Were you aware that engineered hardwood has become a strong flooring trend? In addition to being beautiful, it offers three benefits over solid wood floors that, depending on your installation project, may be critical.

While browsing through my website, you may have noticed that I work a lot with wood. I love wood! Most of my projects involve hardwood flooring, and once in a while, my clients want something different like engineered hardwood. Here’s why.

5 in wide Engineered Hardwood Floors Installed Throughout the House
5 in-wide Engineered Hardwood Floors were Installed Throughout the House

Engineered Hardwood Offers More Stability Than Solid Wood Floors

The most common reason why homeowners prefer engineered hardwood over solid hardwood is stability!

Engineered hardwood is composed of two layers – the top layer is the actual hardwood portion, while the bottom layer is made up of plywood or other materials. This plywood region is the one that provides the stability. It is made up of several thin layers of plywood which go in cross-sections and thus help to hold the engineered wood in place.

As a result, engineered floors are slightly more stable than solid hardwood and also perform slightly better in humid locations.

5″ Wide Engineered Hardwood Floors

Here’s an example of a project where the customers wanted engineered hardwood.

A young professional couple had been in the market to buy a house for a long time. When they finally settled on one, they performed an extensive renovation project.

For the floor, they wanted a dark, rich look, and found a sample of prefinished engineered hardwood they really liked. Although the existing floor in the original house was a 2 ¼ -inch wide hardwood, they wanted a wider plank for the new floor and selected a five-inch prefinished engineered hardwood in a dark brown.

They chose the engineered hardwood for its stability which matters when wider and longer planks are installed. They will also eventually perform better in seasonal relative humidity changes characteristic of Michigan’s climate.

With an engineered floor, you can go with a wider plank but just make sure to control the humidity to the same level of solid hardwood (30-50%).

The installation turned out beautifully with a floor that flowed throughout the house, and peace of mind that it would look great for years to come.

>> See Engineered Hardwood Flooring Installation

Wide-engineered planks in a light color with a hint of grey.

Engineered Wood is Ideal For Wider and Longer Planks

Hardwood planks are trending wider and longer, and deeper into engineered wood territory!

The clients in this next project wanted engineered hardwood. They had purchased a spectacular home in Saginaw Hills Estates, close to downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan, and were ready to convert this house into a current modern-day design that would show off its many interesting elements to look at – a magnificent two-story living room flaunting soaring ceilings, walls to windows, and a floor-to-ceiling brick fireplace.

7.5″ Wide European White Oak Engineered Wood Flooring

Their vision for the hardwood floors was clear: a wire-brushed 7.5”-wide European white oak engineered hardwood floor with an anti-scratch aluminum oxide finish top coat to increase durability. They had had the same floor in their last house and were very pleased with it.

The installation consisted of over 1,800 square feet in the living room, hallway, half bathroom, foyer, kitchen, and dining room. For the floor color, they chose to go with Dover, a light color with a hint of grey undertones, something with natural character that suited their décor and lifestyle perfectly.

>> See Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring Installations

Glue and nail down installation of 7.5 inch wide engineered white oak wood floor
Glue and nail down installation of 7.5 inch wide engineered white oak wood floor

Engineered Wood Can Be Installed in Areas Where Solid Hardwood Can’t

Engineered hardwood can be installed over various subfloors, including concrete! It can also be installed both below (i.e., in basements) and above grade, as well as via different installation methods (i.e. glue-down, floating with glued joints, floating click-together). That’s a lot of flexibility that solid hardwood doesn’t offer.

5″-Wide Maple Engineered Hardwood Installed Over Concrete Subfloor

This third project involved a couple who had purchased a condominium nestled in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor. This high-rise condominium was a real gem, with a beautiful layout and large windows providing spectacular views of the city and surrounding neighborhoods. They loved everything about it except the floor, which was part cork and part carpet.

Initially, they wanted to replace it with solid hardwood, but after checking with the condominium association learned that only floating installation with soundproofing would be allowed.

Having these requirements in mind (as well as the goals they had for their own floor), they chose a five-inch Maple engineered hardwood. Since this was a condominium, we had to ensure that we were following the proper rules and guidelines regarding any flooring renovations that would take place. Once all the details were clarified, I sat down with my clients and went over the plan.

First, the existing floor (cork and carpet) needed to be removed. Second, we needed to make sure the concrete subfloor was properly cleaned, then we would need to install an underlayment with a moisture barrier to reduce noise both above and below the floor. For the actual installation of engineered hardwood, the method I used was a floating method with an edge-glued tongue-and-groove.

As is the case with any hardwood installation where glue is involved, I had to be very meticulous and pay close attention to details. While installing the floors, I had to make sure to leave a small gap along the walls, something which would allow the floors to expand and contract during seasonal humidity and temperature changes. In the end, this maple-engineered floor paired beautifully with the gray tones of their light-filled home.

>> See Transform Your Home with Light-Colored Engineered Hardwood Floors

Maple Engineered Hardwood fits in perfectly.

Don’t Ignore These Engineered Hardwood Trends!

Given the significant benefits that engineered hardwood offers, you don’t want to ignore it as an option for your floors.

Is solid wood still king? I think it is, but does this make engineered hardwood the “new kid on the block”? It seems so, as today’s advances in technology and consumer education, this product is becoming increasingly popular.

When shopping for engineered hardwood, make sure you ask for all the details, especially the type of plywood used as this is the key to product stability! Baltic Birch is the most stable. Make sure to ask how thick the layer of hardwood is on the surface. And last but not least, try to buy a product that was made in the USA and uses sustainably harvested wood from American forests.

We consider ourselves very fortunate to have clients who welcome us into their homes and trust that we will deliver quality craftsmanship, expertise, and friendly service.

Let us know how to help you as you decide what kind of wood flooring is right for your home.

Thank you for reading.