What Is Composite Wood Flooring? Types and Uses

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Flooring choices differ depending on factors such as cost, durability, versatility, esthetic benefits, and environmental impact. If there is a flooring type that meets all these benefits and never goes out of style, it’s obvious that composite wood flooring is the winner. In terms of versatility, composite wood flooring can be used in indoor and outdoor spaces. So when choosing composite wood flooring or other woody materials, here are some key factors to keep in mind.

What is composite wood flooring?

Composite wood flooring or engineered flooring comprises a thick plywood-like block and a thin veneer of dry wood. It comes in a wide range of colors, styles, and designs, making it a popular choice among homeowners with versatile flooring differences. Unlike other flooring materials, composite comes from small fibers from young trees, encouraging the growth of forests.

Common hardwood is harvested straight out of raw wood, but engineered floor processing is more complex. The outer layer is a hardwood veneer, which is sliced into whatever thickness you desire. The outer part is shinier, adding an esthetic appeal to your floor. The inner layer, on the other hand, consists of high-density fiberboard, hardwood, or plywood. These materials hold the veneers in place and support the floor’s foundation.

Can you install composite flooring outdoors?

Besides indoor spaces, composite wood flooring also works perfectly outdoors. Unlike hardwood flowing, composite is prefinished for easy installation. Its plywood layers rely on tongue-and-groove technology to add more strength per inch. With such an advantage, it is highly unlikely for it to crack, split or expand due to moisture, making it perfect for outdoor spaces like patios and pergolas.

However, you should ensure it is well-laminated to prevent rainwater from permeating through it. Whether you want to pre-finish your floor or want a durable flooring solution that can also apply outdoors, composite wood is the best option.

Types of composite flooring

Since its manufacturing process involves patching piles of wood on top of each other, composite wood flooring is built to last, giving value for your money. Its veneers are sliced rather than cut with a saw, minimizing sawdust wastes. Also, they are harvested from fast-growing trees, shortening replenishing time. This concept guarantees an all-green environment. Whether you prefer softwood or hardwood, composite wood flooring is so versatile that you’ll be spoilt for choices.

Composite flooring comes in three styles as shown below:


Since composite flooring relies on wood from fast-growing trees, bamboo which is also a type of grass qualifies as a stylish flooring solution. Bamboo is soft and easy to cut in wider planks. Flooring experts wait until the bamboo is mature enough for harvesting. Unlike other composite materials, the cost of transporting bamboo is higher, making it a bit less green.

Maple and other domestic woods

In terms of eco-friendliness, oak, maple, and other domestic woods are considered the greenest. Most of these trees grow fast, making them perfect for composite wood flooring veneers. You will find them growing in secluded areas in most countries, reducing transportation costs. If you are working on a budget but still want a flooring solution that guarantees durability, go for these domestic woods instead of exotic ones. Furthermore, they come in dark to light shades of brown, giving a rustic appearance to your floors.

Exotic woods

For homeowners with an upscale taste, exotic woods for floors are the best option to consider. Unlike domestic woods, exotic woods come in a wide range of colors and styles. They don’t limit your options to woody colors. You can choose any color you want as long as it fits your décor requirements. Nevertheless, you still need to be careful about the type of exotic wood you choose since most of them come with the baggage of transportation and energy costs.


Upscale engineered composite floors cost around $8 to $12 per square foot. Prices vary based on the type of wood. For example, exotic hardwoods take more time to mature than softwoods. Their cost will be higher than the ones harvested from fast-growing trees. While both options are durable, exotic floors tend to last longer.

Sometimes, your supplier may charge you for extra costs. However, the extra cost depends on factors such as the quality, shipping costs, and manufacturing process. You may also incur an extra cost if you want it laminated. With hardwood as popular as maple, composite flooring offers value for your money. Installation costs also vary depending on your contractor’s professional expertise and the size of your house. Whatever the case, beware of wood flooring contractors who quote prices without coming to inspect your house first.

While common hardwoods may be cheaper than exotic types, they will still take longer to install. When going for either option, ensure you weigh their pros and cons first. Ensure you get a good flooring professional who understands the properties of each type of wood.


In terms of durability, engineered wooden floors are considered more durable than ordinary wood. Many varieties are eye-appealing and can last more than ten years. Unlike laminates which are made from plastics and other materials that are toxic to the environment, composite wood is pre-finished and easy to install. Not only are they moisture-resistant, but they are also easy to install.

While composite wood is considered to be more durable than conventional wood, its tolerance for moisture still attracts skeptics who’ve tried wood flooring before. Like any other woods, they don’t respond well to harsh cleaning products. They can also get scratches from your furniture. That means you will need to spend money for repairs if it gets chipped or damaged by debris and other household items. Also, you might find it cumbersome with rooms that have more moisture content like your basement.

One of the biggest perks that come with such floors is that they are easy to install. Did you know that you can put your DIY skills to the test, particularly if you have a background understanding of how flooring installation works? While this might seem like a good plan to save the weight of your pocket, the last thing you want is to pay the price for your mistakes. To ensure you encounter any problems, get an experienced flooring contractor to install it for you

Is composite wood flooring waterproof?

Composite wood flooring has moisture resistance properties, guaranteeing waterproof benefits. With multiple layers of wood piled and glued on top of each other, it is highly unlikely for water or any other liquid substance to sip through it. furthermore, the layering adds robust stability to your floor. whether you prefer composite hardwood or soft plywood, you can rest assured that the tongue-and-groove system that either option has passed through guarantees little-to-no maintenance.

When analyzing waterproof and water-resistant properties, it is imperative to realize that the two are not the same thing. A water-resistant material can withstand water for a period of time, but that doesn’t make it immune to damage. On the other hand, a flooring material that is considered waterproof is impervious to water. That means it can come into contact with water for many years, but it won’t get damaged. Engineered floors are water-resistant and waterproof, making them a popular choice for homeowners who want to get value for their investment.

Another point to note is that just because your flooring is impervious to moisture, it doesn’t mean that the foundation is also waterproof. This point applies to conventional wood and other laminate flooring solutions. The waterproofing business cuts both ways. If your floor foundation is sitting on top of an area with more than 4% moisture, it could damage your floor. Before installing this flooring type, ensure the subfloor doesn’t compromise the outer layer’s ability to be impervious to water or moisture.


There is no denying that engineered flooring holds one the longest world records for luxury and timeless beauty. A room with such a floor is not only attractive to the eye, but it is a clear description of what value for your money is all about. Forget about how expensive it is, especially if you are going for the exotic type. Think about how safe and comfortable you feel when you arrive home and walk barefoot. doesn’t that sound like a good investment plan and feel therapeutic? As you decide on which style or color matches your personality, ensure you weigh its benefits and drawbacks. If possible, get composite flooring to expect to inspect your subfloor first before installing it.

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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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