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Community and Q&A

Engineered Hardwoods?

Kara English | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

Hello. We are building a new house and are looking for a flooring other than carpet, tile, or linoleum to put throughout our entire ranch and finished walkout basement. I was considering a green guard certified laminate, but heard that floating laminate does not do well on stairs (we have stairs to basement). I do not want any carpet or a runner due to allergy issues and want the same flooring on the stairs as the basement and main level. Does engineered hardwood do well on stairs? Normal hardwoods are out due to needing to be in a basement. If engineered hardwood will work, can anyone suggest any brands that are no VOC, formaldehyde free, green guard gold certified, etc. I am worried about indoor air quality. Thank you!!

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  1. Kara English | | #1

    I should also mention we have a large dog and are looking for a floor that is very hard and durable - resistant to scratches - which is why we wanted to go with laminate originally.

  2. Charlie Sullivan | | #2

    I don't know brands of engineered hardwood floors, so I don't have recommendations there, but I think solid hardwood is a good choice for a floor that might get scratched up by a dog, because it can be refinished easily and repeatedly. And if you buy wood that is a color you like and clear coat it, the scratches won't show, so you needn't worry about them unless you want to.

    My thought about hardwood in a basement is that if you do the basement right to avoid moisture problems, and dry the slab out thoroughly before you install the floor, you can put hardwood there no problem. The time needed to dry out the slab, and the fact that you might then void the warranty on the flooring would be my main concerns.

  3. John Clark | | #3

    You can do real hardwoods in the basement they just have to have the correct underlayment.

  4. C. B. | | #4

    I used hardwood (red oak) and finished it with Tung oil (Waterlox brand) so that it could handle dog nails and refinishing much better than polyurethane.

  5. Steve Knapp CZ 3A Georgia | | #5

    If you have allergy and chemical sensitivities, consider using a solid-wood floor instead of an engineered product that will have adhesives. Also look into a prefinished floor with an oil wax finish instead of standard polyurethane.

    A hardwood such as hickory or ipe will be more durable over the long run.

  6. Kara English | | #6

    Unfortunately, we will need about 3000 square feet of flooring, so budget is a bit of concern. I am worried about solid hardwood being out of our price range. Is it much more than engineered hardwood? Thank you everyone!

  7. Aaron Gatzke | | #7

    Engineerd hardwood is definitely not as durable as solid wood. If you have a dog that is going to scratch the floor, look at a product that has an oiled surface. I understand that scratches are less visible and they are easier to repair. The only drawback is that they have to be re-oiled every few years and I know nothing about the off-gassing of the oils. I can only say that that is one of the reasons that we did not go with an oiled product.

    Yo also need to determine what thickness of the hardwood finish layer that you can afford. There is a lot of engineered hardwood that has a sixteenth or less of hardwood. They are junk.

  8. Charlie Sullivan | | #8

    Where do you live? Here in New England it's possible to buy beautiful hardwood flooring direct from a local mill for surprisingly low prices, which vary a lot according to species and grade.

  9. Kara English | | #9

    I live in Michigan. I love the look of reclaimed wood too. I love white or french oak in a gray-brown hue.

  10. Steve Knapp CZ 3A Georgia | | #10

    @Kara. Consider talking to WD Flooring. The company is fairly close to you. We ordered the Stang Lund Lillehammer in hickory. (The wood comes from their mill in Wisconsin, so don't let the Scandinavian naming throw you off.) It was about $7/sq, but prices have likely increased since we placed our order. Also be aware that there is a lot more variability in the wood than you will see in the samples--at least with the hickory.

  11. Stephen Sheehy | | #11

    Kara- Have you thought about polished concrete in the basement? Costs about $5 per square foot. No maintenance, dog won't scratch it.

  12. Charlie Sullivan | | #12

    I have no knowledge of the local mills in Michigan but it should be a good region for that. Some leads from a quick web search:

    If you can find a species that you like the look of without a stain, you are likely to have scratches show up less, and have an easier time getting a touch-up or refinishing job to look good.

  13. Kara English | | #13

    Awesome everyone! Thank you!!! I always love buying local too, so this really helps!

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