When it comes to flooring, many homeowners debate between installing engineered wood floors vs real hardwood.
If you want the natural and luxurious appearance of hardwood but not the price that comes with it, engineered wood flooring is a great solution.
To get started on installing new engineered hardwood floors, contact your local flooring pros for FREE ESTIMATES!
How Much Does Engineered Wood Flooring Cost?
The appeal of engineered wood flooring is about offering the charm of solid hardwood at a lower cost.
Homeowners considering this option might wonder if engineered wood is in their price range. We’ll tackle the cost of engineered hardwood from several angles, including materials only, cost of labor for installation, and the total cost based on location.
|Engineered Hardwood Grade||Material Cost per Square Foot||Labor Cost per Square Foot||Total Cost per Square Foot|
You can also use our Flooring Cost Calculator to estimate the price of installing new engineered wood floors in your house.
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Cost of Engineered Hardwood Flooring Materials
Because engineered wood flooring contains a hardwood layer made of different species of trees, the full price range for materials alone is pretty wide.
You can pay between $2-$13 per square foot for engineered hardwood material. These are the extremes, and what you would pay for very low-grade or very high-grade plank quality.
The national average for engineered hardwood material is around $4-$9 for mid-grade solutions.
Keep in mind that prices will also vary depending on the manufacturer or distributor, so it’s imperative to conduct thorough research before making a choice.
Engineered Wood Floors Installation Cost
The final price tag of engineered wood flooring installation also depends on the cost of labor.
Naturally, contractors may structure their prices based on various factors, but ultimately, the labor cost amounts to 40-50% of the total installation cost.
Overall, you will need to pay between $3-$10 for labor per square foot.
It’s important to discuss the cost of labor and the project’s duration with the contractor before making any commitment.
Did you know? Engineered hardwood flooring usually comes in two different looks, parquet and chevron. Manufacturers sell boards with the desired style, cutting installation time significantly.
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Engineered Hardwood Flooring Prices Based On Location
There’s another critical element that will significantly impact the cost of engineered wood flooring installation, and that’s location.
In some regions, installing engineered wood flooring is more expensive than in others.
Here’s a list that lays out these differences.
|New York, NY||$12||$25|
|Los Angeles, CA||$10||$20|
|Salt Lake City, UT||$9||$17|
|Kansas City, MO||$8||$18|
The prices listed above include installation costs and additional materials.
To further illustrate the cost of engineered wood flooring, let’s imagine you have 1,000 square feet of space in your home that requires new floors.
If you choose engineered hardwood flooring and live in Salt Lake City, UT, you will need to set aside anywhere from $9,000 to $17,000, depending on the grade of flooring, wood type, and a few other considerations.
Other Factors That Impact Engineered Hardwood Floor Installation Cost
There are always some elements that will impact the final price with any home renovation, flooring replacement included.
Indeed, materials and cost of labor are the driving factors, but here are a few more to keep in mind.
Some engineered wood flooring products are clicked together rather than being attached to the subfloor. This attachment system is much faster than the traditional approach with stapling, gluing, and nailing.
Another benefit of this method is that it allows homeowners to try a DIY installation.
Choosing engineered wood flooring with softer veneers typically means paying less for installation.
Comprehensive Prep Work
If your contractor needs to remove the existing flooring or level the subfloor by pouring concrete, you’re looking at additional cost.
Even more, if they need to remove mold, the cost and duration of the project increases substantially.
Type of Finish
Like with traditional hardwood, you can leave the engineered wood flooring unfinished.
This is the most affordable solution, but doesn’t protect your floors from moisture and scratches.
You can always apply a finish later.
For a clean, classic look, natural oil finishes are a great and not too expensive option.
The two more costly finishes are satin lacquer and matte lacquer, which cost about the same but offer a different degree of glossiness.
What Is Engineered Wood Flooring?
It’s pretty easy to visualize hardwood flooring.
We know it’s available in lighter and darker tones, and that it complements nearly any home design.
The good news is that engineered hardwood flooring achieves the same effects.
But does that mean it’s made of fake wood?
That’s a common misconception, but the answer is no. Unlike traditional hardwood floors made from solid pieces of wood without layers, engineered wood flooring has a layer of hardwood and plywood.
Engineered wood flooring is typically thinner than full hardwood boards, though some manufacturers offer thicker boards.
It’s vital to remember that engineered hardwood flooring is made from natural materials, even though you may find it categorized as “faux wood flooring.”
The composite core, or plywood, and the veneer, or hardwood, are fused using special technologies to deliver an incredibly durable flooring solution.
Perhaps the best way to demystify the concept of engineered wood flooring is to interpret the term “engineered” as a type of product made from more than one material.
Like traditional hardwood, engineered wood flooring is available in three categories: low-, mid-, and high-grade, but more on that below.
Engineered Wood Flooring Types
The most affordable engineered wood flooring belongs to the low-grade category and typically contains three layers inside its core.
The low-grade engineered hardwood has a 1/16- or 1/12-inch veneer.
The mid-grade option contains a five-layered core, typically offering better scratch and water resistance. This grade of engineered wood flooring is either 1/12 or 1/8 of an inch thick.
Finally, the high-grade solution is designed to resist excessive foot traffic, as it has seven layers within the core. In terms of veneer thickness, this type of engineered wood flooring goes from 1/6 to 1/2 of an inch.
Pro Tip: If you want to maximize the durability and longevity of your engineered wood flooring, consider choosing the thickest hardwood veneer option and opt for a water-resistant finish. This option does cost extra, but will still be more affordable than traditional hardwood flooring.
Another critical classification is the engineered hardwood veneer type. This top layer makes engineered wood flooring resemble traditional hardwood flooring.
Here are the available options:
Another name for heart pine is longleaf pine, one of the most affordable veneer options for engineered wood flooring.
It’s dense and durable, and has a lovely naturally dark color. It stains pretty well and delivers a rustic charm. However, it isn’t ideal for areas with high foot traffic.
This is a popular choice among homeowners that have opted for engineered wood flooring. It’s pretty durable, though it can be challenging to refinish.
The color ranges from tan to reddish brown. Another benefit of hard maple is that either fastened or glued planks can be glued together.
This engineered wood flooring veneer has excellent grain patterns that cover any potential imperfections.
Color-wise, the versatility is there, and you can opt for lovely light colors or go for more brownish or gray shades.
Because it’s easier to cut than many other wood types, it’s usually cheaper to install.
Acacia contains natural vax, one of the biggest perks because it repels pests and water and decreases the likelihood of warping.
The graining and texture have a rustic appearance, making it a particularly great option for home design like a modern farmhouse.
Another name for Brazilian Koa is tigerwood, due to its distinctive striping and orange hue.
It’s one of the more expensive engineered hardwood flooring veneers and is undoubtedly a look that doesn’t work for everyone.
This is one of the strongest types of wood and an excellent choice for engineered wood flooring veneer.
Brazilian cherry provides an exotic and high-end appeal for homes with very high foot traffic and a unique sense of style.
Traditional VS. Engineered Hardwood Flooring
We’ve touched on the differences between these two types of flooring already, but perhaps a direct comparison of the main features can provide a clearer picture.
Appearance-wise, traditional and engineered wood flooring looks very similar. Engineered hardwood planks offer more versatility in terms of plank widths.
Some wood types are unavailable for veneer production. Also, solid hardwood usually has tighter seams between the boards.
The longevity of both solid and engineered wood flooring will depend on more than one factor.
Strictly based on materials, traditional hardwood floors are longer-lasting.
You can expect your hardwood floors to last between 30 and 100 years. But engineered wood flooring still has a decent lifespan, around 30 years.
Both flooring types require a similar amount of attention. It’s best to avoid cleaning with harsh detergents or too much water.
Unlike traditional hardwood, you can’t sand and refinish engineered hardwood too often, due to the thinness of the hardwood veneer.
Neither solid nor engineered wood flooring is the best option for homes or regions with high humidity levels. Although, due to its structure, engineered wood is less prone to warping than solid wood.
Therefore, engineered wood flooring is a better choice for homes with radiant heating systems and will tolerate moisture slightly better than solid hardwood flooring.
It’s no secret that hardwood flooring is the premium add-on in the real estate market and is sure to increase a home’s resale value.
Engineered wood flooring might not have the longevity of solid wood, but it’s certainly not a turn-off for potential buyers.
Due to its appearance and versatility, it’s usually an excellent selling point. However, it might not increase the home’s resale value significantly.
Engineered Hardwood Flooring Pros And Cons
The number one advantage of engineered wood flooring is that it looks like solid wood but costs much less.
You can sand it, refinish it, and expect exceptional durability.
You can also opt for wider boards and different looks, and ask for a simpler installation method to lower the cost.
While it’s not waterproof, engineered hardwood tolerates moisture pretty well, especially if you add a water-resistant coating.
Even though touted as the affordable version of traditional hardwood flooring, engineered wood can also be pricey, so make sure you have the budget for it.
The quality of the plywood core vastly depends on the manufacturer, and can be difficult to determine which to choose.
Engineered hardwood may not be considered the most eco-friendly flooring solution. The layers are glued together with industrial adhesives, which may emit hazardous emissions.
To avoid this problem, only purchase flooring from reputable brands and ask about hazardous content.
Where To Install Engineered Hardwood Flooring?
Avoid installing engineered hardwood in kitchens or bathrooms to avoid moisture damage. But it’s an excellent choice for any other room.
How Long Does It Take To Install Engineered Hardwood Floors?
There’s no definitive answer, as the size of a home, installation difficulty, and other factors impact the overall duration.
Ideally, the installation process should take between two days and one week.
Is Engineered Wood Flooring The Same As Laminate?
The answer is no. Indeed, laminate may look like wood, but it’s much less durable and not as aesthetically pleasing.
Laminate is made from particle board and a wood-like material on top.
Laminate flooring lasts around 10 years, and engineered wood flooring lasts over 30 years.
Is Your Home Ready For Engineered Hardwood Flooring?
If you’re not ready to invest in hardwood flooring but love how it looks and feels, engineered hardwood is a worthy alternative. If you choose only the top-tier options, engineered wood flooring can be pricey, but on average, it’s much cheaper than solid wood.
The total cost of installation ranges drastically based on the type of veneer, installation method, and even location, but you will need to allocate at least $6,000 for the entire project.
Engineered wood flooring is a pretty good solution for many homeowners and can look quite beautiful.