Why Engineered Hardwood Can Be The Best Flooring Choice

Rod Lorenz

The timeless beauty of solid-wood hardwood flooring can last for generations. It’s pure wood, and as long as it’s properly finished and maintained, it’s not going anywhere for a long time.

Engineered hardwood flooring—which has a top layer of pure hardwood backed by crisscrossed layers of wood materials and adhesives—was once perceived as inferior to purely solid hardwood flooring. But the quality of engineered hardwood flooring has improved significantly.

Historically, most engineered hardwood floors could only be re-sanded once—or not at all. The top engineered hardwood flooring products today can be re-sanded at least twice.

That’s important because re-sanding is the key to a hardwood floor’s longevity. Refinishing can keep hardwood floors looking exquisite for many years, but re-sanding keeps them looking fresh (and increasingly classic) for generations.

The greatest selling point of engineered hardwood flooring is its greater stability. Each board in solid-plank flooring is milled from a single piece of timber, whereas engineered hardwood flooring is constructed from layers of plywood, fiberboard, scrap hardwood, or less-expensive hardwood from fast-growing species. A top layer of quality finished pure hardwood (the lamella) is then adhered to provide the hardwood-floor look that so many homeowners seek.

This structure makes engineered hardwood less susceptible to the expansions and contractions that naturally occur with solid wood flooring when temperature and humidity fluctuate.That’s why engineered hardwood flooring has become such a popular option in parts of the house with wide temperature and humidity swings, such as a kitchen or a basement entertainment room.

The problem has been that manufacturers made the lamella too thin so that they could market engineered hardwood at a lower price point than solid-wood flooring.

Now that manufacturers have recognized the demand at the high-end, custom level for engineered hardwood flooring, and engineered products exist that can be customized on site and won’t need to be replaced in 10 years or so, this option increasingly makes a lot of sense in many situations.

Ralph's is experienced at helping customers select the perfect engineered hardwood flooring for their needs--and then installing it expertly. Contact us to discuss any project you have in mind.

Image courtesy of Peter Kane, Creative Commons.

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