Pros and cons of Engineered Wood floors

kywoman1234May 3, 2012

Has anyone had these for a while? Anything I need to know? Wanting to put them in the kitchen

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We've had engineered (handscraped oak gunstock, 5/8" thick) flooring in a living room for about a year. We like it so well that we've just purchased enough of the same flooring to install it throughout the rest of the downstairs, including in our kitchen.

We selected a click-lock version, which is glueless and results in a floating floor. Installation was a breeze (just need to make custom cuts at the ends of runs, and around door jambs, etc.) and the 5/8" thick planks are heavy enough that the floating floor feels very solid rather than having that "hollow" feeling some floating floors have. I would avoid a 3/8" product if you want a solid feeling.

I've found that it will scratch, but no more so than a regular solid wood floor. Follow the usual care practice recommended for wood floors - pads under furniture, regular sweeping/vacuuming, etc.. The particular kind we got has just a thin veneer which, normally, might be able to be sanded just once, but because of the "hand-scraped" effect, can't really be sanded. But, there is new technology out there which abrades "sculpted" floors with sort of a brush attachment, allowing for refinishing without sanding to bare wood. Realistically, I figure if there were major damage, I would replace the damaged planks. I don't expect to refinish this floor. Factory finishes are actually more durable than anything that can be applied on-site.

Things to think about... a lot of people advise against engineered floors (or wood, in general) in kitchens because of the potential for spills. Some people have some horror stories to tell. But, engineered wood flooring in particular is recommended for areas where there is excess moisture, so it seems like a good choice (over solid wood) in a kitchen. Because of its multilayer construction, it is more stable than solid wood. Obviously, you don't want to let spills sit for any length of time if you can avoid it. But, I actually took a few scraps of wood leftover from our first installation, and did all sorts of "tests" on them. I soaked them in water, and I let water (and even vinegar, to recreate cat puke...) sit on them while they were clicked together. The substrate of mine is mostly HDF, with plywood sandwiched in the middle, and I didn't have problems. The HDF is impregnated with wax, resisting water.

I am most excited to install these in my kitchen - I have identified an indoor/outdoor kilim rug available from Pottery Barn and plan to use that near my stove and sink to help protect the floor. Otherwise, I'll just exercise common sense.

Note that I am usually a "purist" when it comes to most construction products. I HATE vinyl siding, I HATE vinyl flooring, I HATE laminate flooring. I had to wrap my brain around the engineered flooring, but gave in because the installation was just so easy. I really love it - because the top layer is real wood, it has a sort of authentic beauty laminate just can't match. It really has a warm look and we're pleased we took the plunge.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 3:43PM
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Lizzie, may I ask what brand of engineered floor you used?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 2:02PM
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This is a good post, very accurate, and relays good info. I prefer engineered wood floors in my part of the country. I only use engineered as they are usually trouble free. People have some phobia against them and you can not tell the difference. many of the most beautiful floors in the world are engineered. They are much kinder to the planet also if that matters to anyone! Good Luck all and I hope people take the 1st post seriously as it is a good one!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 11:08PM
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We put Harris Tarkett engineered natural hickory flooring in our kitchen. I chose hickory because it is harder than red oak and has a lower coefficint of expansion when moist. The flooring we chose had square edgis with no bevil at the seams because in a kitchen we didn't want groves to collect dirt. The floor wae edge glued using the glue specified by H.T. and the floor floats above an 5/166 thidk cork underlayment to be easier on my wifes legs. This flooring had a 50 year warrantee on the finish which was a mixture of urethane and acryic varnish with aluminum oxide dissolved in it to minimize wear. It has stood up very well to any abraision damage but we dropped a butcher knife end on into it and it cut the finish and wood. That would happen to any floor. There have been tiny places where sharp things nicked it but not many. The biggest mess we had was when a bottle of superglue spilled on it and my wife didn't discover it until the glue dried. I had to scrape it off with a single edge razor scraper and I cut through the finish in aress about an inch or so in diameter. No fault of the flooring. I understand that Harris Tarkett no longer exists and the Harris line may not be the same. At the time we got it, it was rated among the top 3 or 4 engineered floors by one rating service online. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 1:00AM
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