Engineered Hardwood Flooring: Quality and Performance Comparison

Engineered Hardwood Flooring Overview

Engineered hardwood floors are typically made of thin layers of wood sandwiched together with adhesives. The core layers are composed of plywood, particleboard, or fiberglass while the top layer (what you see every day) is a wood veneer. The use of a thin veneer of real hardwood as opposed to the entire thickness of the floor plank, makes this a cost-effective choice.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring vs Solid Hardwood

Solid wood planks are made up of a single solid piece of hardwood. An engineered wood in the other hand, it is comprised of several layers of plywood and finished with a thick veneer surface on top, which is the layer that you see and get in contact with every day.

Engineered hardwood can usually withstand higher levels of humidity and therefore is less likely to expand when compared to solid wood flooring. This gives you the ability to glue, float or staple this product over a concrete slab, unlike the alternative that must be attached to a subfloor with nails or a strong flooring adhesive. Some engineered hardwood planks are even designed with interlocking mechanisms where no glue is needed.

The resale market makes zero distinction between engineered hardwood and solid hardwood, so there is no need to be concerned about the return on investment. In fact, engineered wood that runs throughout your home may enable you to command a higher price than those who have solid hardwood in a few key spaces. High-quality, well-installed engineered wood can be just as durable as solid hardwood floors.


Engineered Hardwood vs Laminate

Engineered hardwood and laminate floors are both layered composites. Although this is pretty much the only similarity between the two. We know that engineered hardwood uses layers fused together topped with a layer of real wood. Laminate, on the contrary, is often comprised of a single layer of high density fiberboard or HDF and is topped with a photographic image layer that looks like hardwood.

Engineered hardwood is usually better for your resale value since it is generally considered as good as solid hardwood and tends to be just as expensive. Laminates tend to be much more budget friendly but often do not look as nice as engineered wood floors. Laminate floors offers a lot in terms of practicality and durability, but very little in terms of resale value.


Engineered Hardwood vs Waterproof Floors

Waterproof floors are becoming more and more popular in households with children or pets because its highly resistant to water, scratches, and damage. However, they are not completely indestructible. Waterproof floors’ top layer is sometimes made of vinyl, and since vinyl is a somewhat soft rubbery material, it can dent under the weight of furniture and appliances, or tear, typically when something sharp or heavy is dropped or dragged over it.

On the other hand, since the top layer is real hardwood, some engineered hardwood floors can be more resistant to dings, although less resistant to scratches given their polyurethane finishes. Even so engineered hardwoods are built to last. These floors should endure and keep their beauty for a minimum of 20 years with proper cleaning and maintenance.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring Cost Expectations Versus the Competition

In some cases, you must be prepared to sacrifice beauty for savings when solely considering price. Natural products like solid hardwood and engineered hardwood floors are often more expensive than laminate or waterproof floors because they cannot be mass-produced in the same scales as these man-made products.

Natural products like solid and engineered hardwood floors also tend to be more beautiful given their authentic shade variations and the fact that each of their planks are unique looking. In contrast, both qualities are extremely difficult, if not impossible to replicate on man-made products like waterproof and laminate floors.

In terms of cost, good quality solid wood floors will probably cost you from $5 to $10 per square foot, without considering the cost of labor. If you choose an engineered hardwood floor, it might save you money, but it will not necessarily be budget friendly as on average you can expect to pay between $4 and $7 per square foot for a good quality product.

Laminate floors and waterproof floors are an extremely popular flooring option because they are so affordable. You can often achieve a nice looking hardwood-like floor without breaking the bank. Prices vary by brand of course, but on average Laminate costs between $1 and $3 per square foot. Waterproof floors are also an extremely affordable alternative, generally costing between $2 and $4 per square foot.

When deciding on which floor is best for your home, it is also important to consider the durability, sustainability, and lifespan of the product. There are plenty of alternatives to traditional hardwood flooring, so be sure to consult with our team of flooring experts to ensure you’re getting the best product for your needs. Cleaning and maintenance practices are also important as some product might not be the best match for some people. The cost of labor also varies from product to product so should be considered as well when making the choice.  Each material has its pros and cons and making the right decision for your home, you will have to consider every aspect. Get in touch with JC Floors Plus today to discuss which option is right for you.