Engineered hardwood is a better choice for homes

Why engineered hardwood is a better choice for today’s homes, Home renewal flooring style advice, Property decor help

Why Engineered Hardwood is a Better Choice for Today’s Homes

13 February 2024

Engineered hardwood is a better choice for homes

Engineered hardwood flooring has become increasingly popular in recent years for good reason. This innovative type of hardwood floor offers benefits over traditional solid hardwood, making it an ideal choice for most homes today.

What is Engineered Hardwood?

Engineered hardwood flooring is a sophisticated and resilient choice for those seeking the warmth and classic appeal of wood with enhanced stability. This innovative flooring option comprises multiple wood layers pressed together in a cross-grain configuration, ensuring exceptional dimensional stability. At its surface, a solid hardwood veneer showcases the rich, natural beauty of various wood species such as oak, maple, and hickory, capturing the essence of traditional hardwood floors. Beneath this decorative layer, core substrates of plywood or high-density fibreboard (HDF) provide the foundation, reinforcing the floor’s resistance to the natural expansion and contraction typically seen in solid wood flooring.

This layered construction not only fortifies engineered hardwood against environmental changes but also makes it a versatile choice for various settings, embodying both the elegance and resilience required for modern living spaces. Thus, engineered hardwood flooring stands as a testament to advanced flooring technology, marrying the timeless beauty of hardwood with the durability needed for contemporary life.

Key Benefits of Engineered Hardwood Floors

1. Superior Stability

The layered structure of engineered wood is much less likely to be affected by changes in temperature and humidity. This prevents issues with gaps, crowning, or cupping of boards that can happen with solid hardwood. Engineered hardwood floors will maintain their flawless appearance over time without gapping when the weather changes. The cross-grain layers reinforce to minimize expansion and contraction. Even in rooms with dramatic humidity fluctuations like bathrooms, engineered floors endure beautifully.

2. Can Be Installed Over Any Subfloor

A major advantage of engineered wood is it can adhere directly over concrete, plywood, OSB, and many existing floor materials, including vinyl or tile. This versatility allows it to be used in basements, above-grade apartments, or over-radiant heat systems where solid hardwood cannot. The multi-layer structure provides a stable surface that resists moisture from below. Engineered wood floors can transform concrete subfloors into beautiful, warm spaces. The flexibility of subfloor options makes engineered wood one of the easiest flooring materials to work with during renovations.

3. Wide Plank Options

The dimensional stability of engineered flooring allows for super wide planks up to 8 inches without cupping or buckling issues. Wide-width planks create a dramatic, elegant look that is well-suited to open floor plans. Because the wood layers are oriented perpendicular to each other, the planks resist natural expansion and contraction forces. Wide planks of solid wood lack this reinforced structure and can start to deform, peak, or cup over time when they exceed 3–4 inches. For luxurious wide planks that maintain integrity, engineered hardwood is the best choice.

4. Cost-Effective Exotic Species

Because less timber is used overall, engineered floors can offer exotic species like Brazilian cherry, African tigerwood, or Japanese ash at a more affordable price point than solid versions. The thick top layer contains the expensive wood, while the inner layers utilize more abundant, cheaper species. This efficient manufacturing makes striking exotic floors accessible to more homeowners. The dimensionally stable engineered core prevents issues like gapping even with delicate and unique species on top.

5. Eco-Friendly Manufacturing

Engineered hardwood makes efficient use of wood fibre for only the visible top veneer layer. More sustainable and fast-growing species are often used for the inner layers. Less old-growth forest wood is required to be compared to solid floors. Additionally, engineered floors can be easily refinished instead of fully replaced. The manufacturing process also creates very little usable scrap. Overall, engineered wood is an eco-friendly flooring choice.

6. Easier Installation for DIYers

Many engineered woods feature convenient click-lock or floating systems ideal for DIY installation. No glue or nails are involved – just interlocking planks that fit tightly together. The boards click or lock together evenly with no gaps. Large areas can be installed quickly without transition trim pieces. Most DIYers can install an engineered floor in just a weekend. All that is needed is a saw, spacers, pull bar, and rubber mallet. The floating installation works around obstacles, allowing you to replace flooring in one room without removing trim. Overall, engineered wood provides an easy, beginner-friendly flooring project.

Costs and Budgeting

Engineered wood does cost a bit more than laminate, ranging from $4-12 per square foot installed. Solid hardwood starts at $6 per square foot but lacks the benefits of engineering. Given the advantages of stability, exotic species, and wide planks, engineered hardwood provides an excellent return on investment. It can significantly increase the desirability and sale price of homes. Initial material costs are usually recouped upon selling the home. For aspirational flooring on a budget, engineered wood is ideal.

Maintenance Tips

Elevate the longevity and beauty of your engineered wood floors with meticulous maintenance, ensuring they remain a hallmark of your home’s elegance for years to come. Adherence to the manufacturer’s care instructions is paramount, offering a roadmap to preserving the pristine condition of your flooring. Here’s how to keep your floors in impeccable shape:

  1. Gentle Cleaning: Utilize a slightly damp mop or a dedicated hardwood cleaner for routine cleaning, steering clear of wet mopping to prevent moisture damage.
  2. Entrance Mats: Strategically place mats at doorways to capture grit and sand, acting as a first line of defence against surface scratches.
  3. Furniture Protectors: Equip furniture legs with felt protectors to effortlessly glide across your floors without leaving marks.
  4. Pet Care: Regularly trim pet nails to sidestep unsightly scratches, keeping your floors as inviting as they are durable.
  5. Sunlight Mitigation: Shield your floors from prolonged direct sunlight through windows, which can lead to discoloration and fading over time.
  6. Selective Refinishing: When signs of wear surface on the veneer layer, opt for refinishing with polyurethane or specialized hardwax oils, rejuvenating your floors while preserving their integrity.

Conclusion

With superior stability, exotic species options, wide plank availability, and easier installation, engineered hardwood offers tangible benefits compared to solid wood floors. Engineered floors stand up beautifully to busy family life. They add warmth and luxury to any home decor without high maintenance. For aspirational yet practical wood flooring, engineered hardwood is the clear choice.

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