associated with hardwood floors, such as warping in wet conditions or extreme temperatures, it dealt with installation issues.
- There are multiple installation methods
- It is less sensitive to moisture and humidity
- It installs over concrete
- You can refinish it
- Sanded, stained, and sealed
- Compatible with radiant-heating
1. Multiple Installation Methods
Want to install your new flooring without the help of a pro? An engineered product makes the perfect DIY project for the experienced weekend warrior. Unlike solid hardwood, you can float, staple, or glue engineered wood. You can even find planks with locking mechanisms.
2. Less Sensitive To Moisture And Humidity
Unlike solid hardwood, manufacturers assemble engineered hardwood in layers. The top layer is a wood veneer, while the core layers are composed of plywood, particleboard, or fiberglass. These layers are then stacked in a criss-cross pattern and glued together in opposing directions.
When the floor is exposed to high humidity, each layer counteracts the other’s natural tendency to swell or shrink creating a more durable flooring.
3. Installs Over Concrete
Because engineered wood stands up to moisture, you can glue or float this product over a concrete slab. Even though engineered boards have a higher tolerance to temperature fluctuations, they still contain natural wood. This means engineered wood floors can buckle or warp in extreme conditions. Be sure to waterproof the subfloor and fix any cracks before installation. Install a moisture meter to monitor humidity levels.
4. You Can Refinish Engineered Hardwood
You can sand and restain your engineered hardwood floor, as long as you invested in a high-quality product. However, if you plan on refreshing your floors every few years, this flooring isn’t the way to go. Unlike solid wood, which can be sanded an average of seven times, engineered planks become less durable after one to three refinishes.
TIP: Your ready for a refinishing, call, we will be happy to refer an experienced refinisher.
5. Sanded, Stained, And Sealed
Solid wood requires on-site staining and sealing. Stain and protective sealers give off toxic odors. Engineering flooring comes factory stained and the off-gassing will be minimal.
6. Compatible With Radiant Heating
It may be a challenging to find a solid wood that’s safe to install over in-floor heating. However, most engineered products are durable enough to withstand the temperature changes. There are exceptions, so be sure to check with the manufacturer before installing engineered wood over radiant systems.
Engineered Hardwood Cons
While engineered hardwood is popular throughout most of the US, it is not commonly used in Tucson Arizona. There are a few good reasons for this. As great as engineered hardwood floors are, some engineered floors just don’t handle our dry environment well. Some fail due to the wood species or the way the product was constructed. Distress in the form of delamination, surface checking and splitting are quite common. Check with the manufacturer for location suggestions.
Another reason is the extreme temperature swings Tucson has – hot during the day and very cold temperatures during the night. The temperature changes can cause moisture build up on a concrete foundation.
And lastly, Tucson has dry dust that seems to get into our houses no matter what we do. Engineered wood requires high maintenance cleaning. The Desert dust and grit causes a lot of wear and tear on the wood veneer and you only have one to two times you can refinish.
Other cons are:
- Engineered Hardwood Fades
- Surface is Susceptible To Scratches And Dents
- Engineered Hardwood price is Comparable To Solid Hardwood
- Low-Quality Core Construction
- Manufacturers May Use Thin Veneer
- They Are Not Moisture-Proof
- Engineered Wood Is Still High-Maintenance
Engineered Hardwood Flooring Cleaning and Maintenance
No matter how durable engineered hardwood flooring is, there is no such thing as a mess proof floor. It is going to show signs of life such as scratches, pet hair, dirt, and more. Also, keeping engineered wood floors clean is no easier then cleaning and maintaining solid wood flooring. However with the right care and maintenance it will minimize the damage and mess. First thing in caring for you engineered hardwood floor is simply knowing to do…
- Use a dry microfiber dust mop to pick up dirt and debris from the floor.
- Cleaning products with harsh chemicals, such as ammonia, are a no… no.. as some can be damaging to the topcoat of the engineered wood flooring.
- Do not use wax-based cleaners and oil soaps. Bona has a lot of safe cleaning products for wood floors.
- Avoid using floor steamers, wet mops, or other cleaning methods that would allow water to seep between the planks and cause warping or other damage.
- Watch what shoes you wear indoors. Avoid walking on your floors with high heeled shoes or shoes with spikes because they can cause severe damage to the upper wear layer of the floor.
Taking Care of Scratches
Apart from a cleaning routine, you also have to protect your floors from dents and scratches. While it’s impossible to have a truly scratch-proof hardwood floor, there are a few tricks and solutions you can use to keep damage to a minimum. If your hardwood floors suffer from scratches, there are several ways to make the damage less noticeable—and less likely to cause further issues. Use a scratch concealer to eliminate the obvious white lines that come from scratches. This will also seal the area, preventing further scratching and keeping moisture from seeping into the wood.