Engineered Wood Flooring – Pros and Cons

Wood flooring has a timeless look that can add tremendous warmth to a new or newly remodeled home. It gives an incomparably timeless look to any home allowing for any number of creative flights of fantasy depending on taste. There are three main types of wood flooring; solid hardwood, laminate and engineered wood flooring. Each type has its own built in advantages and disadvantages. Before proceeding with a purchase, the owner should research each kind of flooring to determine which is best for their lifestyle as well as which fits the budget.

Engineered Flooring – Engineered flooring is considered an alternative to solid wood flooring. Solid wood is exactly the way it is described-solid, as if it came right off the tree. There are no other materials involved in the creation of a solid hardwood floor except wood. This is not the case with an engineered floor. An engineered floor consists of a thin layer of finished wood on top of a plywood layer. The plywood actually makes up most of the floor. However, the finished layer is what is seen and walked on.

Wood Sandwich – The engineered floor can rightly be called a wood sandwich due to the way the wood is layered down to form the floor. Each piece of ply is laid down perpendicular to its adjacent ply, creating dimensional strength to the flooring. What this means is this type of layering guards against the seasonal contracting and expansion that solid floors regularly go through during the course of the lifespan. This method strengthens against light moisture if the flooring is used in bathrooms and basements.

Range of Options – Engineered wood flooring can be put done in different ways. Some of the thinner varieties can simply be nailed down into place, while the thicker varieties can be used in floating floors. A floating floor is a floor installed over an existing floor. If the existing floor is level and stable, then a floating floor is added over the top with little effort, requiring glue and or a heavy duty staple gun. No need in most cases to even install a sub-floor.

Disadvantages of Engineered Flooring – The greatest weakness of this type of flooring is probably the top layer or the finished layer. This layer is generally 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch in thickness. It comes finished; however, it can be sanded, once, maybe two times. But no more than two times, if at all. Solid wood can be sanded a number of times to remove dents or deep scratches. With engineered wood flooring, you will have to live with some of those deep dents or scratches that come from everyday living.

Value of Engineered FlooringFlooring experts tell us that solid hardwood flooring is very expensive, yet extremely durable. The reason behind this is the thickness which allows for multiple re-finishing treatments. Engineered wood flooring is not as expensive as installing solid wood initially. The problem is with the thin top layer of high quality wood used to finish off. This top layer can only be refinished a couple of times max. So while saving money you may end up spending more in the long run on a new floor to replace the engineered flooring should it become too dented or too scratched up. Experts also say that solid wood adds more value to a home than an engineered floor.

Both types can be dented. Both can fade in heavy sunlight. However, the engineered wood flooring is less apt to swelling and warping that comes with moisture prone areas. This means it can be used in bathrooms. But some experts say using it in a room with frequent contact with water, is not recommended.

Cost of Installation – Once you’ve settled on the type of flooring then it becomes necessary to maneuver the maze of pricing to determine how much to spend. A sad fact is that most prices listed for flooring in sales pamphlets or on signs at stores, are not correct. The store may list the cost of the actual pieces of wood, but they never tell you the cost of anything else involved. For instance, will the floor be nailed, stapled or glued in place? This will add to your cost.

Will this new floor be a floating floor, or will the old one be torn out first? And, is there need for a sub floor to be laid down? Is there a need for an under flooring to cushion or to mask irregularities in the old floor. Then there is the issue of trim once the floors down. Finally, if you don’t do it yourself, how much is it going to cost to have someone do it for you? It will never be as cheap as you think initially.

Labor Costs, How You Can Help – Labor cost can vary significantly. The first way to cut down costs is to buy all of the materials online or cash and carry from your local home improvement warehouse. Then it boils down to have workers install the flooring. Some added costs may be incurred when and if you underestimated the project and need to purchase more materials. Or you didn’t factor in the need for a painter to paint or touch up the trim and baseboards to match your décor.

Maintaining an Engineered Floor – Engineered floors are easy to keep. All it takes is a broom, vacuum or mop every other day or so. It is recommended that spills be cleaned up immediately and dried completely to keep from staining the floor, which does react to moisture, no matter how small. Place doormats on both sides of an exterior door in order to cut down on dirt and debris that might be tracked into the house and onto the floor. Damp mopping is not recommended, but can be done if the mop is just barely damp. Recoat the floor periodically to keep it looking new. If you can, train your family and friends to remove their shoes when they enter your home. Also, keep pet toenails trimmed to keep them from scratching the veneer.



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