Engineered hardwood flooring is unique. Just about everyone appreciates the beauty of hardwood flooring, but up until recently – if you had a room with anything other than a wood subfloor, you were stuck with choosing another flooring option. Fortunately, there’s now a hardwood flooring material that can be installed over concrete, it’s very DIY friendly, and best of all – it’s just as attractive as solid hardwood flooring, but doesn’t cost quite as much.
What is Engineered Hardwood Flooring?
Plywood has been a popular building material for many years due to the strength of its layered construction and the composition’s ability to be resistant to moisture damage. Engineered flooring is manufactured using the same layered construction principles and features a hardwood veneer as its top surface. The material is very durable and its moisture resistant properties allow most varieties of this flooring to be installed over concrete.
The layered construction also allows the material to be made much thinner than solid hardwood flooring with most types only being about 3/8 inch thick. This reduced size contributes to the boards being light and easy to handle and also permits it to be priced a little lower than most solid hardwood flooring.
Styles and Types
Engineered flooring can be purchased either unfinished or prefinished, but prefinished is by far the most popular choice due to its ability to be installed without a creating a huge mess and the multitude of wood species and finish choices available. You also have a wide range of styles to choose from with widths starting at normal strip sizes of 2/1/4 and 3 inches and going all the way up to a wide 7 inch plank that can give your room the character of an aged heirloom.
Finishes can be as elegant or rustic as you want — some manufacturers even offer distressed boards with artificial nail and worm holes that can make the beautiful flooring appear to have been reclaimed from an old historical home or building. A few manufacturers to consider for your engineered wood flooring:
• Bruce Hardwood Flooring• Mohawk• Armstrong• Bellawood
Engineered products available at home improvement stores such as Lowes and Home Depot and can also be found at most flooring retailers.
The floor boards are very light, easy to work with, and most experienced DIYers should have no problem with an installation over a wood subfloor using staples or glue.
However, if you plan on installing the flooring over concrete, you may want to consider hiring a professional flooring contractor. Unless of course you’re comfortable making adjustments as necessary to the subfloor.
Carpet and padding can hide many imperfections in concrete slabs, but engineered flooring may seem to exaggerate these problem areas. A flooring contractor can float out dips and grind down humps in your concrete so the hardwood floor has a nice level feel when you walk across the room.
Engineered hardwood flooring is like solid hardwood in that prices can fluctuate depending on the wood species you select, the finish on the floor, and where you’re located. Exotic wood species such as Australian Cypress, Bolivian Rosewood, and Golden Teak are usually more expensive than more common woods such as Red Oak, Maple, and Birch.
A very approximate price to use for budgeting purposes when planning a new floor might be $5 a square foot for oak engineered hardwood flooring – installation labor would be extra.