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A Comprehensive Guide to

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Engineered Hardwood Floors have come a long way in the last two decades. In past years (the 1970s through the ’90s), Engineered Flooring was originally sold as a lower-cost alternative to Solid Wood Flooring. It was mass-produced in factories just like any old plywood board and sold for 20-50% cheaper than it’s Solid Hardwood Flooring counterpart. But the concept is brilliant. Engineered Wood Flooring is built like plywood and topped with a hardwood veneer, so this construction method increases flexibility and helps improve indent performance.

Thin Wear Layer on Engineered Hardwood flooring

These days, this lower-priced alternative still exists and can be an option for a multitude of project needs such as light-use residential room flooring, temporary housing needs, wall decor, and a few other applications which do not impose heavy wear usage. The reason for these recommended applications is that the wear layer on these less expensive Engineered Hardwood Flooring options do not

allow for any sanding and refinishing, therefore the lifespan

of the product is limited.

Thick Wear Layers

But let’s talk about Engineered Hardwood Flooring with those thick wear layers. This is where we get excited. If you're looking for a Solid Wood Flooring look and feel without the fear of cupping, moving, and shrinking, you want Thick Wear Layer Engineered Hardwood Flooring. This type of product comes in many shapes and sizes. Most thick wear layer options will have a width from 6 inches

and up to  9+ inches. This is because the solid wood industry

dominates the 2 ¼” to 5” wide Sand-able wood plank market

so the Engineered Wood Flooring providers don’t seem to

bother with these widths in a thick wear layer. Also with 

these more narrow widths, Hardwood Flooring is more stable

and less likely to cup in it's solid form.

Thick Wear Layer on Engineered Hardwood flooring

Thick Wear Layer Engineered Hardwood Flooring can offer something else that we haven’t yet discussed: The ability to Sand and Refinish your Hardwood Flooring multiple times. This is not only good for you and the lifespan of your own home’s flooring but if you ever go to sell the home, the buyers will see that Quality Hardwood Flooring was used and that now they have the ability to Sand and Finish the Wood Flooring and give it their own personal taste and touch! This will make your buyers super happy as they will enjoy a lifetime Hardwood Floor with any stain shade or natural color of their choice.

 At Blue Ridge Floors, we display hundreds of Engineered Wood Flooring Styles in our showrooms.

Benefits of Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Engineered hardwood flooring was initially considered an inexpensive alternative to solid hardwood, however as time progressed, homeowners and flooring enthusiasts realized the benefits of engineered hardwood flooring and began to appreciate its unrivaled versatility. If you aren’t sold on engineered wood flooring yet, you should know it offers the following advantages:


  • Engineered hardwood is known for its durability and ability to stand up to heavy foot traffic over time.

  • Engineered hardwood is partially constructed from real wood, so it provides a natural appearance and can look identical to solid wood.

  • It is easier to care for and maintain engineered hardwood. 

  • Engineered wood consists of multiple layers positioned in differing directions. This construction prevents bowing and warping, especially in high-moisture areas.

  • Unlike solid wood, professional installation is usually not required for engineered wood floors. This can save home and business owners a significant amount of money. 

Engineered wood floors can help you achieve your goal of having a beautiful room in many cases. Engineered hardwood floors are available in numerous species, including, oak, hickory, maple, and more. You may also choose between multiple finishes, such as matte and semi-gloss. If you want your flooring to have a few unique qualities, some engineered woods offer a distressed or time-worn appearance.

Is Engineered Wood Flooring Durable?

If you are like most homeowners, you are probably wondering if engineered hardwood will stand the test of time. Such concerns are valid, but fortunately, engineered hardwood is durable and sturdy. They do scratch and dent like solid hardwoods, but they can also typically be refinished and the scratches can be repaired. Engineered hardwood can be installed in heavily trafficked areas, such as hallways, bathrooms, and entryways, so you can install them virtually anywhere in your home. As always, your floors will last longer if they are properly maintained on a periodic basis.

All Engineered hardwood flooring varies from product to product in the thickness of the wear layer. Just like solid hardwood flooring you can sand and finish the flooring over its lifespan based on the thickness of the wear layer. The thicker the wear layer, the more times it can be sanded, and the longer the life span will be. Blue Ridge Floors offer thick layer engineered hardwood flooring in both prefinished and unfinished in native and exotic wood types.

Below are the estimated life span of common wear layer thicknesses:

  • 1mm Layer - Lifespan is approximately 15 to 25 years and cannot be sanded, only recoated.

  • 2mm Layer - Lifespan is approximately 30 to 40 years and can be sanded and refinished 1 to 2 times.

  • 3mm Layer - Lifespan is approximately 40 to 50 years and can be sanded and refinished 2 to 3 times.

  • 4mm Layer - Lifespan is approximately 50 to 80 years and can be sanded and refinished 3 to 4 times.


We recommend floors with at least a minimum of 2mm wear layer; noting, however, that all high quality engineered flooring has at least 3mm in thickness. When choosing an engineered hardwood flooring, be

sure to choose the wear layer thickness that best suits your home and needs.

Need Help Installing Your Engineered Hardwood Floors? Contact Us Today

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Engineered Hardwood Flooring can be useful in the following applications:


  • Wherever there are higher humidity levels

  • Over a concrete slab (often exposing the floor to moisture coming through from below-grade)


  • Kids rooms -- Engineered Flooring offers the ability to perform a float-installation over a cushioned pad

  • Where it's too costly to use a Solid Wide plank

Call Or Visit Our Showroom To Learn More! 1-800-690-1779

If it's Wide Plank Flooring you want, you're not the only one. Blue Ridge Floors has sold more wide plank hardwood flooring in 2019 and 2020 than we have in the five years prior. Offering a nearly identical appearance to solid wide plank hardwoods floors, engineered wide plank floors can complement just about any room in your home, rental or place of business, and provide a more stable, less expensive final product.

Engineered Wide Plank Floors

Wide Plank White French Oak (7).png

Wide Plank French Oak Hardwood Flooring

Bamboo Flooring

Eco friendly, bamboo flooring is rapidly renewable and comes from plants that are harvested every 3-6 years, instead of every 40-80 years for hardwoods. There are different types of bamboo flooring available in the market, including bamboo kitchen flooring. Cleaning bamboo floors is easy, as they don't trap allergens or dust.

Cork Flooring

Naturally cushioned, cork floors are produced by peeling away the bark without destroying the tree. Better yet, cork is also a great sound and thermal insulator.

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