Best Engineered Wood Flooring Top Brands Reviewed
If youve already started reviewing your options in the hardwood flooring market, then youll be well aware that engineered hardwood flooring is an increasingly popular product. Better still, its competitively priced compared to solid hardwood flooring upwards of $2.20 per square foot for engineered hardwood, compared to upwards of $3.40 per square foot for solid hardwood.
Best Engineered Hardwood Flooring 2021
Updated By Household Advice Staff
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Hardwood floors are some of the most sought after floors in residential and bespoke shops around the world.
With various wood types such as oak, maple and hickory running in varying supplies, demand far outweighed supply.
The answer is engineered hardwood.
These planks are man-made, with a top layer of solid hardwood with more layers of less expensive, composite woods.
The result is a locking plank system with actual hardwood with less cost.
This article will help you find the best engineered hardwood for your next flooring project.
Hardwood Species And Janka Scores
The biggest determining factor of the durability of any hardwood floor whether solid hardwood or engineered is the floors Janka score. The Janka score refers to the hardness of the wood the floor is made of.
There are many different species of wood used in flooring, and they have a wide range of different scores and durability factors. When choosing a hardwood floor, its important to look not just at color, grain pattern, style, and manufacturing type, but also at how durable the wood species is that youre considering.
Engineered wood floors come in a wide range of different wood species, just like solid wood floors. Some of these woods may be more durable long term than others. For example, Hickory is one of the strongest domestic hardwoods available, with a Janka score of 1820. Compare this to California Redwood, which has a score of 420. Obviously, an engineered, Hickory wood floor is going to be more durable than a solid California Redwood floor.
Most people will find, however, that a hardwood floor with a score of 1290 to 1450 will be sufficient for the normal foot traffic and wear and tear in an office or retail space. There are many domestic and exotic hardwoods with higher scores, however, which are available as engineered hardwood floors if youre installing a very high traffic floor or the area has specific needs, using an engineered hardwood floor with a high Janka score will give you the performance youre looking for.
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Our White Oak Engineered Hardwood Floors
When we were house hunting, wed talk about all the changes we wanted to make during our first walk-through of a house not only to be on the same page about the potential we saw, but to get a sense of what kind of room wed need to make in our budget to fulfill those ideas. A lot of the time Id be spewing off an exhausting list that would make it clear the house wasnt the one, but with this house I confidently declared that if we only did one, big project here, it would be updating the floors because that would do everything to completely transform it. While there is still a list of things we want to update about this house, the new floors delivered on that transformation and already make this place feel brand new- this is it, were done with all the work on the house
Our search for the right floor was narrowed down to light, neutral/leaning warm wood floors that would go with any decor and furniture decisions wed ever make. A thousand samples later, we landed on these wide plank white oak engineered hardwood floors in the Lago Como style from Monarch Plank, who I reached out to for partnering on this project along with Finishing Touch Floors since I was drawn to many of the options in their modern selection of floors. I loved the plank size at 7 wide, the quality and thickness from the samples, and that they had a low-gloss finish. It also really helped that their has a lot of client photos showing what the floors look like installed in real spaces.
Engineered Hardwood Vs Luxury Vinyl Planks
LVP is one of the most popular choices in home flooring options. Vinyl is waterproof, making it ideal for any room in the home, including wet areas.
The core layers arent made from MDF and can withstand a little moisture.
The reason LVP are so popular is that they are fairly inexpensive, look great and have amazing warranties . The main downside is that when they do get damaged, they cannot be repaired.
Engineered hardwood also gets damaged, it is natural wood after all. However, instead of repairs or replacements, most owners see the damage as making the flooring better.
It gives an authentic touch to the wooden wear layer.
While engineered hardwood does cost more, it does have real wood. Like laminate flooring, LVP uses a photographic layer to mimic the appearance of wood, but loses the texture and feel underfoot of real wood.
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Floor And Decor Oak Engineered Wood Flooring/herringbone Flooring/wooden Floor Tiles/hardwood Flooring/grey Wood Floors/timber Flooring
Purchase Qty. / FOB Price:
US$ 18-38 / Square MeterItem:Engineered White Oak Wood Flooring
|7 layers coating of Treffert Aluminum Oxide finish|
|Dynea Glue, exceed E1 standard|
|4 sides T& G, with mirco bevel,or Click System|
|Treffert UV from German, natural oil or un-finished|
|Export Standard Carton & IPPC Pallets|
Pick Plank Widths And Installation Patterns
Narrow boards with widths of about two to three inches were once standard for hardwood flooring. Not anymore. Five- to eight-inch widths are now commonplace, and some homeowners opt to go even wider, with broad planks measuring up to a foot wide and beyond.
We make floors up to 20 inches wide, Mr. Sy said.
In general, the wider the boards, the higher the cost. And the wider it gets, the less stable it gets, because the wood wants to move, Ms. Roberts said. When we get into really wide flooring, we almost always recommend an engineered floor, because that prevents it from cupping and warping.
Most floors are installed with the boards in straight lines, but there are many alternative installation patterns, including herringbone and chevron, which are enjoying renewed popularity.
More complicated installation patterns also tend to increase the overall cost of the floor, as they require additional labor for installation and result in more wasted wood from the multitude of cuts.
How do you decide which board width and installation pattern is best? Consider the proportions of your space, and the style you want: Bigger rooms tend to look better with wider boards, and a herringbone or chevron pattern adds a touch of tradition.
You can also mix it up. Ms. Roberts sometimes uses wider boards and complicated installation patterns in the primary living spaces, and narrower boards in a straightforward arrangement in secondary spaces, like hallways and bedrooms.
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Engineered Hardwood Is Susceptible To Water Damage And Moisture
As we just mentioned, engineered hardwood is vulnerable to moisture and water damage. Not only does this mean you need to dry up mopped areas quickly, but it also limits where you can safely install it.
For instance, kitchens and engineered hardwood typically arent a good mix. If you do a lot of dishes by hand and tend to splash water on the flooring around the sink area, this can also lead to issues if you dont dry it up immediately. Young children may like to spill food or drink for fun on wooden floors as well.
Whats more, you should also think carefully about the climate you are living in and the humidity levels in your home. For instance, many homeowners in Florida steer clear of solid wood and engineered wood floors thanks to the humid weather conditions.
Additionally, if you have a room thats typically damper than the rest of your homesuch as a basementinstalling engineered wood in these areas might not be a wise choice long term.
Lighter And Wider Make A Room Look Larger And Brighter
Light reflects off light-colored surfaces, which adds an airy, open feeling to a room. Additionally, light color floors always open a room up, giving the illusion that its bigger. The same illusion applies to wide plank flooring, since there are fewer edges in the flooring layout the eye automatically perceives more space. Needless to say, installing flooring that is both light in color and with a wider plank is like hitting the spatial jackpot!
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Lighter And Wider Floors Will Not Break The Bank
The good news is that there are flooring brands such as LIFECORE that carry predominately wide plank flooring that is moderately priced. Though they have an exclusive designer look and high durability, LIFECORE flooring is moderately priced and easily accessible.
Lastly, light-colored wide plank flooring is extremely versatile from a design perspective. They are equally as beautiful in modern, rustic, coastal or classic decors and will add value to your home, literally and visually! Sounds like its time to make your 2020 vision lighter and wider!
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How Hard Can It Be To Choose A Hardwood Floor
Harder than you might think, given all the options available. Heres how to navigate the various decisions youll have to make.
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By Tim McKeough
If you have flooring you dont like whether its carpet, vinyl or unappealing wood it can feel like theres no way to escape it, no matter how many rugs you pile on top. But if you have floors you love, walking across them can be a daily pleasure.
Thats because the floor is the base upon which all other decorating decisions are built. Change your floors, and you change the character of your home. Its as simple as that.
So its no surprise that new floors specifically, hardwood floors are at the top of many renovation wish lists. Not all wood floors, however, are equally appealing or appropriate for every space.
We look at a building holistically, so the walls and windows, and the environment that were in, all feed into the decision-making about the floors, said Paul Bertelli, the design principal of JLF Architects in Bozeman, Mont., whose firm chooses a different wood floor for almost every project.
The wood flooring industry has evolved considerably in recent years, as wider planks have increased in popularity and finish and installation options have expanded. Given all the choices now available, we asked architects and flooring professionals for advice on how to pick the right one.
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What’s Similar About Solid And Engineering Wood Flooring
The best place to start is by understanding what is similar between the two categories. Mainly, that both solid and engineered wood floors are made of real hardwood.
Both look beautiful installed, come in a range of different styles, and will last a lifetime if made of quality hardwood and cared for with love. Both are equally easy to maintain and will wear well.
Both solid hardwood and engineered hardwood are available unfinished so you can truly customize your floors.
So, what’s different between the two? Let’s start with solid hardwood.
Illustration showing a single piece of Solid hardwood with a top wear layer.
Welcome To Decor Floors
offers a myriad selection of flooring combinations from traditional to the most exotic flooring options. We offer a wide variety of brand name flooring products for both residential and commercial use. From quality carpeting and area rugs, to tile and vinyl, to the natural beauty of hardwood floors, Decor Floors has it all. Below is a list of just a few of the brand-name flooring manufacturers that we represent.
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Engineered Hardwood Can Be Pricey
One of the potential disadvantages of engineered hardwood is its cost. If you are comparing solid hardwood vs engineered hardwood flooring prices, engineered hardwood options are typically cheaper.
However, if you want your wood flooring to last, youll need to select higher-grade engineered wood products. Those in the lower price ranges, although cheap, can work out more expensive down the line if you have to replace them.
Whats more, engineered hardwood can be significantly more expensive than options like tile, laminate, and vinyl flooring.
Select Solid Or Engineered Wood
Solid wood is just what it sounds like: a plank of your chosen wood, cut from a log. An engineered wood floor is composed of a thinner layer of your chosen wood on top of a manufactured base of layered wood, like plywood.
Engineered wood has a number of benefits. Its built to be more dimensionally stable, Mr. Hammel said. It will expand and contract less, reducing the chance that the boards will warp or shrink over time.
Engineered flooring is especially good in basements, in high humidity areas and over radiant heating systems, he said.
And in homes with concrete subfloors, like many high-rise apartments, engineered flooring can be glued directly to the slab, whereas solid wood usually requires a plywood subfloor so it can be nailed in place.
If your ceiling height is low, saving that extra bit of space by using engineered flooring can be important, Ms. Kim said: Some clients are really obsessed with getting the highest ceiling possible, so if they can save an inch on the floor, theyre going to go with engineered flooring.
But it isnt always the best option.Some people simply like the idea of solid hardwood better, and in extremely dry areas, solid wood may perform better.
Engineered floors are made to work best in environments that stay above 30 percent relative humidity, Mr. Sy said. If the environment is going to be consistently below that, engineered floors may experience slight cracking in the wear layer.
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Wooden Floors Require Specific Care
If you want to install engineered wood flooring, know that wooden floors, in general, need specific care.
Engineered wood flooring is less vulnerable to moisture and chemicals than solid wood flooring. However, you still need to be careful when cleaning and caring for it.
For example, its not a good idea to expose your engineered wood flooring to standing water. When it comes to spills and splashes, these need to wiped up quickly to prevent water damage from happening. Harsh cleaners are also a no-no, as they can dull or erode the finish on your planks.
Furthermore, its also not advisable to steam clean engineered wood flooring. The heat and steam can work its way into the planks, causing water damage over time. Using a steam mop on engineered wood flooring will also likely void any warranty you might have on it.
If you are planning to install engineered flooring in your home and want some additional care instruction, you should also read our guide on how to clean engineered hardwood.
Consider Wood Grain And Character
The way that logs are sawed into boards has a big effect on the grain pattern thats visible in the floor.
With flat-sawn boards, the grain has a wavy appearance. The defining feature is this arching cathedral, said Jamie Hammel, using the industry name for the pattern.
Mr. Hammel, the owner of the Hudson Company, a supplier of wood flooring and paneling, noted that quarter-sawn boards offer a more linear appearance, with faint striping: The prized feature are these medullary rays, which some people call tiger stripes.
Rift-sawn boards offer the straightest, cleanest grain, whereas live-sawn boards may include all types of grain patterns.
A floor can use one cut exclusively, or can incorporate various types of cuts. A mix of quarter- and rift-sawn boards, for instance, is a popular option for flooring with understated grain patterns. For a warm, woodsy appearance, using only flat-sawn boards might be the best option.
In addition to the way the wood is cut, you can choose how many knots and other distinguishing marks you want to see.
We call it character, Mr. Hammel said, noting that options include clear , light character and character-grade .
Reclaimed wood is another option. Many flooring companies offer wood salvaged from barns, factories and other structures, which can have even more character with nail holes, cracks and saw-blade marks.
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What Is Engineered Hardwood
Engineered hardwood has many names. You may know it as mass timber, man-made wood, hardwood composite or others.
The planks are a composite of real woods pieced together in alternating directions.
Much like vinyl or laminate planks, engineered hardwood is made up of layers. The difference is that instead of a photographic image of wood grain under a clear coat wear layer, mass timber has actual hardwood on top.
The boards become interlocking planks, which fit together in a drop and lock method.
This is also known as a floating floor as the planks are not nailed or glued to the subfloor like carpet or hardwood.
The result is a hardwood floor, with most of the benefits, a fraction of the cost .
Unlike solid hardwood the planks wont add resale value to the home. However, you also dont have the drawbacks like excessive constriction and expansion, wide gaps between boards and other hardwood features.
Thoughts On Wood Flooring
The house had recently been gut-renovated and was gorgeous in person! The cabinetry and millwork everywhere was especially TOP NOTCH. I wish these photos did them more justice!
I also fell in love with the floors. So much so that I poked around on the of Project Beautify, who had rehabbed the house, and discovered that the floors were from my favorite flooring place Floor & Decor!
Later that week I went and checked out the product in person. Its called Montpellier and its an oiled French Oak in almost a 9 wide plank. And it is only $5.49/sq ft! If youve ever shopped for wood flooring before youll know that price is pretty unreal for the size of those planks!
It can be overwhelming to figure out what type of wood flooring is right for your house, but I always ask three questions that usually help narrow down the playing field:
1) Will the flooring be in a kitchen or bathroom?
How terrified are you about the idea of potentially needing to pull up and repair areas effected by future leaks? If your answer is highly terrified, then you might want to consider a product like Aquaguard .
2) Wide or skinny planks?
3) Most importantly, what is your existing subfloor?
Solid wood is a great option if you already have a plywood subfloor .
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