17+ Disadvantages of Engineered Hardwood Flooring | Advantages Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Disadvantages of Engineered Hardwood Flooring | Hardwood Floor Installation Methods | Solid Vs Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Engineered Wood Flooring Engineered wood flooring is a product designed for durability and easy maintenance, while still maintaining a natural, beautiful look.
It is made from real wood and a 3mm or 5mm wear layer. One of the many benefits of engineered wood flooring is that it can be easily installed in any room in the house.
Engineered hardwood flooring differs from solid hardwood because only the top layer (or wear layer) is made of hardwood.
Engineered hardwood flooring is composed of between three and eleven layers of hardwood and other woods that are glued or laminated together, much like plywood. This cross-laminating process forms an extremely strong, durable floor.
Engineered hardwood floors usually have a wear layer and one or more backing and core layers that provide dimensional stability.
Engineered hardwood flooring cores can be made of HDF (like laminate flooring) or can be composed of strips of wood that run perpendicular to the top layer (which adds stability).
Hardwood Floor Installation Methods
There are a couple ways to install hardwood flooring. Always take your subfloor into consideration when choosing an installation method.
Glue Down Method
The glue down method is a simple, yet messy, way for non-professional installers to install tongue and groove hardwood flooring.
With this method, you’ll use a high-quality flooring adhesive (urethane adhesives are recommended) to attach each hardwood flooring plank to the subfloor.
The glue down method can be used for concrete or wood subfloors. The glue down method can also be used when installing engineered hardwood flooring over a radiant heating system.
Always check with both the adhesive and flooring manufacturers to ensure that you can use both products above a radiant heat system.
The nail or staple method is the method most used by professional installers when installing tongue and groove hardwood flooring over wood subfloors.
Specialized nail or staple guns are required. This method can be used for concrete floors if plywood (¾ inch recommended) and a vapor barrier are secured to the concrete as a sleeper/screed system.
The nail/staple method can also be used above a sleeper system for radiant heating.
Floating floors are used most often with engineered click lock hardwood flooring although engineered tongue and groove hardwood can be floated by gluing the tongues and grooves together.
No special tools are required for this type of installation. Engineered hardwood click lock flooring can be installed over wood, concrete, existing hardwood or existing vinyl subfloors.
Installing floating floors with solid tongue and groove hardwood is usually not recommended because of stability issues.
Advantages of Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Choosing engineered hardwood flooring has a couple of advantages over solid hardwood flooring:
Engineered hardwood flooring is made up of several different types of hardwood and other woods. Since the top or wear layer is the only one that is seen, often times you can purchase an expensive looking floor for less than the cost of a solid hardwood floor.
Inexpensive pine, spruce, birch, rubberwood, or HDF make up the sturdy core of engineered flooring.
3. More Installation Locations
During the manufacturing process, the layers of engineered flooring alternate depending on the direction of the grain. This process helps to neutralize hardwood’s natural tendency to warp, contract, expand or cup.
This means that engineered floors may be installed in rooms where solid flooring cannot, such as basements or areas with a higher moisture or humidity content.
Not all engineered flooring can be installed in basements or areas with higher moisture/humidity content. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for installation.
4. Environmentally Friendly
Since engineered hardwood flooring only uses a fraction of the surface species as compared to solid, it is more environmentally friendly.
5. Engineered Wood Is Very Versatile
Engineered woods are very versatile and also available in a wide variety of thicknesses, grades, sizes and quality.
And hence it is easy to work with most design styles and also in many rooms to meet their application-specific requirements.
Engineered wood flooring has many color and design selections, which makes it an ideal choice for homeowners with limited budgets.
6. Wood Is Softer Than Hardwood
Engineered wood flooring is softer and safer to walk on than hardwood floor and the difference can be felt by the user very quickly.
It gives a soft and tactile yet still strong feeling. Since is so soft, it also provides an ideal surface for creating detailed designs, such as an elaborate pattern or a fashionable swirl design.
7. Engineered Wood Is More Resilient
Engineered wood flooring is far more resilient than real hardwood flooring. Compared to solid hardwood flooring, engineered wood flooring can be sanded, scraped and re-finished many times without requiring the whole of the floor to be taken up.
As a result, the finish of this kind of product can be changed multiple times without having to replace it.
8. Easier To Clean
Engineered wood flooring is much easier to clean with carpet sweepers than real hardwood flooring. The surface is very smooth which makes the cleaning process much faster and more effective. Since the boards are thin, they are breathable, so they dry out quickly and do not retain dirt like real hardwood flooring does.
9. Engineered Floor Is Multi-Layered
The engineered wood has many layers that make it stronger and more stable than solid hardwood flooring. It also provides a more uniform surface that is safer to walk on and requires less maintenance.
Having multiple layers in its core, engineered wood is less likely to expand or warp, when exposed to moisture, humidity and temperature fluctuations.
Disadvantages of Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Some disadvantages of engineered hardwood flooring include include:
1. Poor Moisture Resistance
Engineered hardwood absorbs a moisture over time, leading to the growth of mold fungus and other bacteria. Mold and mildew are harmful to one’s health since they can cause asthma problems and other infections.
Furthermore, moisture can cause structural deterioration of your wood frame floor system by causing the engineered wood boards to shift and buckle. As a result, it is not advisable to use engineered wood for flooring in damp areas such as the kitchen or bathroom.
Engineered hardwood absorbs a moisture, this causes the wood to swell and can cause warping. Even if you prevent the wood from absorbing moisture, it will still warp because of the various factors that cause swelling of engineered wood flooring.
Engineered wood flooring can also become damaged by moisture. The finish of the floor will also become dull, which will look shabby. In some cases, it can cause swelling that can be very difficult to restore, even if it is cleaned regularly.
2. Engineered Wood Flooring Needs Constant Maintenance
Engineered wood flooring will require a lot of maintenance to prevent moisture from building up.
It needs a preventive maintenance where the moisture is taken out of the wood from the start before it gets glued together using a dehumidifier. After installing the engineered wood, you must maintain constant upkeep and use a dehumidifier periodically.
If you do not maintain the engineered wood flooring, it will become dull and look like it has been worn out very quickly.
If it happens before the “wear layer” is exposed, screws will have to be removed to add additional wood so the engineered wood floor can be re-sealed and stop absorbing moisture. The maintenance cost is high, plus many people consider this an inferior product.
Before buying engineered wood flooring, it is important to understand how it is made and the problems that accompany engineered wood flooring.
3. Engineered Wood Flooring is Susceptible to Fading
Engineered wood flooring is not resistant to the elements such as sunlight, moisture and chemicals. Therefore, it will fade much quicker than hardwood flooring.
4. Engineered Wood Flooring is Prone to Dents and Pet Scratches
The wear layer is not very thick and surface scratches can easily happen to the engineered wood flooring. This can make the floor look much less attractive and stain the engineered wood flooring.
The reason why it scratches so easily is caused by the many layers of wood grains. If one layer on the floor scratched, the other layers are also likely to be scratched.
5. Engineered Wood Flooring Can Become Difficult to Clean
Although it may be easier to clean than hardwood, it can still look dirty if the dirt is not cleaned with regular use.
6. Can Be Damaged by Chemicals
The engineered wood is sometimes contaminated with chemicals. If the floor is exposed to chemicals, it can become damaged.
Generally, engineered wood flooring is more difficult to install than hardwood flooring. It requires a professional to be able to install such flooring in the right way.
7. Engineered Wood Flooring Is Expensive
While engineered wood floor can be installed in any room, it is more expensive than solid hardwood flooring.
Because have long manufacturing process, the price of engineered hardwood flooring is expensive. One should consider if the price of the engineered hardwood is worth it.
8. Engineered Wood Flooring Is Not as Durable as Solid Hardwood Flooring
Although it looks similar to hardwood flooring, it is not actually the same. It will have to be sealed regularly and will not last as long.
The reason for this is because engineered wood floor has a thin wear layer on top of the real wood fiber. So regular cleaning, moisture problems or other conditions that cause cracking, warping and swelling will eventually lead to these issues.
9. Engineered Wood Flooring Is Not for Everyone
Engineered wood flooring is not for everyone and is only suitable for those who want a floor to withstand heavy traffic and multiple pets.
It is also not suitable for scenarios where the area has moderate temperatures that often change from day to night.
It also does not last very long if you have children or pets that go all the way down to your wood.
10. Off Gassing
Engineered hardwood is not 100% wood and therefore contains chemicals. These can off gas causing irritation in the eyes, nose and throat. In some cases, it can make you feel physically sick.
11. Irregular Grain and End Gaps
The engineered flooring has a flat finish that hides any irregularities in the grain of the wood, which means there are no end gaps to fill with additional wood, as with real hardwood flooring.
One can also get a misaligned grain, which is a common occurrence with engineered wood flooring.
In some cases, this kind of flooring can make the room look like it consists of two different types of flooring.
12. Engineered Wood Flooring Is Not to Be Used in High Traffic Areas
Engineered wood flooring may be ideal for bedroom floors, but not for corridors where you have heavy traffic on the floor all day and night, such as a child’s bedroom or home office.
If you are buying a floor for your hallway, make sure it is not engineered wood flooring.
13. Engineered Wood Flooring Can Make Your Home Look Old
When you use engineered wood flooring in high traffic areas, it can make your home look old and worn out in a matter of weeks or months.
Although it looks similar to hardwood flooring, so you will think that it is “engineered” with the wear layer. In reality, the wear layer can easily be damaged by heavy traffic and pets.
14. Engineered Wood Flooring Is Susceptible to Mice/Rodents
The engineered wood flooring is not as resistant to mice as real hardwood flooring. In the event of a mouse infestation, you will need to re-seal the floor every couple of months for sparrows or mice to continue living in your home.
Alternatively, you can use an animal repellent product to keep them away.
15. Thinner Wear Layer
Surface scratches on the wear layer are harder to hide with engineered wood flooring. The wear layer is thinner than real hardwood flooring and therefore it can be easily damaged by pets or accidents in the home. It will also eventually show signs of wear more clearly.
16. Engineered Wood Flooring Can Lack Beauty
Engineered wood flooring is lighter and less durable than real hardwood flooring. Therefore, it will not provide a warm and classic beauty for the rooms. It is also more difficult to install as it does not have directionality like real hardwood flooring.
17. Can Be Damaged by High Temperatures
The finish of engineered wood flooring is not very strong and if the temperature changes rapidly inside the room and cannot withstand high temperatures and can burn. It can cause cracks in the finish of the floor.
Unlike real hardwood flooring, engineered wood flooring has a very low resistance to burning. Therefore, homes with engineered wood floors need to be equipped with a fire extinguisher, and homeowners should stay away from candles and open flames.
18. Structural Stability of Engineered Hardwood
Engineered wood boards are vulnerable to moisture and shrinkage caused by expanding and shrinking from temperature changes. This could lead to the development of stress cracks on your floor surface that damage your floor system.
Engineered wood boards are made of multiple layers. If one of the layers is damaged, this could lead to the failure of the whole board.