Engineered Hardwood Flooring For Better Basement Floors

Engineered Hardwood Flooring For Better Basement Floors

Engineered Hardwood Flooring For Beautiful Basements

by Chris Copeland

If youre looking for that hardwood grandeur but dont want to risk the extremities of having it installed as basement flooring, then look no further than engineered basement flooring. Engineered basement flooring is a perfect balance of the hardwood look and the durability needed in basement flooring.

Probably one of the most asked questions that I see deal with this type of material. People simply want to know if they can use an Engineered wood floor in a basement? The simple answer is yes. Heres an easy diagram to follow on where you can install these types of floors:

Precautions. Now for the long answer. Yes they can be installed on this level as long as your concrete does not exceed a 4% moisture content. Unfortunately, since most all basements are either fully or at least partially under the ground they will have a higher relative humidity. If you are installing one here, typically a floating engineered wood floor is recommended. This allows you to use a vapor barrier made from 6 ml plastic sheets underneath to help protect it even more.

Engineered wood floors are built having multiple thin ply layers (usually three to seven layers cross-stacked) that are glued together. They are then laminated under extreme high pressure and heat to create a very water resilient flooring material. The inner cores are generally either a hardwood and/or soft plywood type of material. This inner core is what makes up the tongue and groove system. Plus engineered basement flooring is available in almost every type of hardwood rendition. Because engineered flooring is virtually impervious to humidity, its a perfect match for basement flooring application.

But theres really a lot more to this type of material, just watch this quick couple minute video from Rob Banks, co-founder of BuildDirect, as he explains some more of the anatomy of an engineered floor as well as what you should consider when buying them.

The Wear Layer Is An Important Factor

As we just saw in the video, Mr. Banks described a ton of different things about this type of floor. But one of the main things he even stressed in there is the importance of the wear layer and what you want out of it. Thats the main factor that will determine the lifespan of the floor (barring any catastrophes) as well as how many times you can refinish it, if needed.

Just for comparisons sake, if you look at standard solid hardwood flooring, you can typically refinish these around 7 times without exposing the nails used to keep them in place over its lifetime. This type of floor will generally last around 100 years. Compare that to a mid-range 4mm wear layer on an engineered plank. These planks can typically be refinished around 4 times and will last generally up to 80 years. Not a bad substitute for solid wood and a lot cheaper!

Engineered basement flooring can be either floated or glued down, but check with the manufacturer as to which application is suitable for their type of engineered flooring. Engineered flooring can be installed at basically any grade level and if your using it for basement flooring you can do it either with or without the subfloor, meaning you can go direct to concrete. However it is not advisible if you live in a humid environment or have a damp basement. A subfloor installation is always better in our opinion in this case before installing engineered basement flooring.

A Green-er Alternative

Heres something you probably didnt take into account when looking into engineered that you can actually feel better about. It is considered a green-er alternative and youd actually be doing your part to save the environment some. How? Well, it does contain a real wood layer, but not nearly as much as a solid. In fact, its been stated that for every square foot of solid, you can actually produce almost 4 times that in an engineered wood floor which helps to preserve more of our natural forests.

So, what are the other differences between engineered and hardwood floors when you go to look for basement flooring? Nothing really other than one is solid and the other is manufactured of strips. Other than that, they really run about the same price and visually you really cant tell a difference. The only real difference between these basement flooring options is durability and cleaning.

One of the big advantages of having engineered basement flooring is being able to utilize the exact same flooring throughout all levels in your home. From your kitchen flooring to your washroom flooring to your basement. Also they are very easy to maintain. You can sweep them or vacuum them. Mopping is discouraged for this type of basement flooring, however one little trick that we use is Windex and a Swiffer. A couple of little squirts and then use the swiffer like a mop over the sprayed surface works wonders in our home.

Lets Have A Little Q&A:

I get a lot of questions on different things coming to my inbox from this site so Ive decided to add some of those here.

Does the width really matter and does it make the floor stronger?

No it does not and it does not make the floor any stronger. The only factor that width plays in this type of flooring is aesthetic appeal. Generally speaking, smaller widths tend to lend to a more formal look while wider widths are used to present a more down-to-earth, friendly atmosphere.

What color floor should I use in my basement?

There is no one color thats better than another. Color is a personal choice that deals more with your own tastes and surrounding decor. However, since we are talking about a basement here and they are typically darker than other rooms with more natural light in a home, I often suggest using a natural light colored floor simply because it will lighten up the room. I dont usually suggest using dark colored flooring unless you have the proper lighting installed as well as natural light to pick up the rest.

Can I install it over a tiled floor?

Overall, engineered basement flooring is an excellent choice for those moderately humid or more tropical type climates but works just as well in sub-tropical climates. Thanks for dropping by Basement Flooring Guide and as always, if you have any questions or would like to know more on a specific basement flooring alternative, feel free to drop us a line.


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