What Are the Disadvantages of Engineered Wood Flooring?

Recent reports show that natural materials are on trend for home design for 2024. Wood flooring is always a popular choice.

Wood is durable and renewable. It's a beautiful and practical choice for homeowners. Compared to many modern flooring choices, wood is surprisingly affordable.

There are various forms of wood flooring, including engineered wood. Before you replace your existing floors with engineered wood, you should be aware of some engineered wood flooring drawbacks.

Here's a look at the disadvantages of engineered wood flooring.

Engineered Wood Is Pricey

One big disadvantage of engineered wood flooring is the cost. Compared to many types of flooring, engineered wood is more expensive.

It's more expensive than options such as carpeting, vinyl, or laminate flooring. Although solid hardwood floors are typically more expensive, you have to consider the quality of the flooring you're getting.

Natural hardwood is superior in quality, durability, and appearance. If you choose engineered wood products, be sure to select higher-grade options of engineered wood.

Low-Quality Core

When choosing floors, be sure to consider how wood flooring differs from engineered wood at its core. Engineered wood is created with processed layers that are glued together.

Over these layers, there's another layer of high-quality veneer. Even though the piece may look like solid wood, it's actually made of layers of an inferior wood product.

The composition of engineered wood varies. Sometimes, the layers are made of oriented strand board (OBS). This makes your flooring less durable to any impact and weight from heavy objects.

Engineered wood can be difficult to refinish. Its low-quality core is sensitive to temperature fluctuations, and refinishing results can vary.

Prone to Fading

Engineered wood flooring fades over time as it's exposed to sunlight. If your home gets lots of natural light, you can expect some fading.

Most homes do get some natural light, and area rugs and furniture over an engineered wood surface can make the problem worse. This can result in areas of uneven fading on your floors.

Although rugs may protect some areas of your floor, they can lead to noticeable harsh lines as other areas fade. If you have engineered wood flooring, it's a good idea to keep your drapes or blinds closed during the sunniest part of the day to prevent fading.

Engineered Wood Must Acclimate

Many people aren't aware that engineered wood flooring, like wood flooring, needs to acclimate. Wood flooring should sit in your home for several days before installation.

For convenience, store the planks as close as possible to the area where you plan to install them. Storing them in a damp garage or basement won't work.

When there's moisture present, wood planks can swell. This can create an uneven surface or gaps and cracks in the flooring.

Engineered Wood Requires Specific Care

If you're choosing floors, you should know that engineered wood requires specific care. You want to avoid exposing these floors to any standing water.

Wipe any spills or splashes right away to prevent water damage. Avoid using harsh cleaners that can erode or dull the engineered wood surface.

It's not a good idea to steam-clean engineered wood products. Heat and steam can damage the planks. Using a steam mop can damage the wood surface as well.

Whatever type of flooring you choose, be sure to read the manufacturer's care instructions before cleaning your floor.

Limits to Refinishing

Unlike tile or vinyl flooring, wood floors can be refinished. The refinished floor can look new again.

With engineered wood floors, there's a limit to how many times you can refinish them. These floors are created with layers of compressed materials with veneer on top.

Once the veneer has worn away, the beauty of the wood is gone, and it cannot be refinished. You can refinish traditional wood floors many times over the lifetime of the floor.

You can also stain a wood floor, changing it from dark to light, or any option that's on trend for the season.

Susceptible to Dents and Scratches

If you're considering adding engineered wood flooring to your home, be aware that they are less durable than other flooring options. All wood floors are subject to wear and tear.

The difference is a solid wood floor can be refinished, and that's not always the case with an engineered wood product. If your floor is cheaply made with thin layers, it's more vulnerable to dents and scratches.

Dropping objects and even normal wear and tear can dent the surface and affect the appearance of your floor.

Emits Dangerous Chemicals

Another disadvantage of engineered wood flooring is that it can emit potentially hazardous chemicals or VOCs. These types of floors are made of composite wood and held together with adhesive.

Some cheaply made floors can emit formaldehyde or other VOCs. Many engineered wood products are safe, but they're not all created equally.

Well-known distributors and manufacturers are more likely to sell safe engineered wood products you can count on. To avoid this possibility completely, you may want to choose solid hardwood flooring for your home.

Hollow Sounding Surface

Engineered wood is lighter and less dense than traditional wood. It's made from composites and veneers and is typically thinner than solid wood planks.

This can give the wood a hollow sound when you walk across it. Engineered wood is often installed as a floating floor. It isn't nailed or glued down in the same way wood floors are.

This can also make the floor sound hollow or clunky as you walk across it. Low-grade wood products are more likely to produce these sounds.

Dense, higher-quality engineered floors or solid wood floors do not produce these hollow sounds.

Disadvantages of Engineered Wood Flooring

Although they can be beautiful, there are some distinct disadvantages of engineered wood flooring. It's important to consider these disadvantages before choosing the right flooring for your home.

At National Floors Direct, we feature top brands in carpet and flooring products. Every type of flooring we install exceeds U.S. standards. We offer the highest-quality flooring available at the lowest available prices.

If you're ready for a new floor, get a free estimate today.