Engineered or hardwood debate

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  #1  
Old 09-05-10, 12:07 PM
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Engineered or hardwood debate

We're looking to install hardwood floors. I'm partial to real hardwood but my wife prefers engineered because there's more to choose from. I live in a dry climate (L.A.) and a subfloor is not an issue. My main issue is with the quality of engineered wood. I've heard some people say it doesn't "feel" right under your feet compared to hardwood, that you can't refinish it as easily or as often. I'm curious if there are any refinishers out there who can comment on the quality of engineered wood. If we do go with engineered, what's the minimum top layer thickness I should look for to expect to be able to resand 2 or 3 times?
 
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Old 09-05-10, 02:38 PM
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I'll have to side with you mainly for the firmness of the floor. Laminates are fine, wear well, but just don't have the feel I like. But opinions are like bellybuttons, everybody's got one.
You didn't say if you were installing it on a subfloored wooden floor or on a concrete floor, so the jury is still out.
Most prefinished hardwoods will come with a 20 plus year wearthrough warranty. Laminates will do the same. I don't have any experience with the refinishing of laminate, but in seeing the construction, I wouldn't think it possible more than once, if at all. In 20 years you'd be ready for another floor anyway, so refinishing it doesn't even enter my mind when doing flooring.
 
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Old 09-05-10, 03:39 PM
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The biggest concern with engineered hardwoods and their ability to be refinished is not the thickness of the wear (top) layer, although many will lead you to think so. It's the original condition of the sub floor underneath. In other words, how flat is it? When floors are sanded the machines run on a parallel plane. If they have to transverse low and high areas more material will be taken from some areas and not others. Professionals will often term it breaking through the wear layer. It can be here and there but generally ruin the chances of making it right.

Whatever you decide and go with engineered make sure the installers are aware of how important the sub floor should be. It will cost extra, and sometimes can be very expensive. On the other hand, chances are the floor may never need refinishing but depends on your assessment of whether or not it needs refinishing. Some can live with a dinged up floor, others can't.

In a perfect world, anything in the 3mm range can be refinished twice. Perfect means sub floor flatness and ability of the finisher. This would apply to natural finishes with smooth floors with no mention of how damaged the floor is.
 
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Old 09-07-10, 09:33 PM
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Thanks for the info, that's very helpful. Do you think that there's any real benefit to solid wood over engineered? Sounds like even with solid wood, refinishing is limited to a few mm anyway because you start to hit the tongue, or nails. Is that true?
 
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Old 09-07-10, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by chandler View Post
I'll have to side with you mainly for the firmness of the floor. Laminates are fine, wear well, but just don't have the feel I like. But opinions are like bellybuttons, everybody's got one.
You didn't say if you were installing it on a subfloored wooden floor or on a concrete floor, so the jury is still out.
Most prefinished hardwoods will come with a 20 plus year wearthrough warranty. Laminates will do the same. I don't have any experience with the refinishing of laminate, but in seeing the construction, I wouldn't think it possible more than once, if at all. In 20 years you'd be ready for another floor anyway, so refinishing it doesn't even enter my mind when doing flooring.

Oops, I missed this message when I just replied to Hardwood Guy. I've got two rooms on a wooden subfloor (it's a raised living room and office, above a garage) and one ground floor that's concrete and will need a subfloor put in.

The engineered woods I'm looking at are mostly 3 or 4 mm on the top layer.

I am concerned with the "feel" of the wood under my feet, how different is engineered from solid in that regard?
 
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Old 09-08-10, 03:24 AM
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I have glued down engineered floor over concrete and it feels fine. Hate the feeling I get from walking over floating floors.
 
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Old 09-08-10, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by pugsl View Post
Hate the feeling I get from walking over floating floors.
We are considering a Pergo (or similar) floor for our bedroom which is currently carpeted. I've never heard anyone comment about the "feel" of different floors before. Could you explain what it is about a floating floor that you don't like?
 
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Old 09-08-10, 02:52 PM
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Sound hollow brother in laws squeak and they had it pulled up and replaced and it still dose it.Don't know why thwet still have i other than installers won't fix it anymore.
 
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Old 09-08-10, 06:27 PM
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i have a "better" quality engineered in my kitchen/dining room, slab. i flattened the floor, though not perfectly. and i know where the high & low spots are....

i did the install. the instructions said is was ok to use warped boards. i didn't use the badly warped ones.

when i was done. the "feel" wasn't the greatest. but i wasn't offended by it. and there was 2 spots that i knew were flat, and i had used warped boards. those spots were a lil squishy.

now, 2 years later. things have settled down a LOT.
it feels much more solid. i am plenty happy with it.

i could have glued it down = super solid. but i knew someday it would have to come up. i figured that i would be the one doing it (i am selling now). and i DIDN'T want to have to remove glued down wood !!!
 
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