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How Durable Is Engineered Hardwood Flooring?

Updated: Oct 2, 2022

How Durable Is Engineered Hardwood Flooring?

Engineered hardwood flooring is typically a more durable product than 3/4" solid hardwood. You can expect an engineered hardwood floor to last and maintain its color for several years. While many engineered products can be refinished, the majority of homeowners never find the need to undertake a refinishing project. Engineered hardwood flooring also comes with a factory finish which helps make the floor a scratch-resistant product.

How Durable Is Engineered Hardwood Flooring?

Why Pick An Engineered Floor Over A Solid Hardwood Floor?

There are several reasons why an engineered hardwood floor might be a good option for your home. Let's take a look at some of the more common reasons:

  • Your home is built on a cement slab foundation. Many homeowners live on slab foundations. With 3/4" solid hardwood products being installed with a nail-down installation method, homeowners on a slab foundation need an alternative product. Engineered hardwood flooring provides this option for these homeowners.

  • You need to install flooring over existing flooring. In many remodeling situations, homeowners want to purchase and install new flooring in several areas of their homes. In an effort to save money on installation costs, sometimes it can be cheaper to install the new flooring over the existing flooring. Most engineered hardwood products offer this type of installation method. This allows customers to pay less for installation.

  • You have a height issue with the existing flooring in your home. In remodeling projects, it is important to consider the height of existing floors. If you take up a floor, it is important to install a floor that will be at the same height. Otherwise, you might have issues with your wall baseboards, doors, and transition spots to another room flooring. In these cases, sometimes an engineered floor is a better option, simply because it has the correct product height.

  • You like a style and color. While many manufacturers will make engineered floor colors and patterns to match their 3/4" solid line, engineered flooring also tends to include patterns that are quite unique. Many engineered products come with wide and very long boards, that can't be found in the solid product line.

  • You want a hardwood product that is durable. Homeowners with busy households want products that will last. Similar to solid products, engineered products also come with a factory finish. However, with the engineered product construction, engineered flooring tends to be more durable than 3/4" solid products.

Are Engineered Products Real Hardwood Or Fake?

The term "engineered" implies that engineered hardwood flooring is not a real hardwood product, but a fake want-to-be hardwood. However, nothing could be further from the truth. The name "engineered hardwood" really gives this product a bad reputation.

While engineered and solid hardwood products look relatively the same on the finished surface, they are made completely different. An engineered hardwood product is made of a smaller slice of "real" hardwood, that is bonded together on layers of high-quality plywood.

Manufacturers originally developed this type of product to capture the homeowners that lived in slab foundation homes and could not purchase solid hardwood products. Over the years, engineered hardwood flooring has grown in popularity, and sells quite well in most cities.

Many customers think engineered hardwood flooring and laminate are the same types of product. That is not the case. Engineered hardwood flooring manufacturers use a layer of "real hardwood" on the top finish layer of their engineered product. Meanwhile, laminate flooring manufacturers use a "photograph" of real hardwood on the top layer of a finished laminate product. They are completely different products.

So, yes...engineered hardwood flooring is absolutely a "real" hardwood product. It is simply made in a unique way and has different uses than 3/4" solid hardwood products.

How Do I Clean And Maintain An Engineered Hardwood Floor?

Cleaning an engineered hardwood floor and maintaining it, is no different than cleaning and maintaining a 3/4" solid hardwood product. Common sense guidelines rule the day when it comes to hardwood flooring.

Here are some general tips that you should keep in mind:

  • Don't use harsh chemicals on your floor.

  • Don't clean the floor with a mop and a bucket of water.

  • Protect the floor by placing felt pads on all tables, furniture, and chair legs.

  • Place floor mats next to all outside doors.

  • Have family members and friends take off their shoes when entering the home.

  • Don't place dog and cat food/water bowls directly on the hardwood floor.

These are simple, common sense tips that hardwood floor owners should follow. When maintaining a hardwood floor, it is best to set up family guidelines, so all members of the family understand what you are trying to accomplish.

Every manufacturer has a cleaning and maintenance brochure for their products. Make sure you download this brochure at the time of purchase. If your local flooring store can't provide you with a copy, it is usually available on each company's website page. Following these guidelines is extremely important. In the event of a product claim, companies will look at your cleaning procedures. If you are using a cleaning chemical that is not recommended, your claim could get denied.

It is also very important to read the information in your product warranty. Many times, manufacturing companies will give you information on how to register your floor, how to best clean up spills, what type of dust mop to use, etc. All of this is important information to follow.

One factor that many homeowners forget about is the relative humidity and temperature in their homes. Hardwood flooring is negatively affected if the humidity gets too high. For example, if you live in a hot area, and your power goes out for several days, this could absolutely damage your hardwood floor. Homeowners need to read their product information to make sure they are keeping their house within the recommended temperature range.

How Durable Is Engineered Hardwood Flooring?
How Durable Is Engineered Hardwood Flooring?

What If I Have Pets & Children In The House? Will This Floor Last?

One of the biggest concerns that homeowners with little children and pets have is: will my hardwood floor scratch? The simple answer is: yes, yes it will. All types of floor covering will scratch. No flooring is 100% scratch-proof. If a retail floor covering store tells you a certain product will not scratch...our advice would be to immediately leave that store and never go back.

All floors have the potential for scratching. Having said that, many floors are more scratch resistant to scratching than others, and if you have pets and a very busy household, you certainly should invest in one of these scratch-resistant floors.

Both solid and engineered hardwood flooring comes with a factory finish. Each manufacturer calls their finish something different. But, all of these products will come with a factory finish that will help prevent scratching. Engineered hardwood flooring tends to be a little more scratch-proof than solid hardwood flooring.

As with our cleaning and maintenance tips. common sense prevention rules the day when it comes to pets & children, and hardwood floors. For example:

  • Keep your pets well groomed. The shorter the nails, the better.

  • Make sure your kids take off their shoes when entering the home

  • Avoid allowing your dog & kids to "rough play" on the hardwood floor.

  • Keep large toys off the hardwood floor.

One final point: your engineered hardwood floor should be very durable and last a long time, even with a busy household. As with all floors, the more effort you place in protecting the floor, the longer it will last.

Common Questions About Engineered Hardwood Flooring

What should I look for in engineered hardwood flooring? If you have decided to purchase an engineered hardwood floor, the best way to pick out a product is based on finding a color and style that you like, at a price that makes you happy. We have a great article, "How To Shop For Hardwood Floors," that really dives into our recommended buying process.

What are the disadvantages of hardwood flooring?

  • Hardwood flooring is not waterproof

  • Products will scratch

  • Hardwood flooring will move based on the temperature and humidity.

  • Prolonged exposure to the sun will cause color variations

What is the best brand of engineered flooring? There really is no "best brand" of engineered hardwood flooring. All manufacturers make good, better, and best products. Base your buying decision on the color & style of the product, and the cost of the product.

How long does engineered hardwood flooring last? If properly maintained, hardwood flooring should last a very long time in your home. As with all types of flooring, the more effort that is made in protecting the floor, the longer it will last.

Does engineered hardwood flooring add value to your home? Yes. Hardwood flooring is a great way to add value to your home. Hardwood flooring has been around for a very long time and continues to bring value to every home.

How can you tell if you currently have solid or engineered flooring? A very easy way to tell what type of hardwood flooring you have is to take off a floor vent. Once removed, you can usually see the side of one of the pieces of wood. It will be very easy to see if your hardwood is in one big piece, or in multiple layers.

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Conclusion - How Durable Is Engineered Hardwood Flooring?

If you're looking for hardwood flooring, engineered hardwood might be a good option for your home. Engineered products can be installed in a variety of homes, they are very durable and should last a long time.

Engineered floors do have some disadvantages, but they also have some wonderful benefits. In today's marketplace, engineered hardwood flooring is made with tons of beautiful and unique colors and styles.