Contrary to some expectations, engineered hardwood is real wood. It is a “sandwich” of 1/16″ to 1/8″ of finished wood on top and non-finished plywood underneath. What you are dealing with is 100% genuine wood.
But did you know that there are times when its better to have plywood underneath? That’s right, the middle layer of plywood is laid cross-ways to the finish layer, providing additional strength and moisture barrier to the flooring.
Engineered Flooring Species Options
Whatever species of solid hardwood, there is an equivalent species of engineered wood flooring. For example:
- Engineered Hickory Hardwood: Rich, hand-scraped hickory gives your house a timeless feeling.
- Engineered Oak Hardwood: Traditional red oak is inexpensive and always looks great.
- Engineered Bamboo Hardwood: All bamboo flooring is engineered. Bamboo flooring is less expensive than other woods and “green” because it takes so much less growing time.
- Engineered Maple Hardwood: Maple has an elegant finish, appropriate for dining rooms, living rooms, and family rooms.
Engineered Wood Floor is Pre-Finished
The top finish layer is pre-finished, which means that it’s already sanded and sealed. As soon as the floor has been laid, you can walk on it. By contrast, unfinished solid hardwood must be sealed, and this requires waiting time before use. (Note: solid hardwood is available pre-finished, as well.)
Engineered Wood Flooring Can Be Sanded
The advantage of engineered wood flooring versus laminate flooring is that engineered wood can be sanded after scratches and dings develop. There are several catches to keep in mind, though:
Limited Sanding: Engineered flooring cannot be sanded more than 1-3 times (depending on the thickness of the finish layer).
Professional Sanding Recommended: Because of the low tolerance for failure with sanding engineered wood, you should always have a professional do the sanding. It is very easy to gouge your engineered wood floor, revealing the plywood underneath.
What About Areas With Light Moisture?
Engineered wood flooring works well in kitchens, basements, and bathrooms where light moisture might be present. Still, it doesn’t hold up to really wet areas such as basements that flood frequently. Nor does it hold up to kids’ bathrooms which, as you may know, tend to flood frequently.
Value of Engineered Flooring
Engineered flooring is more expensive than laminate, however, it provides better value in the long-run because it has a more “real” wood look and it can be periodically sanded to revive the wood grain and erase scratches.