*Hardwood Flooring or Engineered Wood Flooring?

April 17, 2011
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No other type of floor can look as cozy and inviting as wood flooring.  It exudes warmth and elegance at the same time.  However, it can be an expensive option for flooring and a concern for environmentalists.   Solid hardwood flooring is the most expensive considering it is made entirely from hardwood.  Despite the cost, it will last for decades since it can be sanded to remove stains and scratches.  Since it is also the most expensive, it is the most luxurious and will considerably increase the value of any home.

However, most environmentalists frown on the use of hardwood flooring considering its heavy consumption of lumber from trees.  Hardwood floors are also vulnerable to moisture and water.  Changes in temperature or moisture can cause it to cup or expand.

Meanwhile, engineered wood flooring has a thin layer of hardwood on top bonded to layers of cheaper wood underneath like plywood or MDF as backing.  It is less expensive than solid hardwood floors — pricing largely depends on the thickness of the hardwood top layer.  Engineered wood flooring has the same look as hardwood flooring, except it can be sanded only 2 to 3 times only during the entire life of the floor.  Nevertheless, it is more resistant to moisture and temperature.  Although, consumers should be aware of the adhesive used to bind the layers together.  Some adhesives can cause the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) to seep from engineered wood and pollute the air.

Ultimately, the choice will depend on the budget allocated for the flooring.  Both have its pros and cons.  A higher budget would surely compel a homeowner to choose hardwood floors because of longevity and the impact on the value of the home.  On the other hand, a lower budget would make a homeowner settle for second best — the same look of hardwood but a lower longevity.

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