Cost of Engineered Vs. Hardwood Floors

It's hard to tell whether this is real or engineered hardwood flooring.

It's hard to tell whether this is real or engineered hardwood flooring.

Hardwood flooring is all the rage in homes today. Its popularity has a great deal to do with the many options now available to homeowners, at a far lower price than traditional hardwoods would cost. You can save several dollars per square foot by going with engineered hardwood floors, as well as enjoy easier upkeep, but traditional hardwoods last longer and allow for multiple instances of sanding and refinishing.

Engineered Wood Vs Hardwood Cost

You often can’t tell the difference between engineered wood and hardwood floors by simply looking at it. That’s because engineered hardwood incorporates a layer of real hardwood on top of layers of engineered wood planks. Since only a thin layer of real wood is on top of layers of plywood or a similar derivative wood product, you can save considerable money by going that route.

It can be tough to nail down hardwood flooring cost, whichever option you choose, since it can vary based on the type and thickness of wood you select, as well as the number of wood layers on engineered hardwood flooring. Generally speaking, engineered hardwood will range from $3 to $14 per square foot compared to $8 to $15 per square foot for regular hardwood.

Ease of Installation

When calculating engineered wood vs. hardwood cost, it’s important to consider how much you’ll spend on installation. Since installation of engineered wood is usually cheaper than hardwood flooring installation, you can save money in that area. This is especially true if you’re paying by the hour.

In addition to hardwood flooring cost, it’s also important to consider the versatility of manufactured hardwood. You can install it in many areas hardwood won’t go, including above concrete and over radiant heat systems. However, the durability of certain hardwoods may make it worth the extra expense.

Self-Installation to Save Money

One way to keep hardwood flooring cost down is to install it yourself. But if you choose to do so, engineered hardwood could make things much easier for you. Unless you’re an experienced do-it-yourselfer, it’s best to leave hardwood flooring to professionals, as installation can become pretty complicated. Experts know the right moisture mediation procedures, as well as the proper board spacing necessary to keep your floor from being damaged during normal wear and tear.

Engineered hardwood flooring, on the other hand, has multiple options for installation. You can even simply set the boards down, packing them tightly in, creating what’s called a floating floor. But even if you choose to bolt your boards down, you’ll have the option of nailing, stapling or gluing.

Cost of Ongoing Maintenance

When you’re looking at engineered wood vs. hardwood cost, it’s tempting to consider how much it will cost to keep it up after you’ve installed it. The surface of engineered hardwood will be identical to the hardwood you choose if you go nonengineered, so the maintenance requirements are similar. You’ll need to use a microfiber floor sweeper and cleaners specifically designed for the type of wood you have to keep that shine.

If you ever need to sand and refinish your hardwood, you’ll find you’re better off with traditional hardwood than engineered hardwood. Although some veneer types do allow you to sand and refinish your engineered hardwood floors, you’ll find you’re limited to doing this only once, twice at best. With traditional hardwood, you can sand and refinish multiple times.

You can’t beat solid hardwood when it comes to durability. With proper maintenance, it can last for many decades. But one thing in engineered hardwood’s favor is moisture resistance. Although you should always try to keep any type of wood flooring dry, engineered hardwood will be slightly less sensitive to moisture than its hardwood counterpart.

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About the Author

Stephanie Faris has written about finance for entrepreneurs and marketing firms since 2013. She spent nearly a year as a ghostwriter for a credit card processing service and has ghostwritten about finance for numerous marketing firms and entrepreneurs. Her work has appeared on The Motley Fool, MoneyGeek, Ecommerce Insiders, GoBankingRates, and ThriveBy30.

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