Wood floors have a timeless and classic look and they work well with just about any type of home décor and design. However, they're also very expensive! A good choice for those who want the look and feel of hardwood but not the price tag is engineered hardwood flooring; this refers to wood planks with an underside made of inexpensive plywood or another material, with a veneer or thin top layer of another type of wood. The top layer may be cherry, mahogany, or a variety that would otherwise be very expensive as an entire plank. If you're thinking of choosing engineered hardwood flooring for your home, note a few questions to ask a contractor before work begins.
1. Always ask about the weight
Wood floors can be very heavy, especially if you opt for a certain species of wood that is very dense. Even though engineered flooring has a layer of plywood or other such choices for the underside which are usually lightweight, you still want to ask your contractor or a flooring manufacturer about its overall weight. Your home's subfloor may need added bracing to support this weight; if your home was constructed with only carpeting in mind as the floor covering, it may not be able to support the weight even of engineered hardwood floors, so always ask about this and note whether you should brace up the subfloor.
2. Ask if the type you choose can be direct glued
Direct glued refers to a type of installation of wood floor planks where a layer of glue or adhesive is applied to the subfloor and the planks are set down on top of this. If this is the type of installation you're choosing, be sure you ask about planks that can be direct glued. Not all materials used for the underside of the engineered hardwood floor can adhere to the glue used for flooring, and you don't want to assume that you can buy the cheapest engineered hardwood or just any style and use it with direct gluing.
3. Note how often you can sand down the hardwood
Because the topside of an engineered hardwood floor is just a thin layer of a certain variety of wood, it may not be able to be sanded down as often as solid planks. Be sure you ask about this so you aren't planning on sanding and staining or treating your floors too often, lest they become overly thin and the underside of the planks begins to show.