Wood floors make your home warm and inviting, and add to its resale value. With due care and maintenance, they also last much longer than most other types of flooring.
While hardwood is an evergreen flooring choice, improvements in manufacturing technology have made engineered flooring a more durable and cost-effective option. With its many modern features and usability, many homeowners, contractors and interior designers are choosing engineered flooring over solid hardwood.
Unfortunately, there remain a number of myths surrounding it. Let’s debunk them now.
Myths (and Facts) About Engineered Hardwood Floors
Engineered hardwood flooring is usually preferred as an affordable alternative to solid hardwood flooring. But despite its undeniable benefits and rising popularity, many consumers still shy away from this flooring option due to the misconceptions surrounding it.
Below, we debunk seven common myths about engineered wood floors.
Myth #1: Engineered Hardwood Floors Are Not Durable
Fact: Since engineered hardwood is not made of 100% wood, it’s easy to believe it’s not strong and durable. In reality, it’s sometimes even stronger than solid wood. Real hardwood can naturally expand, contract, warp or cup when exposed to different environmental factors. Engineered hardwood planks are of course manufactured differently. They still consist of wood, but instead of a single plank, they’re made of multiple layers of plywood bonded together. These are then topped with a solid wood lamella (top layer). This unique construction makes them extremely tough and capable of withstanding heavy traffic in both residential and commercial setups.
Myth #2: You Can’t Refinish Engineered Hardwood
Fact: Whether you can refinish an engineered hardwood floor has more to do with the thickness of its veneer than the material itself. This is because each time you sand engineered flooring, you’re wearing away a little bit of its thickness. Hence, you can usually refinish your engineered hardwood floors one to two times during its lifespan before you need to start thinking about replacing it.
Myth #3: Engineered Hardwood Floors Are Difficult to Install
Fact: Since solid hardwood boards are milled directly from a thick piece of wood, their thickness usually varies between 7/16-inches and ¾-inches. Engineered hardwood boards are constructed by joining several high-density fiberboard layers and then packing them between a solid wood top layer and hardwood backing. As a result, they’re tougher and wider than regular solid hardwood planks. As wide boards cover greater areas, they need fewer joins across the floor, making them easy to install. While you must either staple or nail solid hardwood planks to install them, you can staple, nail, float or glue engineered hardwood boards. The click-lock or glue-down varieties of engineered hardwood are quite popular with DIY flooring installers.
Myth #4: Engineered Hardwood Has Limited Design Options Compared to Real Wood
Fact: While solid wood flooring comes in a range of species and grades, they’re often quite expensive. Engineered flooring offers a greater range of colours, grades and finishes, all to suit your taste and budget. This means that you can achieve the look you want without the high prices. No matter your design preference – be it antique, classic or contemporary – you’ll find engineered wood flooring to match your style.
Myth #5: Engineered Floors Are Fake Compared to Solid Wood Floors
Fact: This might be true for very inexpensive varieties, but high-quality engineered floors look and feel exactly like solid wood. The only difference between them lies in their structure and number of layers. However, these differences aren’t visible once the flooring is installed, and there’s no way to look at quality engineered wood and know it’s not solid wood.
Myth #6: Engineered Flooring Is Only Suitable for Basements and Condos
Fact: While engineered hardwood makes a great flooring option for damp and humid spaces, it can be installed almost anywhere in a home or building. Compared to solid wood, engineered wood doesn’t expand and contract with heat and moisture fluctuations, making it less susceptible to warping, cracking or buckling. Therefore, it delivers enhanced stability during normal, seasonal and environmental changes at home. Engineered flooring can be nailed, glued or floated, and can be installed on concrete and over radiant heat applications.
Myth #7: Engineered Floors Are Difficult to Maintain(h-3)
Fact: If you’re looking for a flooring material that looks good but doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, engineered flooring is a good option. Over time, solid hardwood floors tend to lose their luster and develop scratches and cracks. While refinishing is a common solution, doing so repeatedly can eat into the top layer of wood and create inhalation hazards due to any chemicals used. Engineered floors, by contrast, don’t need the same level of care and maintenance, and need only be refinished once or twice over their entire life. You can also choose different veneers, treatments and coatings, depending on the level of wear and tear your floor will experience.
When your heart is set on hardwood floors, it can be difficult to choose between solid and engineered wood. While one is expensive and 100% real wood, the other is affordable yet identical to solid wood. However, now that you know the facts about engineered hardwood flooring, making your choice shouldn’t be so difficult.