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What Are the Disadvantages of Engineered Hardwood?

If you’re upgrading your flooring, your options may overwhelm you. Among the available products is engineered hardwood, a popular flooring type among many homeowners. It provides a natural hardwood aesthetic at a reduced price.

As with most things, however, price reductions often come with quality reductions, and engineered wood is no different.

The Difference Between Hardwood & Engineered Hardwood

Sitting room with light woodgrain engineered hardwood flooring.

Every tree species has its own properties, so your choice of wood will determine the longevity of your flooring. Hardwood flooring is usually made from solid slabs of hard-wearing timber like oak or walnut, which can last a century.

Engineered wood flooring is usually made from five to seven layers, each of which is an opportunity for moisture intrusion and warping. The top layer can be constructed from hard or soft wood, with the latter offering the shortest life span. 

Not all top layers are made alike. Their width range can be anywhere from 0.6 mm to 6 mm. This is often layered over secondary wood veneers and a plywood core.

Most manufacturers will only offer a 10-year guarantee, which tells you all you need to know about its longevity. Engineered wood lacks the robustness of solid hardwood and can only provide 10% of its life span. 

The Pros & Cons

Engineered hardwood gives you a lustrous surface at a fraction of the price of solid hardwood. It’s cheap to replace and has an elegant look. It’s temperature-resistant and could even add to your property value. That doesn’t tell the whole story, though.

Engineered wood will:

  • Dent and scratch faster than other options
  • Only tolerate two restorations
  • Offer a service life of 10 to 20 years
  • React poorly to humidity and flooding
  • Warp in humid climates

Restoration Options

If hardwood flooring develops scratches or dents, a simple resurface will correct the problem — one of many reasons solid wood floors offer a longer service life. You can safely bet on 10 restorations with a solid wood floor. 

Since engineered wood flooring’s top layer is too thin for more than two restorations, a full replacement is the only way to treat imperfections. 

Pricing

Engineered products’ high-maintenance requirements have an important impact on price. They might be cheaper upfront, but their lifetime costs add up quickly. Sometimes, a higher initial outlay is the most affordable option, and that’s certainly the case with wood flooring.

Maintenance 

Engineered wood floors are a high-maintenance option that requires a special water-based cleaning product. Only their top layer is water resistant, meaning surface water can lead to warping.

It’s crucial to avoid excessive liquid and dry thoroughly after mopping. Your floors will respond equally poorly to high humidity, forming peaks at the seams every time the weather changes. 

If you’ve chosen engineered wood, say goodbye to the wax-based products you rely on to give your hardwood floor a richer aesthetic. It will make your surface slippery and dull. Maintenance will require a fastidious dusting routine and protective mats. You’ll also also need furniture pads to prevent accidental scrapes. 

Low-Quality Core

Engineered hardwood has an inferior core that’s sensitive to impact. Its layers will expand and contract, ultimately leading to warping. Sunlight will cause fading, so these products are unsuitable for sunlit rooms.

Why Choose AG Construction? 

AG Construction prides itself on offering affordable, customized flooring installations. Our team brings decades of collective experience to every home. We’ve been offering full-service flooring services for over a decade.

We’re MHIC-licensed and connected to all the top manufacturers. As an Angi and Home Advisor prize winner, we can assure you of consummate quality.

Ready to explore your flooring options? Contact AG Construction at (240) 246-4561 for a free quote.

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hardwood staircase with iron spindles
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