Engineered wood flooring looks very much like solid hardwood, but its construction features a relatively thin layer of hardwood bonded over a premium-quality plywood layer that gives the flooring very good stability. A good-quality engineered wood floor typically lasts 25 to 30 years, and it is both less expensive and easier for DIYers to install.
Floorboards tend to be wider with engineered hardwood flooring. Some pre-finished engineered hardwood flooring has slightly beveled edges, which creates slight grooves between boards, while solid hardwood flooring generally has very tight seams between boards. Engineered hardwood flooring is almost always sold pre-finished, and there is a narrower range of available colors and species than with solid hardwood.
Engineered hardwood has slightly better performance in humid locations since its plywood construction makes it more stable and less susceptible to warping. If installation against a concrete subfloor is necessary, engineered hardwood is the choice.
Care and cleaning of this flooring look the same as for solid hardwood: sweeping or vacuuming, and occasional damp-mopping with a wood cleaner.
Engineered hardwood can be refinished once, or at most twice, before the surface hardwood layer is exhausted.
Some engineered wood flooring is also installed with the same nail-down methods used for solid hardwood, but there are also forms with “click-lock” edges that can be installed as a “floating floor.” Engineered wood flooring can also be glued down against a concrete subfloor. Most DIYers find engineered wood flooring to be easier to install.
Engineered hardwood flooring is slightly less expensive than solid hardwood. The typical range engineered hardwood flooring is $2.50 to $10 per square foot, with most types falling in the $4 to $7 per square foot range.
Engineered hardwood flooring generally lasts 20 to 30 years.
Engineered hardwood boards are often thinner, with 3/8- to 9/16-inch-thick boards common. Engineered hardwood is often sold in much wider boards, up to 7 inches, and the lengths typically run 12 to 60 inches
Engineered hardwood flooring will rarely be a turn-off to prospective buyers, though they may recognize that these floors have a shorter lifespan.