Hardwood floors are one of the most classic and coveted flooring looks available for homes anywhere in the world. Hardwood has been used for centuries to create floors that are strong, durable and beautiful. Many different kinds of wood can be used for many different colors, patterns and other characteristics.
But there is a new kid in hardwood flooring town. Engineered hardwood is the choice of many new homeowners and builders. While it isn’t necessarily cheaper than hardwood, engineered hardwood does offer some benefits all its own. Before we get into that, though, what is engineered hardwood anyway?
Unlike normal hardwood flooring (which is exactly what it appears to be - a single piece of natural hardwood at all points of each individual board), engineered hardwood is made of layers of strong but affordable woods and materials, with a thin veneer of hardwood on top. Engineered hardwood is better, from a conservation standpoint, for global tree populations. It also has unique characteristics that make it appropriate where natural hardwood, and other flooring options, would not be the best choice.
Where to Use Engineered and Natural Hardwoods
In general, natural hardwood is a good choice for any rooms above grade (not basements or cellars). It isn’t the best choice, however, for bathrooms or kitchens that may experience a lot of dampness and humidity change. In these situations, as well as in rooms where the temperature fluctuates greatly, natural hardwood can warp and pucker, especially if incorrectly installed.
On the other hand, engineered hardwood is made to thrive in all kinds of home scenarios. Though it won’t perform well beneath standing water, engineered hardwood is perfectly at home in the basement or the bathroom. It is much more rigid, due to the construction inherent in its materials and layering, than natural hardwood, meaning that you won’t see unwelcome changes to your floor once it is installed.
The Pros and Cons of Hardwood and Engineered Hardwood
Ozburn-Hessey installs both kinds of flooring all around Nashville. We’ve noticed that natural hardwood is a bit more labor-intensive to install than engineered hardwood. It would certainly be more challenging for the beginner. It is important to provide the right stability and spacing for natural hardwood, something that is more easily perfected with engineered hardwood due to its incredible stability.
As costs go, one is not necessarily more expensive than the other. Oak hardwood flooring will likely be more expensive than an engineered variety, but more common hardwoods can be more affordable than the average engineered hardwood.
Both options last a long time. Natural hardwood may be sanded and refinished as many times as its thickness and hardness will allow. Engineered hardwood may only be able to be sanded down once or twice, though the owner will have to sand and refinish less often than with most natural hardwoods. It all depends on how your floor is used, but either can be a good choice.
Engineered and natural hardwoods are two of the best products on the market for beautiful and long-lasting flooring options. Ozburn-Hessey likes both. If you have questions about which is best for your project, let Ozburn-Hessey make some recommendations to help you decide.