The Pros and Cons of Engineered Timber Flooring
Timber has traditionally been the pinnacle of flooring, with its elegant look and practical composition. Timber floorboards exude luxury and fill a home with warmth and character. In the late 1980s engineered timber was introduced to the Australian market and its popularity spread rapidly due to its affordable price tag and ease of installation.
With some beautiful engineered timber flooring options on the market, many people are now steering away from solid timber and opting for its less expensive counterpart. Engineered timber flooring is a fantastic solution when the look and feel of solid timber is desired but the budget does not allow for it. If you are looking to install engineered timber flooring, it is important to consider the pros and cons that come with it. Let’s delve into this below.
What is engineered timber flooring?
Engineered timber flooring is made up of multiple layers of timber veneer in a specific type of wood. The top layer is usually between 1-6mm and sits on additional layers which are constructed from ply, pine or rubber wood. Depending on the desired thickness (and budget) of the finished product, there can be anywhere between 3-12 layers beneath the top layer.
The pros of engineered timber flooring
Engineered Timber Flooring is Affordable
While there are a lot of pros when it comes to timber flooring, the biggest benefit when it comes to engineered timber is the cost. Depending on the chosen finish, engineered timber flooring can be up to $100 cheaper per square metre – a significant saving when you are looking to surface an entire house or office building.
Tip: An even more affordable option is vinyl flooring. Vinyl floors have a different appeal altogether. Engineered timber flooring is a fantastic middle ground between the two, that is both affordable and achieves some of the grandness of solid timber.
Engineered Timber Flooring is Stylish
The composition of engineered timber flooring may differ to solid timber, but the result is incredibly similar for people using the space. Engineered timber flooring can appear almost identical to solid timber, which is one of the reasons behind a major shift towards the engineered variety over the last decade. Improvements in the technology, materials and skills have allowed manufacturers to replicate the look and quality of solid timber. This improvement has helped homeowners and builders on a budget achieve floors of the highest standard. Whether it’s Pentarch engineered timber flooring (an Aussie favourite) or one of the Nature’s Oak timber flooring range, there is a finish for every build.
Tip: Engineered timber flooring is not only stylish, it’s also timeless. The finishes are long-lasting, and will withstand changes to the walls, furniture or room decor.
Engineered Timber Flooring is Moisture Resistant
Its relative moisture resistance is another advantage engineered timber flooring has over solid timber. Price and style aside, the practicality of engineered timber flooring cannot be ignored. In solid timber the fibres retain moisture which can cause expansion and contraction of the wood. This can cause long-term damage to your floors. Due to the layers of plywood underneath the engineered timber floorboards, weathering has less of an impact. This means that during extreme conditions, your floors will be less prone to buckling or creaking, and smaller expansion gaps can be left between the floorboards during installation. With that being said, we always recommend you keep your floorboards as dry as possible.
Tip: Engineered timber flooring can be compatible with water-fed underfloor heating, making it an ideal choice for places with cooler climates. This is also an excellent home improvement project to explore if you are looking to add value to your home before selling. If underfloor heating is a priority for you, ask our experts which flooring options are suitable.
The Cons of Engineered Timber Flooring
Of course, like every flooring solution, there are cons that come with engineered timber flooring. Fortunately, they are far outweighed by the pros.
- Maintenance: To maintain its shine and lustre, engineered timber flooring needs looking after. For some guidance on maintaining your floors, read this article on sanitising and cleaning timber floors.
- Fading: Unfortunately, all timber floorboards, including engineered timber, can fade over time if they are exposed to too much UV light. Some people don’t mind a little fading but if it bothers you, then it’s best to opt for lighter finishes like Arctic White engineered timber flooring or Aspen Grey engineered timber flooring. Alternatively, use this as an opportunity to style the home with stylish blinds or curtains that can block out the sun when it is at its harshest. Rugs are also a fantastic solution for protecting your engineered floorboards.
- Weakness: Ensure you do your research into engineered timber flooring and buy from a reputable and high-quality manufacturer. There are many suppliers of engineered woods that use cheap materials to build their floorboards. While they may appear to be a more affordable option, it will end up costing more overall as cracking or instability becomes apparent.
Our final verdict on engineered timber flooring is that it is an affordable, stylish, and relatively easy to maintain flooring solution. Available in a variety of finishes, it is a game changing product for homeowners, renovators, restorers, and the like. Its ability to look good in every home is why we stock many different options at Back to Timber. To browse our entire range of engineered timber flooring, click here or visit one of our four showrooms across Sydney.