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What Is Engineered Flooring? Your Ultimate Guide in 2024

Renovating a room can be a blast. Picking out new paint colors, hunting for the perfect furniture, and adding those little details that make a space truly yours.

But there’s one element that often gets overlooked: flooring. 

The right flooring can completely transform a room, making it look fresh and stylish — and engineered flooring might be the best bet for your renovation plans. It’s versatile, durable, and comes in various styles that suit any decor. 

Whether you’re redoing your living room, updating your kitchen, or giving your bedroom a new look, engineered flooring has something to offer.

But first, what is engineered flooring?

Engineered flooring is a type of wood flooring that offers the beauty of hardwood with added durability. 

Unlike solid hardwood, which is made from a single piece of wood, engineered flooring consists of multiple layers. These layers are stacked and bonded together under high pressure.

The top layer is real hardwood, giving it an authentic look and feel. Beneath this layer, several layers of plywood or high-density fiberboard (HDF) provide stability and strength. This construction makes engineered flooring more resistant to changes in temperature and humidity

When comparing engineered flooring to other flooring types, a few key differences stand out. 

Traditional hardwood is solid wood throughout, making it susceptible to moisture and temperature changes. This can lead to warping and gapping over time. Engineered flooring, with its layered construction, handles these changes much better, making it ideal for areas like basements and kitchens.

Laminate flooring is also often confused with engineered flooring but is quite different. 

Laminate has a photographic layer that mimics the look of wood, topped with a protective coating. It doesn’t contain any real wood, which makes it less expensive but also less authentic in appearance and feel compared to engineered flooring.

Engineered flooring combines the best of both worlds: the beauty of real hardwood and the strength of modern materials. It’s a smart choice for anyone wanting a stylish, durable, and versatile flooring option.

Why should you choose engineered flooring?

Choosing parquet. Woman and man is in the store of goods for the home.

First off, let’s talk about durability. Engineered flooring is built to last. Thanks to its layered construction, it handles daily wear and tear like a champ. 

It’s also designed to stay beautiful even in high-traffic areas. Spilled a drink? No biggie. Got pets? Engineered flooring can handle their antics. 

Next up, it’s kind to the environment. Many engineered flooring options use sustainable materials and eco-friendly manufacturing processes. That means you get a gorgeous floor without harming the planet. 

Plus, it can be installed almost anywhere—even in basements and kitchens where traditional hardwood wouldn’t work.

In a nutshell, engineered flooring is durable, eco-friendly, and versatile. It’s a smart choice that combines style with practicality. So, if you’re want to update your floors, give engineered flooring a closer look. You won’t be disappointed.

Exploring the types of engineered flooring

Cropped unrecognizable craftsman helping female client in picking sample for order during work at workbench in joinery

There are two main types of engineered flooring: solid core and plywood core. Let’s see which one might be the best fit for your home.

Solid core vs. plywood core – which is better?

Solid core engineered flooring has a dense fiberboard center. This makes it sturdy and great for areas with heavy foot traffic. It’s tough and can handle almost anything you throw at it. 

However, it can be a bit more expensive and might not be as forgiving with moisture changes.

Plywood core engineered flooring, on the other hand, consists of several layers of plywood stacked together. This type is very stable and handles changes in temperature and humidity like a pro. It’s often more affordable than solid core and offers good durability. 

The downside? It might not be as hard as a solid core, so it’s better suited for areas with moderate foot traffic.

When choosing between the two, consider where you’ll install the flooring. For high-traffic areas like hallways or kitchens, solid core might be the best bet. For places like bedrooms or living rooms, plywood core offers plenty of durability at a lower cost. 

Choosing the right finish and style for your home

Now that you’ve got the core sorted out, let’s talk about finishes and styles.

Matte finishes give a natural, understated appearance, while semi-gloss provides a bit of shine without being too flashy. High-gloss finishes are perfect for a sleek, modern look but show scratches and dirt more easily.

Popular styles include hand-scraped, wire-brushed, and smooth. Hand-scraped flooring has a rustic, textured look. Wire-brushed flooring features subtle texture and hides wear well. Lastly, smooth flooring gives a classic, clean appearance.

When picking a finish and style, think about your home’s overall decor and how much foot traffic the area will get. A hand-scraped, matte finish might be perfect for a cozy, rustic living room, while a high-gloss, smooth finish would suit a modern kitchen.

How to install engineered flooring

Installing engineered flooring can be straightforward with the right method. Here’s a look at three popular installation techniques.

The floating floor method

The floating floor method is one of the most popular ways to install engineered flooring. This technique involves laying the planks over an underlayment without using glue or nails.

It’s great for DIY enthusiasts and can go over existing floors. However, it might not be as stable and can make a hollow sound when you walk on it. 

Here’s how to do it:

  • Prepare the subfloor and make sure it’s clean, dry, and level.
  • Lay the underlayment. This helps with sound insulation and moisture protection.
  • Start laying the planks. Begin in a corner, clicking the planks together.
  • Continue across the room and stagger the seams for a more natural look.
  • Trim the edges. Cut the planks to fit as needed around walls and fixtures.
  • Add finishing touches. You can install baseboards and moldings to cover gaps.

Glue-down installation

This method involves sticking the flooring directly to the subfloor with adhesive. It’s great because it creates a very solid and quiet floor. However, it takes more time, can be messy, and requires careful application of the glue.

Here’s a basic idea of the steps:

  • Make sure that the subfloor is clean, dry, and level.
  • Apply adhesive and spread the glue evenly on the subfloor.
  • Place each plank into the adhesive, pressing down firmly.
  • Let it dry. Follow the adhesive manufacturer’s drying time instructions.
  • Install baseboards and moldings.

Nail-down installation

This is the most traditional method, where you secure the planks to the subfloor with nails. It’s very strong and durable, but it requires special tools and works best with wood subfloors.

Here are the key steps:

  • Prepare the subfloor. Again, clean, dry, and level.
  • Lay the first row. Nail the planks into the subfloor along the edge.
  • Continue across the room. Use a flooring nailer to secure each plank.
  • Trim the edges and cut planks to fit as needed.
  • Add finishing touches

The best installation method depends on your skills, tools, and the room’s needs. Each method has its pros and cons, so pick the one that fits your project best.

Tired of tired floors?

Engineered flooring could be the upgrade you’re looking for. It combines the beauty of hardwood with added durability, making it perfect for any room in the house.

Engineered flooring offers a variety of styles and finishes, so you can find something that matches your taste and the look you’re going for in your home. It’s durable, easy to maintain, and versatile enough to handle high-traffic areas or moisture-prone spaces like kitchens and basements.

If you’re still on the fence, think about the benefits: 

  • Made from eco-friendly materials, good for the planet
  • Easier to install than some other flooring options
  • There are tons of choices to fit your budget
  • Engineered flooring is built to last, so you can enjoy beautiful floors for years to come

For more information, check out home improvement blogs and forums where homeowners share their experiences. You can also talk to experts who can answer your questions about using engineered flooring for your project.

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