Engineered wood floors provide numerous benefits, ranging from sustainability to aesthetics. Due to its many perks, people often opt for engineered floors compared to other flooring options, like vinyl and carpet. So what is engineered wood? Engineered wood consists of real wood, scrap wood, sawdust, wood fibers, and other wooden pieces combined with adhesives to formulate a single plank. The plank’s surface layer features a real wood veneer, while its core comprises the bound wood mixtures.
With its build of various wood types, engineered wood is stronger, sustainable, and long-lasting. However, like many materials, engineered wood floors have their own list of cons and may not serve you in a way that matches your desires. Here are 10 reasons engineered floors may not be right for your home.
Vulnerable to Moisture
Although engineered hardwood holds more durability than other wood forms due to its fusion of materials, it’s still vulnerable to moisture and water. Due to its natural veneer, engineered wood doesn’t hold any waterproof properties. Like many wood types, real wood warps when in contact with lots of moisture and water.
If you live in an area prone to flooding, choosing tiled floors may be more cost-effective in the long run since the flood water will contort engineered wood. Likewise, if the floor will have regular contact with moisture, like near a pool or in the bathrooms, you may have to deal with warped planks. However, it will take a while before they reach that condition depending on the floor’s finish.
Speaking of finishes, another reason why engineered floors may not be your best match is that they are challenging to refinish. Refinishing includes a sanding and staining process on the surface of the wood. Since the top layer of engineered planks consists of a thin veneer, numerous refinishes will ultimately erode the floor’s surface, exposing the collection of fused wood within the core of the plank. The real wood veneers are the parts that feature the natural hardwood component, showcasing authentic wooden textures. Continuously refinishing your hickory engineered hardwood flooring will diminish the look and existence of the hickory within the engineered slab.
Low-quality engineered woods often contains a weak core processed from fragile or low-quality wood pieces. An engineered plank with a soft center easily dents and emits a hollow sound when walked over. Boards with weak cores will also sink in and succumb to the pressure of heavyweights over time. Weaker cores include finer wooden materials, like compressed wood strands and sawdust, to go under the floor’s veneer.
Susceptible to Scratches and Dents
If your home endures lots of foot traffic, you might not want to choose engineered wood floors. Although they are studier and more durable than other wooden floorings, heavy foot traffic on the engineered wood increases its susceptibility to scratches and dents. Like many other items, the more you use the floors, the more you expose the wood to wear and tear.
Homes with pets and children create the most foot traffic. If you’re looking for suitable floors for a family home, consider other options or place engineered floors in rooms that endure minimal foot traffic, like bedrooms, avoiding placement in hallways, kitchens, and living rooms.
Produces Off-Gas Chemicals
A few types of low-grade engineered wood flooring produce off-gas chemicals from the adhesives binding the various wood parts. Certain glues contain volatile organic compounds (VOC), which emit unhealthy toxins. A majority of the time, off-gas chemicals are minor, but for homes housing people with respiratory issues, little kids, elders, and pets, this can become a more pressing issue.
Prone to Squeakiness
Over time, all wooden floors start to squeak, including engineered floors. The squeaking occurs from loosened floorboards, creating gaps between the planks and causing the boards to collide as they shift. Squeaky floors can be annoying if the squeaking persists. Homes looking for minimal future maintenance might benefit from other flooring types that require less effort to maintain. However, it takes a long time for most high-grade engineered floors to start squeaking.
There are ways to keep your boards from getting chilled, but that can require additional costs that most people think are unnecessary. Without proper insulation, wooden floors trap the cold on its surface, making them chilly to touch. If your feet become cold easily, you may want to put on some socks or choose carpets over choosing engineered wooden floors.
Hardwoods feature breathtaking textures, making them an excellent aesthetic addition to a home. On an engineered plank, the top layer of the board houses actual hardwood, making the natural wood vulnerable to various external factors. Prolonged exposure to heat and sunlight on hardwood causes its gorgeous colors to fade, minimizing the appearance of its patterns. Since the layer of hardwood on engineered floorings is thin, they are more susceptible to fading.
As previously mentioned, the surface of engineered wood consists of a thin layer of natural hardwood. When you use chemical-based cleaning products on the floor, it quickly degrades that thin hardwood layer. Since no additional materials combine with the veneer, it has more vulnerability. Natural cleaning products can be expensive or harder to find for some people, so they falter on using generic cleaning products. However, most generic cleaning sprays contain harsh chemicals that eat at the wood the more you use them.
Cost and Availability
Engineered wood may not best suit you and your home based on your budget. In contrast with vinyl and linoleum flooring, engineered floorboards can be a costly investment. Plus, finding engineered floors can be arduous for some people because of their location and resources. Engineered woods also require a more tedious manufacturing process due to their use of multiple wood sources, making them less available in certain places.
Sometimes the shoe doesn’t always fit, causing you to branch out and find a better match. For some, engineered floors may not be right for their home, but for others, engineered floorboards fit their dreams and desires. From the Forest offers high-quality and ethical engineered wooden flooring, eliminating some of the issues mentioned above, like weak cores and the production of off-gas chemicals. If engineered wooden floors suit your home and needs, there are plenty of rewards to reap from them!