Many people are leery when engineered flooring is brought up as a viable choice to put into their home. I would like to debunk some typical myths regarding this misunderstood flooring option.
Myth: engineered wood flooring is fake. Laminate, such as Pergo, has given engineered wood a bad name. Engineered wood should not be confused with laminate floors. Laminate floors is made of a compressed HDF backing with a wood picture laminated face. Where as engineered is comprised entirely out of real wood. The face layer being actual hardwood ranging in different thicknesses, with various plys of hardwood backing.
Myth: engineered wood flooring won’t look the same as solid. When the floor is installed there is no telling which floor is solid and which is engineered. Both can be installed prefinished or unfinished with onsite sanding and finishing. Both can be sanded and refinished several times.
Myth: engineered wood won’t last as long as solid. Since most engineered wood can be refinished and some just as many times as a solid floor, it will have the same life span as your typical solid hardwood floor. With proper maintenance your floor will outlast you.
Benefits of engineered wood over solid: Since engineered wood is comprised of multiple layers of wood it works against itself in moving in relation to seasonal change. There is less chance of board movement in-between rows as well as less chance of cupping which can be problematic in wide plank floors. Engineered wood can be installed in below grade applications such as basements. Engineered is usually milled more precisely so there is less filling due to imperfections. Engineered wood can be floated over concrete which lessens costs associated with glue down applications.
And it can be floated over sub floors that have a layer of particle board installed over them. Since it can be floated or glued it is beneficial when you need to decrease sound transfer to rooms below.
What about over radiant heat? You have to check with the manufacturer to see if they warrant their product over radiant heat. Some do and some do not. This is an actual debatable point about which is better over radiant heat solid or engineered. Some believe that solid is a better choice since you don’t have to worry about glue failure and solid can stand the heat better than engineered. Again check with the manufacturer to see if they warrant it. Either way both products have to be properly acclimated and the heat needs to remain below 85 degrees at the surface.
Things to look for when purchasing an engineered wood: As with anything, there is varying qualities of products when it comes to choosing an engineered wood. Some points to compare are: what is the surface thickness, what is the overall thickness of the product, how many plies are there, what are the plies made of, what warranty does the manufacturer carry, what is the length of the planks, does it come in random length, is it single strip, two strip, or three strip, can it be nailed, glued, or floated