(Hopefully my last) solid vs engineered questions

sweetbabyjames5August 6, 2011

DH and I finally closed on our house and as demo has begun in the kitchen and various other rooms, we have discovered our slab is not level. We were going to go with solid hardwood, but this discovery has caused us to rethink our decision.

Currently, all flooring is level - parquet, tile, carpet, and linoleum. The linoleum is very thin, right on top of the slab. The tile is 1" thick with 1/8" mortar. The tile is recessed into the slab. We planned to have all flooring removed, but now the subfloor in all three tiled rooms, as well as in room with parquet, would have to be thicker (or multiple layers of subfloor) in order to be the same level as the kitchen (old linoleum). Once we add the subfloor and the solid hardwood, we are adding roughly 1.5", which may be a lot considering we have 8' ceilings. Our contractor is worried about the additional height with the casings around the doors as well as the actual doors.

Our other option is to use unfinished white oak engineered with square edges. We want it to look exactly like the solid hardwood we planned on using. It's wear layer is as thick as the wear layer above the tounge and groove portion of the solid hardwood. If we went this route, it would be glued on top of the parquet, tile, and linoleum (something would need to be added to carpeted rooms to get levels even). This seems easier and faster, but will actually cost more. This house is in an area with terrible soil movement - I have heard it's the third worst in the nation.

Hopefully that all made sense. Now, on to our NUMBER ONE concern - durability. How durable is engineered wood? We have over 3200sf to cover and are looking at 27-32K in cost. We don't want to have to replace everything in 20 years. We plan to stay in this house until it's simply too big for us, so Id' guess at least 30 years. Anotherwards, we love it to last a lifetime.

All you flooring experts out there: what do you recommend????

Many many thanks for reading this (and probably some of my other posts!)

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Not an expert but...

Engineered flooring can be as good - or bad - as the manufacturer wants to be. Some stuff has a thin layer of actual wood so you'll have trouble refinishing it, others have a thick veneer that they claim has a similar refinish count as solid. And as with solid, some manufacturers use better finishes that will last longer.

In general, I'd expect engineered to be similarly durable within the same wood species. As you're looking for longevity (aka ability to refinish?), look for an engineered product that has a thick veneer.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 3:54PM
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Sorry to threadjack, but when you use engineered (vs hardwood finished onsite), is there a concern about the gap between the panels? I guess my concern is that the finish may be fantastic, but couldn't liquids etc. get in-between the planks and negate the finish's benefits?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 10:21PM
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