Hardwood, engineered or floating floors? Discover their differences!

There are many factors to consider when looking for a wood floor to cover the floors in your home. Consumers often hesitate between hardwood, engineered and floating: these are three excellent choices that each have their own particularities.

To make an informed purchase, you need to know the characteristics of each as well as their advantages and disadvantages. But first, here’s how to tell them apart:

  • Hardwood flooring

This is 100% wood. It must be acclimatized as much as possible before being installed to avoid gaps and splitting. Hardwood flooring must be installed over a subfloor. It can be sanded, stained and varnished over and over again.

  • Engineered Flooring

To form an engineered wood strip, a layer of real wood is glued to a plywood or high density fiber. This floor can be laid directly on an acoustic membrane, but can be sanded only 2 or 3 times during its life.

  • Floating wood floor (also called laminate)

It does not contain any wood: it is rather an imitation of wood printed on an assembly of MDF or HDF (medium or high density compressed wood fibers). Thus, it can never be sanded. It is easy to install since it does not require any nails or glue: it is installed by interlocking to hold the boards in place firmly on each other.


1.      Wear and tear

Whether it’s hardwoodfloating or engineered flooring, it’s best to avoid using them where the chances of impact or water damage are high. Let’s think mainly of the kitchens and bathrooms of our homes. Over time, wood floors can wear down to develop a stylish and desirable aging effect, while a worn floating floor will show unattractive imperfections that will be difficult to repair.


2.      Versatility

Unlike wood or engineered flooring, hardwood is considered more noble and its appearance can be changed with a stain treatment. It’s hard work, but it’s possible! The resale value of a property is usually higher with this product when it is well maintained.

While engineered flooring allows for some sanding – which is impossible with floating floors – it can still be a poor choice in the long run in high use homes.

3.      Installation

Hardwood flooring is usually more difficult to install because it requires more equipment and attention to detail, while floating floors install like a charm with an interlocking system. Engineered flooring offers more installation options: it can be installed using the glue-down, floating or nail-down method. It’s up to you to decide what works for you!

4.      Quality

Whether it’s floating, engineered or hardwood, it’s important to know that quality levels can differ. For example, some hardwood floors are denser than others and therefore more resistant. It is therefore important to ask one of our experts for advice in store to ensure that your choice corresponds to your needs and type of use.

In the case of floating floor :

  • Check the AC code: it should be between AC1 and AC5. These standards indicate the durability of the product. AC5 being the highest, make sure you get at least an AC3 to ensure a reasonable life span.
  • Another useful tool is the E1 code. This indicates the very low amount of carcinogens in the composition. Today, it is even possible to find E0, which indicates a complete absence. However, be aware that E1 is very safe for the health of residents.
  • Also, pay attention to the origin of the wood: many species coming from humid forests can react badly to the very low humidity level of our houses in winter. They may crack and split or gaps may appear between boards.

5.      Installation

  • Do you install yourself?

How much time do you have to do this task? If you don’t have the time, then easy-to-install floating floors are for you! In fact, you could eventually change it for a more noble floor covering if you feel like it. Also consider engineered flooring which offers more installation options.

  • Are you hiring?

If you are going to hire labor to do the installation, ask your professional for guidance on the type of wood. For example, he or she may suggest a type of floor that can be installed more quickly, thereby reducing installation costs.

 6.      Price

Floating floors are often the most affordable, while engineered floors come in second place. Not surprisingly, hardwood is usually the most expensive depending on its quality and nobility. However, there are price ranges in all three categories: ask around!

Finally, don’t forget that all these types of floors can be used in combination. For example, if your home has a guest room, a playroom or large closets, it is entirely possible to install lower quality floating floors in these areas without compromising the main design. You could then spoil yourself with hardwood in important rooms like the living room or master bedroom. Worried that the demarcation between the wood types will be unsightly? Incorporating a transitional board into the door frames will make it so!

No matter what flooring you choose, the important thing is to feel comfortable with the price, quality and look. Good thinking!