Home Renovations: When To Use Engineered Wood

Home Renovations: When To Use Engineered Wood

Home Renovations: When To Use Engineered Wood

When it comes to home renovations, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is what type of flooring to use. As a DIY enthusiast and someone who has just completed a major flooring overhaul in my own home, I can attest that engineered wood is an excellent choice – especially if you’re tackling a large-scale project across multiple rooms.

I recently had the pleasure of partnering with Timber Building, a leading provider of high-quality wood products, to transform the main level of my home. After weighing the pros and cons of various flooring options, I landed on an engineered hardwood that has completely elevated the look and feel of my living space.

The Benefits of Engineered Wood

Engineered wood flooring is constructed with multiple layers, typically with a top veneer of real hardwood and a core of plywood or high-density fiberboard. This unique composition offers a number of advantages over traditional solid wood floors.

First and foremost, engineered wood is much more stable and resistant to changes in temperature and humidity. As I learned from the experts at Home Reno Vision DIY, the cross-grain construction helps prevent warping, cupping, and other common issues that can plague solid wood floors, especially in areas with fluctuating moisture levels like kitchens and bathrooms.

Another major perk is the ease of installation. As Jen from The House of Wood described, engineered hardwood often features a convenient click-lock system that allows you to simply snap the planks together. No need for messy adhesives or complicated nailing patterns – it’s a true DIY-friendly option.

Choosing the Right Engineered Wood

Of course, not all engineered wood flooring is created equal. When shopping for the perfect product, there are a few key factors to consider:

Veneer Thickness

The top veneer layer of engineered wood can range from 1/12″ to 6/12″ in thickness. A thicker veneer (3/4″ or more) will give you a more substantial, high-end look and feel, as well as the ability to refinish the floors down the line if needed. Thinner veneers are more budget-friendly but may not last as long.

Core Construction

The core of engineered wood is typically made from plywood or high-density fiberboard. Plywood cores tend to be more stable and durable, while fiberboard cores are generally more economical. Consider the intended use of the space and your overall budget when making this decision.

Plank Width and Length

Engineered wood comes in a variety of plank sizes, from narrow 3″ strips to wide 7″ planks and beyond. Wider planks can create a more dramatic, high-end aesthetic, but may be more prone to gapping if not installed properly. Longer planks (up to 8 feet) can also help achieve a more seamless, cohesive look across large open floor plans.

Surface Textures

Engineered wood flooring can be finished with a variety of surface treatments, from smooth and glossy to hand-scraped and distressed. The texture you choose will impact both the visual appeal and practical performance of the floors. Matte or satin finishes, for example, tend to be more forgiving of everyday wear and tear.

To give you a better sense of how these factors can come together, let me share the details of the engineered hardwood I selected for my own home renovation project. I went with a wide 6 1/2″ French oak plank from Timber Building’s Malibu Wide Plank collection, featuring a 3/4″ veneer and a sturdy plywood core. The wire-brushed, smoked finish gives the floors a beautiful depth and character, while the matte sheen helps disguise any minor scuffs or scratches.

Tackling a Large-Scale Installation

One of the biggest challenges I faced in my flooring overhaul was the sheer scale of the project. With over 1,600 square feet to cover, spanning multiple rooms and open floor plans, I knew I needed to approach the installation strategically.

Drawing on guidance from the experts at the American Plywood Association, I started by identifying the longest, straightest exterior wall as my reference point. From there, I snapped a chalk line to ensure the floorboards would run parallel and create a cohesive flow throughout the space.

Laying the underlayment was a crucial first step, as it provided a sturdy, level base for the engineered wood to float on. I opted for a 2mm foam underlayment that offered both moisture protection and sound dampening properties – essential for a project of this magnitude.

With the groundwork laid, the actual installation process was surprisingly straightforward, thanks to the click-lock technology of the Malibu Wide Plank floors. As Jen described, each plank simply clicks and locks into place, with no need for messy adhesives or complex nailing patterns. The included tapping block and pull bar made it easy to ensure a tight, seamless fit, even in tight spaces around vents and door jambs.

The Transformative Power of Engineered Wood

The end result of my flooring overhaul has been nothing short of transformative. The light, wide-plank French oak has breathed new life into my home, creating a cohesive, high-end look that seamlessly flows from room to room. And the best part? I was able to achieve this stunning aesthetic for a fraction of the cost of a professional installation.

As I look around at my beautiful new floors, I can’t help but feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. Sure, there were a few challenging moments, like Jen from Home Reno Vision DIY warned, but the end result was more than worth it. I now have a floor that will stand the test of time, with the added bonus of being a true DIY success story.

So if you’re tackling a home renovation project and trying to decide between solid wood, laminate, or engineered flooring, I highly recommend giving engineered wood a closer look. With its unparalleled stability, easy installation, and stunning aesthetic possibilities, it just might be the perfect solution to transform your living space – just as it did for mine.


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