Best Engineered Hardwood Flooring: Everything You Need To Know

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You’ve probably come here in search of the best engineered hardwood flooring. In that case, I have good news for you. You don’t need to look any further! We can help decide which is the best-engineered hardwood floor to install to give your project. 

Engineered wood flooring has been so successful in replacing solid wood flooring because of its durability. In this article, we’ll run you through the ins and outs of engineered hardwood and which will work best for you.

What exactly is Engineered Hardwood Flooring?

Engineered wood flooring is a relatively new addition to the market. It’s made with the classic look of solid wood paired with moisture resistance. The construction of these floors is such that they provide a longer lifespan. 

A layer of actual hardwood is sandwiched between acrylic protective layers and plywood. These layers act as the barrier between the wood and the moisture from the environment. Something that is missing from solid wood floorings. 

The concept of engineered wood has been around for a while. Over time, it’s been improved upon and perfected consistently to ensure that it can compete in the highly competitive flooring industry. 

Benefits of Engineered Wood Flooring 

While you may have a vague idea of what it means to have engineered wood floors, we have compiled a list of benefits you can get from this installation. These are some of the key features customers look for when deciding on the types of engineered flooring they need. 

Wood Inside is Protected from Moisture 

Engineered wood floors are less susceptible to warping (deforming due to moisture absorption) of the wood. This feature comes from its plywood construction and insulating layers. These layers ensure that there is little to no contact of the wood with the humidity in the air or from any accidental spills. 

Vinyl Layers Protects from Heat Damage

A block of solid hardwood may expand in the presence of intense heat. Engineered wood floors have layers of acrylic as their top barrier to make sure the heat and rising temperatures don’t affect their shape or size. 

The layers are put down in opposing directions which helps in maintaining the shape. The layers are unable to slide off or move from their position. Hence, they’ll stop the wood under them from being exposed to the outside environment. 

Cost-Effective Construction 

The plywood used in the construction of these floors is a much cheaper material compared to solid wood. This alone makes a world of difference for the customer who doesn’t want to break the bank on new floors. 

An interesting feature of these floors is the way they’re installed in your home. They can just be placed on top of the existing floor without any damage. Solid hardwood floors require more prep in terms of installation. They’re glued or nailed to floors which can lead to the surface being wrecked. 

So, if you want to save your floors from being ruined and you’re looking to upgrade their look on a budget, engineered hardwood floors are the way to go. You might end up saving enough money to redo the kitchen as well, but that’s a conversation for a different time. 

Easier Installation Process 

Most of the installation of engineered hardwood floors is done by the tongue-and-grip method to interlock the floor with the wood flooring. This can take less than 24 hours of installation. While other methods can include gluing. 

The gluing process takes no more than a day or two to completely dry up and secure the layers. This is known as the floating floor installation. It doesn’t require any prepping or drilling to make the floor surface ready for installation. In some cases, you may need to spend a little extra on an underlying pad or padding material for the installation of thinner layers. 

Successful Imitation of Solid Hardwood Flooring 

Since there’s a layer of wood just beneath the top acrylic, the floors can have the same look as those made entirely of wood. The art of making these engineered floors look as close to the real solid hardwood floors has been perfected over the years. Not even a woodpecker could tell the difference. 

The layer of wood required can be an expensive sample as well. Maybe you want one of those Brazilian cherry or walnut floors. Engineered hardwood can be made in all types of looks and in all gradients or colors to match your vision.

Top Considerations When Choosing the Best Type of Engineered Wood Floor 

Who doesn’t love sustainability? If I give you the option of choosing a floor that’ll give you the exact look of solid wood, that’s cheaper and more durable, and less of a threat to our forests, wouldn’t you jump at that opportunity? I would too!

Although, there are some things you should know that might be important when deciding which way to go from here. Since the development of engineered hardwood, we’ve seen a spike in the demands of consumers. This has led to a variety of options available in the market and you should know what to look for. 

The Top Veneer Layer Protecting all the Layers Beneath 

The part of the engineered floor that is in direct contact with the consumer is the top layer of veneer. This is where you’ll walk, drag your furniture, and the part your cats will claw at for fun. 

This veneer is insulated with transparent acrylic. This means that whatever color the veneer is will be the final look of your floor. These veneers are made from actual sheets of solid wood. This is the customizable part of the floor that can be made to look like any type of wood sample out there. We see these veneers being made of all the best types of wood sources (e.g., oak, mahogany, and bamboo). 

What makes this layer so customizable is the ability to just replace it in a few years if you’re looking to try a different type of wood. Although, for that to happen, you need to opt for the veneer to be more than 2 to 3 mm. 

What gives this layer its durability is the layer of transparent aluminum oxide on top of the laminate flooring. It’s worth noting that once you finish the layer of veneer with aluminum oxide, it can no longer be replaced. Keep this in mind when making your decision. 

Core Layers Holding the Veneer 

I don’t want to overwhelm you with too many options but you should know why engineered hardwood flooring is all the rage nowadays. The core materials are mostly dependent on the companies that manufacture this flooring. 

The thickness of these core plywood layers is an indicator of how long they’ll last. They put layers of plywood in alternating directions to make sure there is the smallest chance of warping. The general rule of thumb is to put a minimum of 7 to a maximum of 10 layers within each flooring option. 

Some companies may try high-density fiberboard (HDF) as their core material. This is indeed a cheaper option than plywood but one that will cause your floors to wear out faster. HDF provides little protection against moisture. This layer soaks up moisture and can completely damage the veneer on top. 

Maintenance for Longer Lifespan 

Did you know that maintenance of these floors can increase their lifespan by 4 to 6 years longer? They require almost the same upkeep as a solid hardwood floor. Waxing them once in a while and using specialized wood cleaners instead of mops and brooms can make a huge difference. The veneer is prone to staining from the moisture in the air, hence the need to apply wax and keep the floors dry.

The Best Engineered Hardwood Flooring Available Today

Below is a full range of engineered hardwood floorings available on the market today including their cost and the benefits vs downsides of choosing them so you can make an informed decision.

1. Heritage Mill Oak Harvest Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Cost of flooring per sq. ft. = $4.69 / sq. ft. 

Product Specifications:

  • Dimensions: ⅜ in. thickness x 4 ½ in. width
  • Veneer Thickness: 2mm
  • Finish: Oak 
  • Core materials: 5 layers of wood
  • Installation: Lay-and-click


  • Aluminum oxide layer on top to laminate flooring 
  • Makes a total of 20 sq. ft. flooring
  • 3 finishes (red, tan and natural oak)


  • Requires underlying padding 
  • No extra layer for moisture resistance 

2. Bellawood Red Oak Engineered Hardwood Flooring 

Cost of flooring per sq. ft. = $6.99 / sq. ft. 

Product Specifications:

  • Veneer Thickness: 3mm
  • Finish: Red Oak 
  • Core materials: Plywood
  • Installation: Nailing and glue 


  • Moisture and water resistance 
  • Aluminum oxide layer on top to laminate flooring 
  • Regular length pieces for solid hardwood look 


  • Installation is more difficult than other options

3. Malibu Wide Plank French Oak Rincon Hardwood Flooring 

Cost of flooring per sq. ft. = $ 4.88 / sq. ft. 

Product Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 6 ½ in. width
  • Veneer Thickness: 1.2mm
  • Finish: Oak
  • Core materials: HDF
  • Installation: Click and Lock


  • Layer of aluminum oxide to laminate flooring 
  • Boards are available in the same length 
  • 10 finishes available


  • Underlying padding required 
  • Susceptible to water damage   

4. Bellawood Select Maple Engineered Hardwood Flooring 

Cost of flooring per sq. ft. = $ 6.99 / sq. ft. 

Product Specifications:

  • Veneer Thickness: 3mm
  • Finish: Maple 
  • Core materials: Plywood
  • Installation: Nailing and glue 


  • Option to refinish 
  • Look of solid hardwood due to planks of varying lengths 
  • Less prone to scuff and damage due to patented layers 
  • Tongue-and-groove design to avoid layers sliding off


  • Underlying padding required  

5. Heritage Mill Red Oak Natural Engineered Hardwood Flooring 

Cost of flooring per sq. ft. = $ 6.99 / sq. ft. 

Product Specifications:

  • Veneer Thickness: 2mm
  • Finish: Red Oak
  • Core materials: 6 layers of wood
  • Installation: Glue down or glue-less


  • Real domestic hardwood construction
  • Aluminum oxide finish to laminate flooring 
  • Solid hardwood looks due to variable plank lengths 
  • Variable installation techniques 


  • Susceptible to water damage   


Which Engineered Hardwood is Best?

The Heritage Mill Oak Harvest engineered hardwood flooring seems to be the most suitable in the market today. It’s available in multiple types of looks and finishes. 

The rates are some of the lowest on the market and the installation seems to be the least harmful to existing floors. Just be sure you’re able to keep up with the maintenance and upkeep of this flooring.

What is the Best Thickness for Engineered Wood Flooring?

The available options range from 7 mm up to 15 mm in thickness and the thicker the flooring is, the less it will be worn down through the years. 

The thicker the flooring, the harder it is for moisture and heat to make it to the deeper layers and cause warping and distorting in the veneer layer. The optimum thickness is 7 mm or above for the topmost layer, and additional coats of approximately ¾ inch. 

What is the Most Durable Engineered Hardwood?

The hardwood flooring that has an aluminum oxide layer as the top lamination will be more durable. The top layer faces the most wear and tear and hence, is the layer that’ll be worn out the fastest. Bellawood Red Oak can be a fine choice for the most durable flooring. Since it has a thickness of 3mm and has plywood layers that prohibit the entrance of moisture in the layers. This will increase the lifespan of the installed floor. 

What are the Disadvantages of Engineered Hardwood Flooring?

The disadvantages of engineered hardwood flooring include:

  • The need to add in extra layers of protection and laminates if you want the floors to last longer. 
  • Using a better type of wood for the veneer layer will increase the cost. 
  • The core layers are less durable than actual solid hardwood floors that can let moisture and heat pass through as these they aren’t perfect insulators. 
  • There’s a chance of the wood fading over time if you avoid the top layer of aluminum oxide.
  • The care for these floors is very specific and requires materials that may not be accessible to everyone. Not everyone is skilled at polishing the floors with wax and maintaining them with wood-suitable cleaners. The maintenance cost may be just as much as it would cost you for solid hardwood floors. 

It’s important to remember that not all engineered hardwood is created equal. Ultimately, you get what you pay for and if you go for the cheapest option, you’re almost guaranteed to run into all these disadvantages listed above. Go for a mid to high-quality option and you’re less likely to experience these disadvantages.

Choose the Best Engineered Flooring for Your Space

If you’ve made it this far in the article, I hope you’ve made up your mind about the option that fits your requirements the best. 

The choices of the best of the best engineered wood floorings depend on the thickness, core layers, and materials as well as the cost of installation and maintenance. The choices we have put forward are all durable due to a higher thickness. Most of these are water and moisture resistant and have variable lengths of pieces and planks to offer a more authentic finish to the floors. 

Since these floors are so cheap, there’s no harm in trying this new-age technology in your own home. You won’t regret it. And even if you do, they’re just as cheap to replace in a few years! 

Let us know what you decide to go with in the comments below!

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Joe McGuinty
I’ve been working with floors for over 12 years. I started as a flooring contractor, primarily in materials selection. Then, I switched careers into accounting, so my wife and I began buying, renovating, and re-selling homes on the side. You’d be surprised how much value you can add to a home simply by adding new floors.

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