So you’ve studied all the different types of wood flooring and concluded that engineered wood is best for you. But now what? Determining the best-engineered wood flooring for your home is more complicated than it sounds.
There are so many things to contemplate! What attributes should you look for in the best engineered wood flooring? What characteristics should you avoid? Which engineered woods are the most durable? What types can be refinished? And with so many manufacturers, what is the best engineered wood flooring brand to buy?
Fret not, friend. We’re going to explain all of these questions (and more) below—as we show you how to pick the best engineered wood flooring for your home.
We’re going to include a lot of information here, so please feel free to reach out to us with any particular questions! Our business of flooring experts is here to help.
What is engineered wood flooring?
You almost surely know this now, but we’ll get it out of the way right now. If you think engineered wood flooring is a kind of fake wood flooring, you are just plain mistaken.
Engineered wood flooring may not be solid ultimately, but it is natural wood. Precisely, it’s a layer of solid wood fixed to a composite wood centre. As such, it’s essentially impossible to tell the distinction between solid and engineered wood once they’re placed.
Engineered wood cores are typically made out of plywood, but some products use fiberboard alternatively. We’ll talk more about that later. The top layer of solid wood, pronounced the veneer, is a strip of genuine hardwood and can originate from just about any tree varieties.
Qualities to keep an eye out for in the best engineered wood flooring
Let’s talk about the features you will want to examine in the best engineered wood flooring products.
Always look for a deeper veneer (if you want the life of your floors to be extended)
When it comes to engineered wood flooring, you should constantly look for a thicker veneer layer. This enables the flooring to be refinished later, which can save you big bucks. Refinishing allows for resurfacing of the timber instead of replacement.
If there’s not quite enough wood in the veneer layer to allow for sanding, you cannot refinish your engineered wood flooring. And if you can’t refinish your floors, you are essentially out of luck once they’re worn out.
You’ll find various veneer thicknesses on the engineered wood market of 1mm–3mm and over. CarpetAceadvises a veneer layer of at least 3 mm, as veneers of this diameter can be sanded and refinished 2 or more intervals.
Look for a strong wood species for your veneer.
Choosing your wood species, which is the type of tree your wood comes from, is one of the most exciting parts of picking a new floor. There are tons of various tree species out there, each with a different, attractive look. But some are indeed more enduring than others. So can you have beauty and durability?
Our range of oak timber flooring is gorgeous and a perfect fit for any style or interior.
The best engineered wood flooring usually has a high-quality plywood core.
One of engineered wood’s significant benefits over solid wood flooring types: it can allow fluctuations in temperature and humidity. It’s one of the causes that engineered wood flooring is often a better option for kitchens and basements. It’s also what allows homeowners to fit comfy wood floor bathrooms.
But are all cores built equal, you ask? Certainly not. As we said, engineered wood cores are generally made from fiberboard or plywood. Both these elements are made from natural wood, but their production is a little different.
Fiberboard is created from random chunks of wood glued collectively under pressure. Plywood is constructed with individual wood fibres glued perpendicularly, often termed a grain pattern.
When it comes to durability and strength, plywood triumphs over fiberboard.
And look for plywood with a greater number of layers.
The amount of layers in your plywood also performs a part in finding the best engineered wood flooring. The typical scale is 3-9 layers, but some floors offer more layers (or plies), the more enduring and high-quality the result.
Of course, plywood with 9 plus layers will likely raise the cost of the flooring. Like mother always stated, you get what you pay for.
The more layers of polish, the more enduring your engineered wood floor
Most engineered wood flooring arrives with a factory finish—usually 5-9 finish coats—so you don’t have to bother about any messy applications once your new floors are placed. Once again, we’d suggest ensuring you have at the smallest 5 coats of finish, or you may be refinishing (or bleaching your wood floors) quicker than you’d like.
Some of the best engineered wood flooring stocks even offer textured finishes that can create attractive or antique appearances if that’s your thing.
Qualities to dodge in engineered wood flooring
Let’s be realistic. There are pros and cons, disadvantages and advantages to just about every type of flooring on the market. Engineered wood is no exception. But suppose you keep the following advice in mind. In that case, you can dodge almost all of the engineered wood disadvantages you may have learned about.
With that in thought, here’s what you should dodge if you’re looking for the best engineered hardwood.
Avoid stocks that lack a UV-protective finish.
As stated, there are pros and cons of hardwood flooring. One of the disadvantages: wood (solid or engineered) can fade in straight sunlight if it doesn’t have a UV-protective coating. If your floors are in the sun a lot (and we’re not just speaking concerning sunroom flooring here), make sure to buy UV-protected flooring.
If your sought after engineered wood doesn’t occur with such a finish, ask your local flooring specialists about other choices.
Avoid softer wood varieties (for longevity and resale worth)
The fact about engineered hardwood flooring is that it can be one of the most durable wood flooring choices out there. But all wood flooring varieties are susceptible to damage from kids, pets, heels, you name it.
Engineered wood floors are no exemption, no matter how deep the veneer layer. So do yourself a favour—bypass softer wood species. Pine flooring and Douglas fir flooring, for example, are both “softwoods”. Solid softwoods may last for a long time, but they need to be refinished more frequently as they’re more easily scratched. And with engineered wood, frequent refinishing can soon wear through your floors—and goodbye resale worth.
We don’t want to make it appear like softer woods don’t make great floors. They do! But picking between a hardwood and a softwood is like deciding between carpet vs laminate, tile vs laminate, or even tile vs wood. They’re all incredible types of flooring, but they each have upsides and downsides. And when it gets to longevity in engineered floors, harder woods are the route to go.
Avoid engineered hardwood with a veneer smaller than 2mm
When the veneer sheet of an engineered stock is thin—1mm or less—it can’t be sanded and refinished at all. Once again: goodbye resale worth.
That indicates you should avoid purchasing an engineered wood floor with a veneer layer smaller than 2mm. If that throws a sprain in your budget, maybe think about looking at other options like laminate or various types of vinyl flooring. These days, it’s challenging to tell the distinction between vinyl plank and actual hardwood.
Plus, while water-resistant wood flooring is almost challenging to achieve, these hardwood floor alternatives are usually totally waterproof.
Avoid engineered wood floor brands that offer low-quality products
The cons of engineered wood flooring are not common. Nevertheless, we would be negligent if we didn’t talk regarding the elephant in the room: volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Some manufacturers of engineered wood have been identified to use glue that includes formaldehyde in their stocks. These floors go through an off-gassing method once they’re installed—which can be dangerous to your family’s wellness and health.
But fortunately, most manufacturers do not utilise these adhesives, which is why you need to purchase your flooring from a local flooring store rather than a large nationwide store. They specialise in this and don’t sell low-quality stocks as the larger stores may do.
How much does the best engineered wood flooring cost?
We are going to be realistic. The trail gets a little muddy when discussing price. The cost to install engineered wood floors ranges widely. You can pay varying amounts, depending on the materials, installation costs, and the size of the area you need to cover.
It also depends on the variety of wood, the diameter of the veneer layer, and the quality of the core (particularly, the number of plies).
If you’re searching for ideas on replacing flooring on a budget, contact CarpetAce for a free in house quote. We come to you with our mobile showroom.