Hardwood floors are a great and durable solution for flooring in your house, and engineered hardwood floors have taken this type of flooring to a whole new level. If you have talked with any flooring company about hardwood floors you have likely heard about engineered hardwood floors. But what is engineered hardwood, flooring exactly? Well, we are going to explain it in this article.
First off, one of the downsides to any hardwood floor is its ability, or lack of, to respond to moisture. Hardwood floors are notorious for warping, expanding, and contracting with humidity differences which can create an uneven floor surface or even gaps in between the boards. The great look and feel of hardwood floors can be disturbed by the damage caused by the moisture. Usually this problem can be mitigated by controlling the temperature and humidity in the house with heating and cooling systems and by installers leaving expansion gaps in between the floor and wall to allow for changes, however, even with the best humidity controlled room, problems can still develop.
Engineered hardwood flooring is a manufactured product that is made up of three to five layers of material. The layers consist of a hardwood core, plywood or high density fiberboard, and a layer of hardwood veneer for the top. These layers are glued together and bonded in a cross-grain configuration so that they are less likely to be affected by moisture from humidity.
Why are Engineered Hardwood Floors Better?
The word “better” is a relative term, however, many people do consider engineered hardwood floors to be superior to standard hardwood floors. The main reason for this is the greater ability to handle moisture. Engineered hardwood can be used in a variety of situations that would likely not be a good candidate for hardwood floors. Since the floors are bonded in a cross-grain configuration and can handle humidity better, the floors can be used in a basement environment where the moisture is usually much higher. The engineered floors can also be used over a radiant heat system, which would not normally be the case with solid hardwood floors. The radiant heat system would typically dry out a solid hardwood floors causing the boards to shrink and create gaps in the floor. Radiant heat systems do not pose as big of a problem for the engineered hardwood.
Another benefit of engineered hardwood floors is the ability to be laid directly on top of concrete. The flooring can be glued onto the concrete, or stapled to a wooden base layer.
How Durable Is It?
The durability of the engineered hardwood is really dependent on the quality of the wood that you purchase. Since it is an engineered product, it can be made in different ways. Some of the flooring have a very thin “wear” layer on the top which cannot be sanded. These boards can only be re-coated and will possibly still show the wear after they are recoated, so they may never look new again. This think wear layer will yield a lifespan of 20-30 years depending on the amount of traffic the floor sees. Other engineered hardwood boards have a much thicker wear layer which allows them to be sanded and refinished. With a floor that can be refinished you can plan on a flooring that could last 100 years or more.
Some additional benefits of engineered hardwood flooring is that it is much better for the environment. The amount of hardwood necessary to create one standard hardwood board could make up to four engineered hardwood boards. This helps conserve the hardwood by supplementing the other layers with plywood and high density fiberboard.
People with allergies do not need to be concerned about engineered hardwood floors. Unlike normal hardwood floors, the engineered flooring does not aggravate allergies and is actually recommended flooring by allergists.
Hardwood flooring increases the value of your home, but only if it looks good. With the lack of warping and gapping caused by humidity, the engineered hardwood floor will hold up to the moisture changes much better than typical hardwood floors and will help increase the value of your home based on the hardwood floors and the high quality.
Last, but certainly not least, engineered hardwood flooring is easy to install. Most flooring can be installed by anyone, as long as you are comfortable measuring, cutting, and gluing. If you are unsure of your own abilities, many home goods stores will be happy to demonstrate how to install the floor so that you will feel comfortable doing the installation yourself. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle, most flooring companies will gladly install the floor for you. The best part is that they will be able to install the floor extremely quickly and you can enjoy your new engineered hardwood floors almost immediately. Head over to Wikipedia if you want more information on engineered hardwood.