Which flooring will suit your needs - Engineered or Real Wood?
There is a great deal of debate over the differences between engineered and solid hardwood flooring. The manufacturer of each product claims theirs is the best, making it hard to separate the truth from the sales pitch. Here are the facts about each, so you can make an informed decision when itís time to put new floors in your home.
One big difference between the flooring choices is the installation. Solid hardwood has one consistent grain throughout each stick of lumber. It will expand and contract. For this reason, it must be nailed down to a wood structure with an expansion gap on all sides to prevent buckling. It can only be installed above grade, and is not recommended for kitchens, bathrooms, or radiant heat floors.
Engineered hardwood is created by layering the wood grains across each other. This minimizes expansion or contraction, allowing the floor to be glued down, nailed down or simply floated. Unlike solid flooring, it can be installed in your basement, over radiant heating systems, in kitchens and even bathrooms.
Wide and Long Planks
If you love the look of wide planks in the floor, then you will want to go with engineered flooring. The cross-ply construction makes this flooring more stable. Solid hardwood boards are prone to bowing and cupping if the boards are not narrow. Engineered boards are also available in longer lengths. While this may not matter in a small room, it can make a big difference in a large area. Using longer planks reduced the number of seams and creates a smoother floor.
One of the greatest benefits of solid wood is that it can be refinished two to three times, allowing you to extend the life of the floor. What most people donít realize is that engineered flooring can also be refinished one to two times. Another little-known fact is that the factory finishes available on most floors are incredibly strong. Thanks to the high quality of the finishes, you may not ever have to sand the floor.
Uniformity and Stability
Because engineered flooring is carefully pieced together, the planks are incredibly uniform. Solid hardwood flooring can have a less uniform appearance as it is taken directly from nature. In terms of stability, engineered flooring is absolutely superior to solid hardwood. This may not be an issue in some applications, but it is vital if you are using wider planks, have a concrete subfloor or want to use the flooring in the basement.
One area where engineered wood surpasses solid flooring is in selection. The cost of solid, Brazilian cherry hardwood floors would be astronomical. However, you can purchase engineered flooring with a Brazilian cherry veneer without breaking the bank.
In the end, which one is better depends on your budget and installation requirements. If you are installing it in a second floor bedroom, you can choose affordable solid flooring. However, if you are buying it for a basement, or want an exotic wood choice, then engineered is by far the best option.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Colin McDonald writes on behalf of Floors 2 Go -†Solid wood flooring