There’s no denying that real wood floors look great and provide lovely authentic natural flooring, but they do come with a lot of maintenance and a pretty hefty price tag.
So what to do if you want flooring that looks just like real wood for a fraction of the cost, but is also durable, suited to high traffic areas and long lasting?
If you are looking for the best hard floor solution that’s more realistic than laminate and hosts several benefits, even some that are better than real wood floors, then engineered wood flooring is the answer.
Pros of engineered wood flooring
In this blog post I will explore many of the pros and cons of engineered wood flooring so you can make an informed choice. First, here are the pros:
Real hardwood top layer
The top layer of engineered wood flooring is made from real wood. This means it looks as realistic as real wood flooring. Laminate flooring, on the other hand, has a printed image of wood for its top layer. Because the top layer of engineered wood flooring is real hard wood, it looks the real deal. This makes it a more believable wooden floor option over laminate.
More stable than real wood
All hard floors can be damaged with prolonged contact to water, especially flooding, but engineered wood has greater resistance to moisture and water than real wood. This is because it is made up of multiple layers of wood that make it more stable than real wood.
Less likely to warp
These multiple layers also make engineered wood flooring less likely to warp when compared to real wood. This means it is much better at withstanding temperature changes from hot to cold.
Can be used in kitchens and bathrooms
Providing you choose a high quality engineered wood flooring, it is suitable for use in bathrooms and kitchens where other flooring options might not be suited.
It can be refinished several times
Because it has a thick top layer of real hard wood, it can be sanded back and refinished several times to prolong its life. This means wear and tear and scratches will not mean having to replace an entire floor. You’ll be able to restore engineered flooring back to its original beauty.
Can be installed where real wood can’t
Again, thanks to these layers making the engineered wood more stable, it can be installed in places that real wood can’t. This means you can install it over underfloor heating systems or on top of concrete flooring which you wouldn’t be able to do with real wood.
Available in a variety of thicknesses
When choosing real wooden floors you are often limited by the thickness of the wood. Engineered wood comes in a vast range of thicknesses to suit your requirements. This is great news if you have different floor heights room to room and want the floor to be level and match.
Option to have really wide planks
As well as flexibility with the thickness, there is also a greater choice when it comes to the width of the planks. Real wood floor planks generally only come in a maximum width of 5 inches unless you find reclaimed wooden floors. Engineered wood floor planks can be as wide as 10 inches!
Simple to clean
I always favour hard floors over carpet as they are so easy to keep clean. Spills can be instantly mopped up. Food can be picked up and any residue wiped away with ease. Dust and debris can be swept or hoovered and is easy to see rather than getting trapped in piles of a carpet.
Easy to DIY
Like many laminate flooring options, engineered wood is easy for most people to install themselves. They often click together and can be installed over most existing floor types with ease. Wood floors are a little more complicated to lay as they can’t go over every floor type and need nailing down.
Thanks to its stability and real wood top layer it is very durable. It’s easy to maintain, clean and can withstand high footfall areas.
Huge choice of woods and colours
There’s a huge choice of woods available for engineered wood flooring, as well as different colours and even antique looks.
Cons of engineered wood flooring
Of course, there are also some disadvantages when it comes to engineered wood flooring, so you should always research these before doing costly home improvements. Here are some of the cons of engineered wood flooring:
There might be a hollow sound underfoot
Some engineered wood flooring can sound hollow under foot than like solid wood flooring. Make sure it is installed properly and either glued to its base or stapled to help prevent this issue.
It can’t be sanded as much as real wood
Engineered wood planks can be sanded back and re-protected several times, but they can’t be refinished as much as a real solid wood floor can. It will depend on how thick the top hard wood layer of the engineered floor is to how often it can be sanded and oiled. But, in another comparison, laminate flooring cannot ever be sanded and refinished.
Not all engineered wood flooring is created equal
Unfortunately, as with most things in life, there are manufacturers that use cheaper materials and cut costs. Make sure you search for a reputable company that makes high quality engineered flooring with a guarantee and using sustainably sourced wood.
More expensive option than laminate
It is more expensive than laminate flooring, but I think its benefits outweigh the difference in price. It’s cheaper than real wood floor and looks just the same, but with plenty more advantages. In the long run it will be more cost effective than laminate as it can be refinished and will last much longer.
Which is best – real wood, laminate or engineered wood flooring?
Personally I think engineered flooring can be a much better option than laminate or real wood when taking everything into consideration. The flexibility in size of planks, where it can be laid, its more affordable price and moisture resistance make it a great option over real wood flooring. For its authentic real wood top layer that can be sanded back for longevity it is a better option than laminate.
This is a collaborative post.
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