I recently installed engineered hardwood into a home so I can have "wood" flooring on the main level at almost half the cost of actual hardwood flooring. I am starting to regret this decision as this engineered hardwood flooring is so cheap and brittle it was clearly not worth it. Something as small as dropping your phone puts a dent in it, the edges will splinter, catch on your socks and rip off, and it takes next to nothing to put a scratch in it.
Is this normal for engineered hardwood flooring? Do I need to put a top coat of something on there to protect them?
What has been your experience with these types of floors?
With engineered hardwood it is usually you pay for what you get. The flooring that I have put down that was engineered hardwood in the past was not cheap but it is a great product because it withstands humidity much better than just solid hardwood floors. I would venture a guess that your flooring was cheap because it's not that durable. What material is the top wood?
I note that you didn't indicate the thickness of the product. The engineered products at the box stores can start as thin as 5/16 and it that is what you bought it unfortunately explains a lot of the issues you're having. I seen it there and honestly wouldn't use it in my dog's house. 3/8" is really the minimum thickness and even that should have an AO finish on the product. 1/2" can be bought at a reasonable price if you take the time to shop around and aren't too picky on shade. You could try to put a top coat on as long as you use something with at least a 25% solids content. Stick with a hardwood like oak or better hickory.
Unfortunately I don't remember the type of wood on top but they were 5/16 inch. I only installed it as I intend on moving out in a couple weeks, but I was just shocked at how bad it really was. LEsson learned. I don't think I'll ever be using engineered hardwood again. If you're going to be paying the higher premium, you might as well get actual hardwood at that point in time...
Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater Colin. Engineered has its place. Homes that are young and still settling benefit from the dimensional stability of engineered wood. That's the reason you begin to see gaps in solid hard woods as homes get older. There are decent engineered out there that you can sand and refinish once or twice. Honestly in the life of a home no floor ever gets sanded and refinished more than once. You can always resurface a wood finish with out the sanding if all you're worried about are surface scratches and not gouges. Basic Coatings even has a sandless system to refinish floors in one day.
Well I can certainly see those advantages as well. Thanks for the input!
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