The TRUTH about Engineered Flooring - 

What You Need to Know Before Shopping for Hardwood Flooring. 

January 22, 2019

by Laura Anzures

People are often disappointed when they are told they can't install solid hardwood flooring in a basement.  There is a common misconception that engineered hardwood is inferior to solid hardwood.  That is only true when it comes to cheap, builders' grade engineered flooring.  This is what you find in new construction and flipped houses to keep costs low. It wears down quickly and fades horribly. I understand why so many people tell me they don't want engineered flooring. 

Wood swells when the moisture content is elevated and shrinks when the moisture content is reduced. This is just like a kitchen sponge that shrinks when it dries and expands in water.  Basements have higher humidity than rooms that are above ground. Concrete wicks moisture, which means a room with a concrete floor and walls is going to be humid. Engineered flooring has layers of wood compressed together for stability.  It won't expand and contract the way solid wood does.  It is specifically manufactured for installation on a slab or below grade or when a wide plank floor is desired. Most manufacturers no longer make wide plank flooring with solid wood. It is too problematic. They only make engineered wide plank flooring.

As a consumer, you should know that there are plenty of high quality engineered hardwood flooring options that outlast the bargain flooring.  The best engineered floors now have incredibly durable finishes that will not need maintenance for at least another 20 years, longer with proper care.  If you do want to have the option of refinishing to change the color at some point down the road, look for an engineered floor with a flat surface and at least a 3 mm wear layer. 

You can't sand down a hand scraped engineered floor. The good news is, you shouldn't have too.  Most hand scraped floors are also distressed and have quite a bit of character (knots, spots, etc.). If you damage the floor, simply touch up the damage and it becomes part of the character of the floor. You can have the floors touched up and re-coated when they begin to show wear.  Hand scraped floors have been around since Georgia was a colony. They will never go out of style.