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Engineered Wood Flooring Basics

When the decision is made to put in hardwood floors, you can go with solid hardwood or engineered wood. The difference between the two may not be as evident at first glance, but if you explore a bit deeper into the way they’re made, you will see that engineered wood flooring can be a reliable and affordable alternative.

What is Engineered Flooring?

The biggest determination that identifies engineered wood is the way it’s manufactured. Yes there is actual real wood involved in the production of this type of flooring. But what you may not realize is that the material is made up of multiple layers of plywood. On top of those layers is a veneer of wood that consists of a species that you would actually want as the material of your flooring.

So when you choose oak or maple for your wood flooring, you are really selecting the top portion of the wood, everything underneath is just plywood. Due to this composition, you’re going to end up paying less for this material choice. It’s less costly than solid hardwood because you’re basically purchasing a facade of expensive wood.

You can find engineered wood in a wide variety of wood species that come with surface effects and textures that are designed to emulate the natural patterns and grains that you would typically find on the various species that are available.

Advantages of Engineered Wood

One of the best advantages to getting engineered wood flooring in your home is that you can select the type of wood that is ideally suited for the age and architecture type of your house. There are functional advantages to go along with those aesthetic benefits.

Installing engineered wood boards in your home means you have a flooring option that is ready to see even high foot traffic on day one. This material is also well-suited for areas of the home where solid wood cannot be installed, such as basements and on top of concrete. But perhaps the biggest advantage you can enjoy with engineered wood is that you, that’s right you, can lay down this flooring option yourself.

It certainly helps if you have some level of skill at tackling home improvement projects like this. You can buy the wood and lay it down inside of a weekend. But for those of you who don’t feel comfortable about trying their hand at installing their own wood flooring, N-Hance Wood Refinishing in San Marcos, CA┬ácan help do the work for you.

Installation Options

So now that you know engineered wood is suitable for use in areas of the home that may not permit the use of solid hardwood and it’s easy to install yourself, here are just some of the ways in which engineered wood flooring can improve the look and feel of the home.

The Basement

You wouldn’t dare attempt to install hardwood flooring in a basement. Not with all of the moisture and humidity that gets down there. These impacts can make wood floor utterly impossible to maintain in those conditions, but not with engineered wood. This is a material that can withstand such impacts, particularly with respect to the natural expanding and contracting that might occur with wood.


Engineered wood transfers warmth much better than thick solid wood boards. This type of material doesn’t require nails or staples either when you’re installing it. So that doesn’t just make it easier to put in, but you can place it in areas that may have wires and hot-water pipes or tubing that could be damaged or negatively affected by installation of solid wood alternatives.

What about Refinishing Engineered Wood?

It’s possible to do but not too often. Remember, engineered wood flooring is made with a thin wood veneer placed on top of those plywood layers. That veneer can only handle a few turns with a sander or a buffer depending on how thick the veneer might be. Some of them can be as thin as 2 or 3 millimeters so you need to be careful about how much you try to erase the scrapes and scuffs that can occur over time.

Cost of Installing Engineered Wood

As we’ve established, engineered wood can be installed by the homeowner for no cost. So the difference in price is significantly in favor of the consumer on that end. But comparing the costs of purchasing engineered wood over solid hardwood, the former can run about 20-25% more than the latter. Combine the two together and engineered wood is still the cheaper option overall.

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