Engineered Hardwood Flooring Pros and Cons
Thinking about buying engineered wood floors? We compiled a list of some of the important
considerations you should take into account before making a decision, by creating an engineered wood floor comparison chart that reviews other popular engineered hardwood flooring alternatives.
In addition, the following comparison chart would allow you as well to better understand engineered hardwood flooring pros and cons as well as other wood flooring types.
However, since the various characteristics of different flooring types cannot be conveyed by words
or images alone, we have also partnered with leading online flooring wholesalers, and invite you to
choose up to 5 Free Flooring Samples of any kind, including engineered wood flooring samples.
All samples ship free, and would arrive within 1-2 business days straight to your door.
Obtaining free samples would allow you to really hold down the materials and test their quality and other attributes (e.g., durability, feeling of the texture, scratch-resistance, dimensions, color matching, etc.)
right from the comfort of your own home. To choose and receive your free samples, simply scroll down to the bottom of the following comparison chart and click on the button in the relevant column.
In addition, you can click here to get a free installation cost estimate for your project.
Wood Flooring Types Comparison: Engineered Hardwood Flooring vs. Solid Hardwood Flooring vs. Laminate Flooring:
|Engineered Hardwood Flooring||Solid Hardwood Flooring||Laminate Flooring|
|What is it made of||Several wood plies glued together, with a top veneer made of real hardwood, which as opposed to laminate floors, may be sanded and refinished depending on its wear layer thickness (the thicker it is, the more times it can be sanded).||Single piece of real wood, shaped down with tongue and groove edges. The planks can be either prefinished or unfinished (requiring the protective finish to be applied on-site).||A few layers of material fused together, generally includes a highly dense fiberboard layer, topped with a moisture resistant layer that is digitally rendered to imitate the look of real wood, and finished with a protective layer.|
|Durability||While engineered hardwood floors are not as durable as solid hardwood, they are much more suitable to various climate conditions; Since the top layer in engineered floors is made from real wood, its durability is also affected by its hardness, which is measured by the Janka hardness scale.||The durability of solid hardwood is influenced largely by the hardness of the specific wood specie in question, as measured by the Janka hardness scale (e.g, Brazilian cherry, with a 2345 Janka rating, is harder than American black cherry, that has a 950 Janka rating). However, appropriate care and maintenance would often influence how long the floors would actually last.||According to the AC Rating (a measure for laminate flooring durability) of the specific product in question (spans between 1-5; higher AC = more durable). Generally considered more durable than engineered flooring, as laminate flooring is completely synthetic.|
|Climatic Suitability||As opposed to solid wood, Engineered wood flooring suites geographical areas with extreme climate conditions, most preferably in locations with 30%-50% humidity. Usually can be installed over radiant heating.||Best suited on or above grade locations (not below ground, such as basements), and in areas with temperatures of about 60-70 Fahrenheit .||It is advised to install laminate flooring in climate-controlled areas.|
|Thickness||8mm – 15mm (also consider the thickness of the wear layer, that spans between 1.5mm - 4mm)||Usually 18mm (= 3/4″)||6mm – 15mm|
|Cost (material prices)||$1.50-$6 .00/sq ft (when comparing prices, it is important to take the thickness of the wear layer into consideration, as a thicker layer would allow refinishing the floor)||$2.00 - $8.00 /sq ft||$0.50 - $2.00 /sq ft|
|Total Cost (with Installaion)|
|Scratch and dent resistance||Fair to good, depends on the hardness of the specific wood specie chosen. Typically, can be sanded 1-2 times.||Even the hardest hardwood flooring can get scratched, however, solid wood can be sanded multiple times.||Good scratch resistance. specific AC hardness rating is a factor. cannot be sanded, yet a single plank can be easily replaced if damaged.|
|Can it be installed over radiant heat||A lot of engineered floors are designed to support radiant heating, as the core layer can handle temperature changes. See specific products info.||Not advisable; Solid hardwood would contract if exposed to changing moisture levels.||Generally yes.|
|Ease of DIY Installation||Depends on the installation method; some engineered floors allow for a click-lock installation, which is easier than glue/nail-down installation.||Requires a certain level of expertise (as the planks should be either nailed or glued down).||Easy installation as laminate flooring can be installed floating; previous experience in not necessarily required.|
|Areas commonly used||Similar to solid hardwood, only that engineered wood floors can be used in basements as well, as engineered wood does not expand due to moisture.||Virtually any room, except areas prone to wetness and moisture (such as bathrooms and basements). Harder wood species are recommended for high-traffic areas.||Very versatile, yet similar to engineered and solid wood, does not suit wet locations such as bathrooms (vinyl planks and porcelain tiles with a wood be suitable instead).|
|Warmth and Feel||Similar feel to solid hardwood, but also allows for a radiant heating installations.||Feels sturdy and solid, with a rich feel underfoot; At winter time can feel very cold, and as opposed to engineered wood, solid wood does not go along with radiant heating.||Feels and sounds quite artificial compared to engineered and solid hardwood. Would also feel quite hard underfoot.|
|Ease of Cleaning||A damp mop may be used periodically. Spills need to be cleaned up immediately, as similar to hardwood flooring, engineered wood flooring is not designed for lengthy exposure to liquids.||Similar to engineered flooring.||Spills need to be cleaned up immediately; avoid using excessive water or soap based detergents; stubborn stains can be removed using acetone.|
|Environment friendly||The manufacturing process of engineered wood often makes a more efficient use of available resources, makes less use of real wood and can include recycled materials, making it more eco-friendly.||Solid wood flooring requires cutting down trees, however, wood is a recyclable material, and the manufacturing process barely uses artificial chemicals.||Laminate flooring waste is far less recyclable than real wood, yet it is eco-friendly in the sense that almost no wood is utilized in its manufacturing process.|
|Dimensions||Length: random, Ranges 12″-84″; Width: 2.25″-7″.||Length: random, Ranges 12″-84″; Width: 2.25″-6″.||Length: usually ranges 47″-49″; Width: 5″-7″.|
|Colors and pattern variety||All traditional wood patterns and colors (including white oak, hickory, maple, and hand scraped floors).||All traditional wood patterns and colors.||Mimics all traditional wood patterns and colors.|
|Fading due to UV exposure||Yes.||Yes.||No.|
|Care and Maintenance||Similar general care to solid hardwood; Can be refinished a few times depending on the wear layer.||Keep clean from dirt and debris to avoid surface scratches. avoid impacts with sharp objects such as high heels. solid wood floors should be refinished about every 5 years to preserve them from long term wear. Protective pads are recommended. Use recommended cleaning solutions.||Relatively simple: keep clean, use protective floor pads for sharp and heavy furniture.|
|Pattern repetition||Similar to solid hardwood, each plank has unique natural pattern||Each plank is one of its kinds; hardwood from a rustic grade would contain more mineral streaks and knots.||Laminate printed pattern would usually repeat about every 10 planks.|
|Installation surface restrictions||Engineered hardwood suits better than solid hardwood for an installation right over a concrete, as it's less likely to contract and swell.||Thin solid hardwood installation should include a moisture barrier, (such as plywood subfloor); Thicker planks can be installed right over concrete. Always look for the manufacturer's instructions.||Can be installed over any hard flat surface in general (e.g, wood, tile, linoleum, yet not over carpet), Use an underlayment if installed right over concrete.|
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