Engineered Flooring Advantages and Disadvantages

Engineered Flooring Advantages and Disadvantages

engineered flooring pros and cons

Wrongly, many people assume that engineered wood is cheaper than solid wood flooring, but that’s not the case. Only entry-level engineered wood products are less expensive than solid wood.

Why then buy engineered wood instead of natural wood. you may ask?

Well. Engineered wood isn’t exactly an imitation of solid wood, with a picture of it at the top, as laminate flooring. Thats a bit different

Hardwood vs. Engineered Flooring

Engineered Wood Flooring Energy Performance

Like other wood products, engineered wood has a low thermal mass, which makes it unsuitable for passive heating and passive cooling strategies (see: Thermal Mass Rules for Floors and Walls );

Like other wood floor coverings, engineered wood doesn’t hold heat, which can be advantageous.

in rooms where the heating system is turned off during some parts of the day;

in homes with poor solar heat gains, where floors aren’t used for passive heating.

in hot climates with small diurnal temperature range, in cooling strategies (it doesn’t store heat);

Embodied energy (energy required to produce wood flooring): moderate.

E ngineered wood flooring involves a layer of true hardwood a layer about 1/12 to 1/4 (2 mm — 6 mm) thick and a core of several layers of plywood, or more exactly, thin sheets of wood glued together much like plywood. Those last layers amount to around 80%, or slightly more, of the plank.

Ok, you may say. Its not exactly an imitation of wood, but whats the point? Whats the advantage of engineered wood over solid hardwood flooring, if there isn’t a significant difference in price?

The advantages of engineered flooring

There is a big advantage. Engineered wood flooring is more structurally stable. In other words: it will not warp or budge like solid wood; wood, as a natural product, is more prone to problems.

Obviously, the fact that engineered flooring has only a top layer and thin layer of solid wood has also disadvantages; engineered wood flooring is not so resistant to deep scratches — and that’s its big drawback.

It’s true that engineered wood flooring is not as deep scratch-resistant as wood, and that is its big problem. But the idea that the thin sheets of wood at the core of engineered flooring makes it less strong or stable is largely unfounded. Quality engineered wood is a strong, stable and long-lasting product, far more resistant to moisture than solid wood. Engineered wood flooring offers higher dimensional strength.

Choosing a good engineered wood

If shopping for engineered wood, select a product with a well designed core and a thick enough top layer. That will provide up to three finishes, that is, you will be able to sand quality engineered woods up to three times (many hardwoods can be sanded up to seven times).

Thats the top layer that determines the appearance and the wear-resistance of the flooring and makes re-sanding possible; and that’s why it is important to select an engineered product with a thick top layer.

Also prefer engineered wood with a strong core (with three, four of five layers of cross-stacked substrate), and pay attention to the strip vs. panel issue. Tongue-and-groove engineered wood strips are stapled or glued to the subfloor, while long-plank panels are intended for floating installation, over concrete or below grade, with the boards glued to each other.

Engineered vs. Hardwood Flooring Prices

As mentioned earlier, choosing an engineered flooring instead of a solid wood flooring doesn’t mean that you will save money. Laminate flooring yes. will save you a lot of money, but engineered flooring may not save you much.

Expect prices of about $5-$10 per square feet installed (quality engineered wood products). That’s less than many solid wood flooring (prices up to $15 or more), but not less than the average solid wood. The hardwood layer of engineered wood comes in a wide variety of woods: red oak, white oak, maple, ash, bamboo, etc. The top layer involves also a finish, incorporating several coats of lacquer or oil.

Engineered wood flooring is sometimes cheaper because of smaller installation constraints in slab construction or in renovation projects where the flooring is installed directly over existing floors.

You can install engineered wood flooring directly over the cement, which you shouldn’t with solid wood. You can also, in some cases, install engineered wood directly over existing floors, due to its smaller thickness, which is rarely possible with solid wood. And this is also a way of saving money.

engineered flooring pros and cons

Wrongly, many people assume that engineered wood is cheaper than solid wood flooring, but that’s not the case. Only entry-level engineered wood products are less expensive than solid wood.

Why then buy engineered wood instead of natural wood. you may ask?

Well. Engineered wood isn’t exactly an imitation of solid wood, with a picture of it at the top, as laminate flooring. Thats a bit different

Hardwood vs. Engineered Flooring

Engineered Wood Flooring Energy Performance

Like other wood products, engineered wood has a low thermal mass, which makes it unsuitable for passive heating and passive cooling strategies (see: Thermal Mass Rules for Floors and Walls );

Like other wood floor coverings, engineered wood doesn’t hold heat, which can be advantageous.

in rooms where the heating system is turned off during some parts of the day;

Engineered Flooring Advantages and Disadvantages

in homes with poor solar heat gains, where floors aren’t used for passive heating.

in hot climates with small diurnal temperature range, in cooling strategies (it doesn’t store heat);

Embodied energy (energy required to produce wood flooring): moderate.

E ngineered wood flooring involves a layer of true hardwood a layer about 1/12 to 1/4 (2 mm — 6 mm) thick and a core of several layers of plywood, or more exactly, thin sheets of wood glued together much like plywood. Those last layers amount to around 80%, or slightly more, of the plank.

Ok, you may say. Its not exactly an imitation of wood, but whats the point? Whats the advantage of engineered wood over solid hardwood flooring, if there isn’t a significant difference in price?

The advantages of engineered flooring

There is a big advantage. Engineered wood flooring is more structurally stable. In other words: it will not warp or budge like solid wood; wood, as a natural product, is more prone to problems.

Obviously, the fact that engineered flooring has only a top layer and thin layer of solid wood has also disadvantages; engineered wood flooring is not so resistant to deep scratches — and that’s its big drawback.

It’s true that engineered wood flooring is not as deep scratch-resistant as wood, and that is its big problem. But the idea that the thin sheets of wood at the core of engineered flooring makes it less strong or stable is largely unfounded. Quality engineered wood is a strong, stable and long-lasting product, far more resistant to moisture than solid wood. Engineered wood flooring offers higher dimensional strength.

Choosing a good engineered wood

If shopping for engineered wood, select a product with a well designed core and a thick enough top layer. That will provide up to three finishes, that is, you will be able to sand quality engineered woods up to three times (many hardwoods can be sanded up to seven times).

Thats the top layer that determines the appearance and the wear-resistance of the flooring and makes re-sanding possible; and that’s why it is important to select an engineered product with a thick top layer.

Also prefer engineered wood with a strong core (with three, four of five layers of cross-stacked substrate), and pay attention to the strip vs. panel issue. Tongue-and-groove engineered wood strips are stapled or glued to the subfloor, while long-plank panels are intended for floating installation, over concrete or below grade, with the boards glued to each other.

Engineered vs. Hardwood Flooring Prices

As mentioned earlier, choosing an engineered flooring instead of a solid wood flooring doesn’t mean that you will save money. Laminate flooring yes. will save you a lot of money, but engineered flooring may not save you much.

Expect prices of about $5-$10 per square feet installed (quality engineered wood products). That’s less than many solid wood flooring (prices up to $15 or more), but not less than the average solid wood. The hardwood layer of engineered wood comes in a wide variety of woods: red oak, white oak, maple, ash, bamboo, etc. The top layer involves also a finish, incorporating several coats of lacquer or oil.

Engineered wood flooring is sometimes cheaper because of smaller installation constraints in slab construction or in renovation projects where the flooring is installed directly over existing floors.

You can install engineered wood flooring directly over the cement, which you shouldn’t with solid wood. You can also, in some cases, install engineered wood directly over existing floors, due to its smaller thickness, which is rarely possible with solid wood. And this is also a way of saving money.


Leave a Reply