Hardwood floors are rarely installed in basements because there’s too much potential for moisture that can damage the floors over time. Therefore, laminate or other types of flooring may be installed. These flooring options generally scream “I’m a basement!” Now, you can have the beauty of real hardwood in the basement because of engineered hardwood.
What is engineered hardwood?
Engineered hardwood is made from real wood, but it is engineered sort of like plywood. The layers are all wood, but the top is the only fine-quality hardwood. This gives the homeowner the same feeling and look of hardwood but generally with a lower price. Engineered hardwood can be nailed, stapled, glued or floating, so it is very versatile. It does not require a sub-floor, and it can be installed over cement. How is this possible? It’s all in the design.
What is so special about its design?
Similar to plywood, engineered hardwood is stronger than solid wood because each layer’s wood orientation is cross-grain. Parallel grain lines that are in solid hardwood do not have the added strength of cross-grain, and they are more susceptible to weakness. You still get the beauty of parallel lines on top, so there really isn’t much difference to the owner of an engineered hardwood floor.
How does it withstand water exposure?
The cross-grain design of engineered hardwood does not allow it to shrink and expand as much because the wood is bonded together, and it holds tight. They can handle typical moisture found on basement floors as long as the basement is sealed. Some installations allow air to flow beneath the engineered flooring, so any moisture can dry.
Are there any downfalls to engineered hardwood?
If you do leave standing water on engineered hardwood, you will have the same problems as solid hardwood. Also, because it is wood, it is susceptible to mold growth. However, if you are installing it in an area that doesn’t have a lot of water risk (not a laundry room or bathroom), it is less likely that you’ll have any problems as a result of water.
The only other downfall is that engineered hardwood cannot be refinished as many times as solid hardwood. Solid wood can be refinished for the life of the home because it is very thick. Engineered hardwood only has the thickness of the top layer to work with.
There are advantages to solid hardwood and engineered hardwood, but one of the big advantages of engineered hard wood is that it can be installed below grade, and your basement can have the same richness available to above-grade floors.
Check out our Gallery of projects to see the wide variety of colors, textures, and plank widths you can choose from!
Visit our showroom and choose from our large selection of wood, laminate, and carpet. If you are interested in our products and installed prices, we will be happy to measure your project and give you a free written quote. Call us today at (512) 335-7262 or complete the form and we will contact you!