What Are Engineered Wood Floors? Part 1 of 2

What Are Engineered Wood Floors? Are They Right for You? (Part 1)                   

What do you know about engineered wood floors? They’ve been around since the ‘60s and make up about 30 percent of wood flooring sold in the country. Like their solid wood counterparts engineered floors come in a variety of species, but they offer certain advantages over solid woods when it comes to durability, versatility, and economy. First, though, a brief primer.

How Are Engineered Wood Floors Made?

Engineered wood floors have a hardwood veneer known as the wear layer, or skin. Beneath the skin are secondary layers of wood veneer that form a plywood core. Each layer of the core is laid at a 90 degree angle to its neighboring layer to strengthen the composite. The layers are glued together and milled into strips that look like solid planks. The hardwood skin is usually coated with five or more layers of polyurethane for protection.

How Much Do Engineered Wood Floors Cost?

Engineered wood floors can run about 20 percent more than unfinished solid planks, however you can make up that cost on installation, staining, and sealing. Prices can range from $3 to $14 per square foot, based on quality class. (We discuss cost in greater detail in Part 2).

How Durable Are Engineered Wood Floors?

Warranties on the finish of your engineered wood floor can range from 10 to 30 years under normal wear and tear. You may find that most companies will offer lifetime warranties against the delamination of the veneer.

How Do You Maintain Engineered Wood Floors?

Maintenance is relatively easy. Mop your floors using a microfiber cloth and a wood floor cleaner to remove dirt that could scratch the finish.

Quality: What Should You Look For?

To judge the quality of engineered wood flooring options look for three things: the thickness of the hardwood wear layer (the top skin of the wood), the number of veneers in the core (the more the better), and the number of finish coats (the more the better). All of these factors affect price and warranty. (We discuss quality in greater detail in Part 2).

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