There are two basic kinds of hardwood flooring planks; there are solid wood planks and engineered planks. Engineered hardwood planks are made from at least two layers. They’re made from a layer of plywood or MDF. Then, a thin veneer of hardwood is applied over the top. Some engineered hardwood has a layer on the bottom that reduces moisture transfer into the wood. Engineered hardwood has many advantages.
The advantages of engineered hardwood are simple. Engineered hardwood is often less expensive than solid hardwood. For example, every ½ inch plank of solid hardwood requires a ½ inch of hardwood; that can get expensive for rare types of hardwood. However, an engineered hardwood plank might have a ⅛ inch veneer on the plywood or MDF layer. That means that you’ll only need about 25% as much hardwood for each plank; that could save you a considerable amount of money. It will bring some more extoic hardwoods into your budget.
Engineered hardwood is typically prefinished as well. The factory finish is incredible hard and uniform. You don’t have to worry about finishing the floor and waiting for it to dry after it has been installed. You don’t have to worry about the finish being uniform or even. Furthermore, the factory finish is harder than polyurethane. It can last ten to twenty-five years before you need to replace it.
Repairing engineered hardwood is a little bit trickier. If you want to sand out scratches in the wood, you’ll have a little more difficulty. Sanding through the factory finish is difficult; also, the layer of hardwood will be pretty thin. There’s only so many times you can sand it before you wear through the hardwood. However, since the planks are cut, stained, and sealed by the factory, they’ll all be uniform. That means you can remove the damaged plank and replace it with an identical one.
One of the biggest benefits to an engineered hardwood floor is that they can be installed to “float.” A floating floor is one in which the planks of wood are attached to one another but not necessarily attached to the subfloor. They might be glued to the subfloor or the existing floor. They might be nailed to the floor; alternately, they might just sit on top. That means that you won’t have to do nearly as much work to install the flooring. That can save you a lot of time and effort.
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