Engineered hardwood floors are not solid hardwood. Only the top layer is finished real wood so that you get the look and feel of a hardwood floor.
The bottom layer, or core, is made up of stacked layers of fiberboard or plywood.
A benefit is that the core will expand and contract according to humidity levels in the air so as not to cup or warp the top layer of solid hardwood.
This makes engineered wood flooring great for basements or other damp areas in a home where one wouldn't normally install solid hardwood due to possible moisture issues.
It comes in a wide variety of domestic and exotic hardwood species. A rustic or handscraped style is also available. It can be used on any level of your home.
Many types of engineered hardwood floors can be floated or glued down. In this way, installation is easier for the do-it-yourself consumer.
The top layer is already sanded and sealed. Therefore, once this flooring is installed, it can be walked on and used immediately. Unlike solid hardwood, which needs to be coated, dried and cured after installation.
This type of flooring can be sanded only a limited number of times (Usually one to three times, depending upon thickness) to remove dings and scratches and refinish the surface.
The average lifespan is 20 to 30 years under normal wear and tear. If you consider purchasing engineered wood flooring, know that there are massive differences in quality. Pay attention to how it's made inside almost as much as you pay attention to how the top layer looks.
You should understand these differences before buying the "best deal" only to have it fail you soon after it is installed. It is almost always more expensive than laminate.
How-To-Hardwood-Floors.com recommends hiring a professional to sand the floor when it comes time as it can be easily damaged to reveal the plywood beneath.
This type of flooring is durable on the surface. It is slippery and often sounds hollow when walked on. It doesn't resist a pet's abuse as good as solid hardwood floors. If you have pets, especially bigger dogs, installing hardwood floors instead of engineered is probably the better option.
Certain styles can be removed from the home, if you are moving for example, to be installed in another location.
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