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What is engineered wood flooring?

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Conklin Bros installing  engineered hardwood flooring

Happy New Year, everyone, and welcome to Conklin Bros.’ ongoing series on flooring topics! In this series, we’ll cover ideas on how to choose the perfect flooring, the pros and cons of each kind of flooring, and what floor coverings will best suit your home and your needs.

 

Engineered Wood Flooring

Some of the questions we get asked a lot are, “What is engineered wood flooring? Is there a difference between engineered wood flooring and solid wood floors?” In this article, we’ll cover the answers to these and how to make sure you get the right floor for your lifestyle.

Engineered versus Solid Wood Flooring

Solid wood flooring is constructed of planks made from a single piece of wood with tongue and groove edges milled in and dried in a kiln. These are then pressure-treated and coated with a durable finish that enhances the wood’s grain and protects it from damage.

Engineered wood is actually the more common type of flooring. Engineered wood flooring is constructed by gluing together a number of wood plies, with a veneer layer of real hardwood glued on top. The plywood underneath the real hardwood veneer is referred to as the core board.. As with regular wood flooring, the wood is treated with a varnish to protect and beautify the wood.

Side View of Engineered Flooring with sub floor

Advantages and Drawbacks of a Solid Wood Floor

The advantages of a solid wood floor include greater durability and less chance of the wood being damaged, due to its thicker profile. This kind of floor can also greatly increase the value of your home if you elect to sell it in the future, and has a long lifespan compared to many kinds of floors. It is also available in a range of textures, grains, colors and styles, allowing you to customize your floor however you like.

The downside of a solid wood floor is they are not available in the range of types and styles engineered wood floors are.  Solid wood floors are also prone to warping, flexing and cracking in areas of high humidity or moisture, making it a poor choice for basements, bathrooms, powder rooms, and kitchens.

New flooring installed and looking fantastic!

Advantages and Drawbacks of an Engineered Wood Floor

Engineered wood flooring is available in a range of thicknesses and types, ranging from 3-12 plies and 1.5mm-10mm in thickness. Because the top layer, also known as a veneer strip or wear layer, is attached to stronger and less expensive under plies, this type of flooring is actually more durable than solid wood floor. Because of the construction process, engineered wood is less prone to water damage and warping than solid wood, making it a better choice for areas of high moisture. With engineered wood, additional underlayment is unnecessary, although you may still want to have one just for the additional structural stability or height concerns.

The drawback of an engineered wood floor is the veneer strip can be relatively thin, making the floor susceptible to damage and refinishing the floor once or twice on average before the floor has to be taken out and replaced.

How do I know which is right for my home?

A great deal depends on what kind of foot traffic you’re expecting. With the rainy weather and high humidity of the Bay Area, you’ll probably want an engineered hardwood floor because of its higher resistance to moisture conditions. The thickness of the wear layer you choose depends on the kind and amount of foot traffic you expect. If you have small children or adolescents, a lot of pets, or both, you will likely want an engineered hardwood floor. However, if you are flooring an upstairs bedroom or an area with lighter traffic that is not as subject to humidity, a solid hardwood floor may be a better choice. You’ll also want to consider whether you anticipate staying in your home or selling within the next several years.

At Conklin Bros., we offer the finest solid and engineered hardwood flooring from top manufacturers such as Armstrong, Mannington, and Hallmark. We also have over a century of experience helping Bay Area residents choose the perfect floor for their needs and lifestyle. If you’re still not sure which floor best meets your needs, come down to our showroom and talk to one of our flooring experts today to find the right floor at the right price!

 

Close up view of new flooring

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