Engineered Hardwood Flooring FAQ

Home improvement projects and new construction always raise questions about the products you are considering. If you've never had experience with hardwood flooring, you may wonder what the difference is between solid and engineered hardwood. Frequently asked questions (FAQs) aren't always easy to get answers to, but we've tried. Here are a few engineered hardwood flooring FAQs with answers.

Q

What is the difference between engineered hardwood flooring and regular hardwood flooring?

A

Hardwood flooring is composed of a solid piece of hardwood, while engineered hardwood flooring is composed of layers of an inexpensive and easily replenishable wood and then the top layer is hardwood. All of these layers are glued together to make a solid piece of flooring.


Q

What are the benefits of engineered hardwood flooring?

A

Engineered hardwood flooring can be installed in any room in your home, even rooms that are prone to moisture. Due to the layers in engineered hardwood flooring, they are more resistant to moisture. Engineered hardwood flooring is also less expensive than its hardwood counterparts. It can also be installed over radiant heating.


Q

What kinds of wood are used in engineered hardwood flooring?

A

You can find all different kinds of woods that are used for the top layer of engineered hardwood flooring. Oak, beech, pine, ash, and other common woods are used for engineered hardwood flooring, as well as more exotic species of wood like bamboo or teak.


Q

How many layers are there in engineered hardwood flooring?

A

It is very common for engineered hardwood flooring to have three layers in the core of the flooring and then a top hardwood layer. The more layers, the stronger the flooring is and some flooring manufacturers have started using five to seven layers of wood for the core to make their flooring more durable.


Q

Is it possible to refinish engineered hardwood flooring?

A

In most cases, the answer is yes, but it will need to be done by a professional. The good news is that with the finish that is used on most engineered hardwood flooring, there should be no need for refinishing for several years. These finishes are very durable and able to withstand a great deal of wear and tear. But engineered floors have only so many refinishes in them before you’ve worked your way through the top layer into the core.


Q

Is engineered hardwood flooring good for the do-it-yourselfer?

A

It is ideal for the do-it-yourselfer because it can be installed over almost any subflooring, including existing flooring as long as it is a smooth surface. Most engineered hardwood flooring is a floating floor, which means that you only have to lay down a vapor barrier and then install the flooring. Then you simply click and lock the flooring together and in no time you have a beautiful new floor.


Q

Where can you find engineered hardwood flooring?

A

You can find engineered hardwood flooring at most flooring stores in many different wood varieties. The more exotic woods may be a little more difficult to find, but you should be able to order them if you cannot find them at your local home improvement or flooring stores. Ask at your local store if you cannot find the wood that you are looking for.

Answering your engineered hardwood flooring FAQ is the best way for you to learn more about this wonderful flooring choice. Knowledge is the key to making the best decision for your home and your family.

78 thoughts on “Engineered Hardwood Flooring FAQ

  1. I have engineered hardwood flooring and my 65 lb. dog is scratching it. How can I repair the scratches. The fillers don’t work. My floors are a cinnamon maple.

  2. Your floor sounds beautiful. It sounds as if sanding the floor and then sealing it with a durable polyurethane will fix the problem and keep it from occurring again.
    I have found the fillers don’t work for long either.

  3. I’m not sure if anyone is using a water-based finish at this time and I’m only hearing about the various mineral-based finishes. What is your question about — avoiding mineral-based finishes, avoiding off-gassing finishes, or something else?
    Pergo has the reputation for flooring that has been “off-gassed” before it gets to you. From personal experience I know it’s a good floor. I hear it withstands dogs too.
    If you really want to use a water-based finish, buy unfinished engineered flooring and do the finishing in place. That also lets you fill in any gaps that happen with flooring installation. And if you use a nail-down approach, you can patch the hole of the nail/staple before finishing the floor so that the putty stays put. You’ll have a smooth flooring surface when you’re done too.

  4. My husband says over time engineered hardwood will still warp in the bathroom. I would love it in our ensuite. Is it really something that can work without warping as we shower in their daily, and how exactly can you use it with radiant? You can’t use radiant with traditional hardwood can you?

  5. I suppose over time any flooring surface will be damaged and/or ruined. But with simple care, engineered hardwood flooring will last a very long time.
    To use engineered flooring in your bath you need to take some simple precautions, the same precautions that are probably prudent anyway. Either open a window or use an exhaust vent during your bath or shower. Dry off in the shower or tub before stepping onto a bath mat. Hang the bath mat so that it and the floor can dry (a little water is bound to find its way to the bath mat, even with care being taken to avoid it).
    I think radiant heat is probably harder on solid wood floors than it is engineered flooring so I wouldn’t do that. I do have radiant heat under my engineered hardwood flooring however, and am quite content with it.
    Let us know what you decide to do.

  6. I have engineered hardwood floors that are glued down and are 10+ years old. We had a leak in the concrete slab underneath and the plummer had to cut a 2×3 hole in the floor (middle of the room). 3 flooring installers have told me they can’t fix without a visible transition/bump and that I should tear up the whole floor and replace. Is there anyway to avoid doing this? They say the floor hasn’t been manufactured for years, is very thin, and the tongue and groove will not fit with existing products. Please advise!
    Thanks!

  7. I agree with your installers: there will be a visible transition. I disagree with the installers that you should rip up the entire floor and replace it.
    Not knowing what room this is in or if the center of the room is the center of activity or not, consider making the patched area a different finish all together, something artistic or fun. You could replace the hardwood with a different wood — or even cork, or with tiles or linoleum.
    Or you could spend the extra money to get a T&G wood that’s been milled/ripped horizontally to give you the thin wood style you presently have and patch it in with the wood running a different direction or with a border around it. You could even enlarge the area that’s being removed for the repair so the replaced wood looks intentional.
    Painting wood was common many years ago, creating a variety of faux finishes, like rug-looks, faces, marble or stone, or any number of creative looks. Rather than get bogged down with trying to match this repaired area, have fun with the artistic possibilities.

  8. My wife and I are planning on buying engineered floors and had a decision made today on some African cherry flooring. I decided I’d drop a fork on our sample to simulate a little real life accident. The fork dinged up the finish pretty badly. Is that something we could repair by sanding the finish off of that spot and then reapplying some sort of aluminum oxide or something? We really like the floors, but the demonstration really opened our eyes to what could easily happen. Thanks for any help you can give.

  9. African cherry is a soft wood — 1010 on the Janka scale. Pine, considered soft, is 870 on the Janka scale. If you are really set on the African cherry flooring you could try to put a basketball court finish on it and hope that’s strong enough to withstand the bumps, drops and grinds flooring gets.
    But if you don’t like the dents and mars softwood flooring gets (all wood can get it, but softwood is worse), then find a harder wood for your engineered flooring. There is no way you can stay ahead of damage on a softwood floor.

  10. I have engineered flooring,I paid some guys to put it down, should it have been put down with finishing nails and glue? The wood is definitely down tight with both the glue and finishing nails, but I see the nails. Can the nails be stained? It looks like gray dots on the cherry floor

  11. You can use them individually, together works fine too. Are you seeing staples/nails in the tongue of the boards or on the top surface? I believe a good installation will leave no sign of nail, staple or glue.
    My bamboo flooring was stapled down and I can see some of the staples in the tongues. I’m not happy about it, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. In my experience you can’t successfully cover the nails unless you are going to put a polyurethane coat down afterward. Our installer put putty in all of the places you could see staples, but it started coming out within a few months. Yuck.
    I guess you could have a maintenance program of re-puttying the nails as the putty comes out, but that’s not my style. We just live with the look.

  12. Question: Are nailed-down hardwood floors destined to squeak?
    I bought some 1/2″ thick engineered hardwood to have installed downstairs (on the slab) and also upstairs. Three different installers came to the house to give estimates. The first two said they would glue down the floors upstairs and down. The final installer (who I am going to use) said he will glue the floors downstairs, but he will nail the floors upstairs. Is there an advantage to nailing the floors upstairs? Are they destined to squeak? (There is currently no squeak upstairs when walking on the carpet that is there now.) Do nailed down floors make it easier to replace a single scratched board later? Do nailed boards handle expansion/contraction better than glued boards? Or is the installer just pushing the nailing method on me because it is less messy for him to do? Thanks in advance for any advice you can give.

  13. You have actually asked more questions than you thought you did. Or you raised more questions for me. If your boards are tongue and groove the answers go one way, if they are straight-sided planks they go another way.
    Tongue and groove flooring, the most common type of wood or engineered flooring glues and nails well, some installers even uses both when installing floors. When you glue a floor you have the option of gluing just the T&G, allowing for movement, or gluing straight to the subfloor, or gluing to the subfloor and the T&G. Generally installers glue the T&G only. When nailing is the choice the tongue is nailed, except in the places the tongue can’t be accessed by the nail gun (along the edge of the wall and on stairs, for example), then the nail goes right through the plank itself.
    Wood floors can squeak. If the subfloor isn’t perfectly flat a squeak will develop where the board flexes over time into the dip. If the subfloor isn’t strong enough or the joists are too far apart the wood will squeak as movement happens. And if you don’t put an underlayment down first, sound transfer to the floor below with happen; I prefer cork underlayment to foam.
    Repairing a wood plank can be tricky, and neither glue nor nail makes it any easier. The damaged plank has to be cut out and the replacement board, with the tongue cut of, gets nailed or glued down.
    I’m guessing the installer is nailing upstairs because it’s faster and less messy. But ask him and see what he says. I do know glued flooring — with the T&G only — can move well and nailed floors don’t. But I believe if the wood is properly acclimated there will be minimal movement anyway.
    If you haven’t checked references on all of the people you have interviewed be sure to do so. Go with the best one, not the cheapest; you’ll be glad you did.

  14. I have a question. I put in a engineered wood floor. I facenailed the 1st row, as a starting point, because the wood went underneathe thebaseboard trim. I use 3 finishing nails at different points to keep the wood in place as I was laying the floor. I glued the grooves for the T&G. I also left room for expansion on all 4 walls and i will finish with 1/4round moulding. My question is should i leave some of, all of or remove the nails from the 1st row or the 3 nails used to keep wood in place for installation. I can set the nail and put wood putty on top or just leave them. Thanks
    Jim

  15. If you want that floor to float evenly across your subfloor, remove the nails. If the holes are going to show you can putty them, though my experience is the putty doesn’t stay. But if they are below the baseboard I wouldn’t waste my time or energy.

  16. I rent a 3 year old condo that has engineered Mirbeau wood floors. I have no pets and am relatively quiet, but in the short time I’ve lived there the floors have started showing lots of scratches. That seems like normal wear and tear, however, my bigger concern is that shortly after moving in I noticed (and I can only assume this happened w/ the movers) that there are several areas where there are deep grooves (about 1/8 ” I’m guessing) in areas. It looks as if it was the wheels of a dolly or something carrying heavey furniture. Just to be clear, the surface is not scratched, it’s more like a dent/groove. Anyway, my neighbor told me that he has areas where his floor is dented when he moved a heavy entertainment center in. Is this normal? and is there a way to replace just those planks (the floor appears to be floating or glued…no nails) or do I need to replace the whole thing?
    Thank you in advance for your help.

  17. Hi Marcey,
    Alas, this is ‘normal’ – especially with softer woods. What kind of wood is your floor?
    Nothing much can be done for it, short of what you yourself have already suggested – either replacing the planks (good luck getting a match!) or ripping up and putting down new flooring. If you go the second route, make sure it’s a hard wood, not something like pine or cherry.
    There is a third option of course: don’t let it bug you overly much and live with it! ;~) Easy for me to say though, since I can’t see it.

  18. Hi again. I posted about the damaged floors in my condo. The wood is Merbau which I had understood was ultra hard wood, but it is egineered so I don’t know if that has anything to do with it.
    The reason I need to fix it is that I’m moving out soon and I would rather fix it myself than loose my $1400 deposit.
    Marcey

  19. Yes, you can try to replace just the planks and hope they match up decently. It would certainly be a help if there were leftovers that you could use. I don’t know if you would want to do this, but you could just ‘come clean’ so to speak and ask your landlord or caretaker about the problem and ask what you should do to ensure you get back your deposit. IF he says the floor is OK enough to get your deposit back, ask to get that in writing.
    Another though: I don’t know how large these dents are, but it may be considered ‘normal’ wear & tear. Problem is, I don’t know what your landlord consideres ‘normal’ and I’m guessing you don’t either or you wouldn’t have asked.
    My final thought: You didn’t mention how many square feet of flooring it would take to replace the whole floor. If replacing the planks doesn’t work out well, it still might be less expensive to replace the whole floor.

  20. I was hoping you could answer a question for me. I just recentley had engineered wide plank flooring floated over my concrete slab. I just noticed that one of the planks has a large bump in the center of the plank. It looks as though it is swollen. I have plenty of the flooring left to replace this plank. Is it possible to replace this plank even though it was glued and how much trouble will this be? I was told by several people that you can not replace engineered wood planks. This would be easier to remove because it is the last plank next to the wall. Thank you.

  21. Sandy, I messed up on the link for the video, and now I can’t find it! Anyhoo, I know the whole idea of doing this is a bummer, it would have been easier with one of those click-and-lock type flooring systems rather than something that was T&G glued. I haven’t found any other good ideas from google-ing either, at least not for glued t&g.

  22. We are all ready to install our engineered hardwood flooring. We are using 5 inch planks. Here is my question: When you start in one room and progress to the rest of the house (we are installing throughout the entire top floor of our house), how to you back track into another room, while still having the tongues available to nail through. For example: We will start in our living room along an exterior wall, running perpendicular to the joists. As we will progress out five feet, we will need to almost turn a corner to back the flooring into the front entry way. But at that point, to add planks we will be putting the groove into the existing tongue instead of the other way around. But this doesn’t work for nailing????? Do you make sense of what I am saying? Thanks for any help……

  23. Hi Melissa,
    As you’ve already guessed, you can’t start from an exterior wall…….. that’s your ending point and where you usually have to rip the boards to end at the wall. I’m not sure how to explain corners very well, but if you go to Home Depot it’s explained on the 3rd page of how to lay hardwood floors. Same concept.
    If you go to their site, there’s a “Know How” link – from there you click on the “Flooring” link. There’s a link for laminate flooring too, though it doesn’t explain corners. I hope that helps some!
    Also, it might be worth it to try the website of your manufacturer or other hardwood manufacturers – they’re bound to have some good instructions.

  24. We want to replace our hardwood floor in our kitchen. It is glued down to plywood. How do we remove the hardwood?

  25. Hi Sandy,
    I don’t know if it would work to use some kind of solvent on the glue and of course the problem would be getting it to where the glue is…..not to mention that many solvents are just downright dangerous to use and then there’s health concerns to deal with. You could try prying the planks up, but you’re going to wind up with very rough plywood, parts where some of the plywood came up too, parts where there’s glue sticking up….just a horrible mess. It’s probably going to be easier to take up the plywood and flooring together. I know, not what you wanted to hear…..
    There’s always the third option – strip your floors with a sander and refinish them. Yes, you can do this with engineered hardwood. ;~)

  26. i am getting ready to lay engineered maple floor over a crawl space.
    I have been told to use 15 pound felt (roofing) paper as a vapor barrier. I have ALSO been told to NOT use a vapor barrier.
    Who is right? Use a vapor barrier or not?
    Help!
    Gary

  27. Hi Gary,
    I suppose they could both be right, but under different circumstances.
    Is there a vapor/moisture barrier in the crawl space? Is the ‘floor’ of the crawl space earth, concrete, cinder block, or what?
    So long as there is a vapor barrier in the crawl space that covers the bottom & goes up the walls under the floor, another vapor barrier under your engineered flooring is probably not necessary. However, some people will still use some sort of a barrier under the engineered flooring to muffle sound.
    Felt paper isn’t a vapor barrier. Raven Industries vapor barrier is a great product that would be good to use under the new flooring, on top of the subfloor.

  28. We are looking at an engineered pre-finished wood product. The boards are 3/8″ and the brand is Roma. We certainly are not knowledgeable about this subject and of course everyone has a different opinion. This product will be used in a foyer, hallway, master bedroom, and kitchen with the kitchen being our main concern. Are you familiar with the Roma name brand and would you consider this product for your kitchen?

  29. Thanks so much for your quick response. I found out that Roma is made by Versini and I believe they are based in Texas. I was told that it is a 7 ply and that it normally retails between $3 and $4 dollars per square foot. I did find it in one place for $2.82 sq. ft. I’ve had a few dealers tell me that the engineered wood is fine for the kitchen but you never know if they are just trying to sell you something. One salesperson told me that the engineered flooring is actually structurally more sound than real hardwood flooring. Regardless, we don’t have a choice because we are on a concrete foundation so we are limited to the engineered flooring if we are going to have wood. I think I want wood but I really just want a good floor. I do have the option of a high end vinyl from Congoleum.

  30. Hi Debra,
    According to Versini’s website, it only has a 15 year warranty when used in a residential setting, while all their other lines have a 25 year warranty when used in a residential setting. So………… I doubt if I’d use it in my own home and would opt for one of the other lines that has a much longer warranty.
    Another consideration: The Roma line is only for nailing, stapling or gluing – not floating – some of their other flooring products can be floated. If you were planning on using it for floating flooring, then this would void even that 15 year warranty.

  31. Thank you. I didn’t realize that 15 years was a relatively short warranty. We are planning to glue the floor down to the concrete. The man who is selling the flooring has it reduced to $2.49 a sq. ft. as his wife ordered an abundant amount to get a trip and now he wants to move it out of the showroom. This man said he would not float the engineered wood flooring.

  32. Well, at least you were planning on having it installed using a correct method for this particular line. $2.49 sq/ft is a great price and if you don’t mind a 15 year warranty vs. 25 years, then that’s up to you of course. You can actually get a little more life out of it if you ever had to refinish it – you just have to be careful not to sand past the hardwood surface, obviously. By all means, if this is what you want, then do it — I’ve always been of the mindset that if I’m going to be putting out a lot of money for something, might as well get what I think is going to be the most economical in the long run.
    I don’t know if you’ve shopped around for prices of other engineered hardwood flooring, but this could well be a case of where the price is too good to pass up even if it is only warrantied for 15 years……….

  33. You are so kind to share your knowledge with me and others that are trying to decide about their floors. We did check on some prices and actually found an engineered wood by Bruce that we really liked. It was $3.45 sq. ft. and it also only had a 15 year warranty. I spoke with a friend of mine who owns a flooring business and she sells Versini hardwood products. She said Versini is an upstanding company and would stand behind their warranties should the need arise. She also said that the price really is good as it’s below her cost for the Roma. However, I do know that sometimes spending a little more for a better product is to our benefit. If we do decide to go with the Roma or one of the other brands would you be comfortable with engineered wood in the kitchen? I’ve considered Congoleum Ultima Sheet Vinyl in the kitchen and just putting the wood in the foyer, hall, and master bedroom but I’m wondering if keeping the flow of the same flooring would be more attractive. Of course, durability means about as much as a good look. I’m probably obsessing way to much over this decision but I know I won’t have the option to change flooring again for several years.

  34. Hi Debra,
    I don’t think you’re obsessing at all – afterall, it’s a decision you’re going to have to live with for years to come! Personally, I wouldn’t have engineered hardwood in my kitchen, but that’s just MY preference, mainly because I’m in a rural area and my family has a tendency to track in mud – it’s horrible after it’s been raining. I much prefer stone or linoleum for my situation.
    I do know that some people put down an additional coat or two of floor finish on their engineered hardwood, which I think is a very good idea for an area like a kitchen. It is going to depend on what the manufacturer recommends too, as you don’t want to void their warranty.
    Some people prefer the same type flooring throughout most of house, to give the floors a more consistent, streamlined look, while others want each room to have it’s own distinct personality. Again, it’s a matter of personal preference. I don’t know which you’re striving for.

  35. Hi! I have Harris-Tarkett pre-engineered flooring throughout my home and just love them. However, I’d like to know the best over the counter floor cleaner I can use on my floors, does anyone know?
    Thanks,
    Andrea

  36. Hi Andrea,
    Well, I went to their website to see what they recommend (http://www.tarkettna.com/Products/tabid/55/Default.aspx)and clicked on the accessories button and got a message that it was down for site-wide maintenance. Grrr……. I wanted to see their products so I could figure out something that was over-the-counter that you could use. Only thing I can suggest is something that’s formulated for Engineered Wood No-Wax Floors. Bona X ($7.99/32 oz. at http://www.1877floorguy.com/bohaflcapr.html and $14.99/gallon at Amazon.com)is a great environmentally- and wood-friendly cleaner and is less expensive than the Harris Takett cleaner. I’m sure you’d be able to find this locally as well
    I did find Harris Tarkett Wood Floors No Wax Floor Cleaner at Amazon.com – 32 oz. for $11.99. I don’t know what kind of chemicals are in it. Harris Tarkett Wood Floors No Wax Floor Cleaner is formulated for cleaning finished hardwood and other no wax surfaces. Ready to use Harris Tarkett wood floor cleaner is formulated to aid in maintaining the life and natural beauty of Harris Tarkett hardwood floors and all other types of no wax finished wood floors, including laminate floors. Harris Tarket hardwood floor cleaner cleans your floor without leaving a detergent residue.
    You can always check out your local Lowe’s, Home Depot, TruValue, etc. stores to see what cleaners they carry for Hardwood Laminate Flooring. Chances are you’ll get more bang for your buck ordering a gallon online. Don’t be afraid to do a Google search to comparison shop as well!

  37. I would like my engineered floors that I had installed 5 years ago to have a higher glossy shine. I tried waxing them with a couple of products but none of them seem to work. Some spots are even splotchy. Can you recommend a product that would be good for this type of flooring? I’d rather not have them refinished so soon. Thanks for any help you can give me.

  38. Hi. You mentioned that engineered floors can be professionally refinished. We had 1200 sq ft of Walnut Thomasville engineered hardwood flooring installed a year ago and are MISERABLE because it will not stay clean. The satin finish shows up smears, smudges, and shoes shoeprints/footprints (we don’t have children). It is a CHORE to clean twice a week or more (Bona spray cleaner – as recommended by Thomasville). Is refinishing the answer? Or is there a way to put a high-gloss polyurethane finish on top? HELP!

  39. Hi Dawn,
    Have you called Thomasville to see what they have to say? Chances are, your flooring was coated with a product that you cannot put polyurethane on. I’d call them first and be sure to let them know that you are NOT a happy customer!

  40. do not recoat or top coat a prefinished hardwood floor with polyurethane..it will peel and flake off. We recently were called out to house that just had brazilian cherry engineered wood flooring glued down to the concrete and the guy that installed it top coated the floor with poly to try to fill in the grooves…end result was the floor was peeling because it wont adhere properly to the factory finish..Bad news was the contractor had no insurance and could not replace the floor and left the customer with a horrible floor.

  41. Hi Phil,
    Yep, that’s exactly what happens. Horrible story there too. It amazes me that people keep trying to put finishes over a factory finish without trying to find out what can happen. Always, always call the manufacturer first.

  42. Do you have to install a engineered floating floor 90 degrees to the floor joints,and can you install kitchen cabints on top of it.

  43. Well, stupid me. I went ahead and applied polyurethane to the engineered wood floor. Looks streaky and I am freaking out. Anyway to remove the poly without damaging the original factory coating?

  44. Hi Chantal,
    I don’t know if the poly can be stripped without damaging the factory coating or not as I haven’t run into this personally. I’d recommend calling the manufacturer to see if this can be done or doing further research on the internet using a search engine like google.com.

  45. Is it possible to install hardwood flooring over 3/4″ particle board subflooring, house built in 70s subfloor looks strong, level. would like to install brazilian hardwood I believe I would need to nail or staple to subfloor. thank you

  46. I recently purchased a newer construction home in NW Colorado (at approx 6700 ft above sea level). It comes with a boiler heat system in the floor that heats the house. I hate the cheap laminate and want to put in hardwoods for my husband who has allergies (its easier to clean). As you know, Colorado is very dry. I’m a little worried about the heat components in the floor as this is new to me. any suggestions on species and installation (glue vs nail)? I prefer the nail at least above grade, maybe glue in the walk-out basement? Also and suggestions on manufacturers? We have a large dog, I wear high heels, and we will soon have kids. I need something with a very durable finish.

  47. Hi KC,
    I have a friend whose floor is nailed, but most installers don’t like doing that. I think if the flooring is acclimated for longer than the manufacturer recommends, so the wood has about 11% moisture, it should be fine to nail. I don’t recommend suggestions on manufacturers for wood flooring, mainly because new products are released all the time. I would recommend using a wood species that ranks on the higher end of the Janka Scale.
    If you plan to use adhesive, I can recommend Bostik’s Best.
    I would also recommend using Diamond Coat Varathane Polyurethane to protect the wood – it will actually make it harder on the surface to resist wear and tear better.
    High heels are a big no-no on just about any flooring, no matter how hard. Keep the doggie’s toenails trimmed. The kids are probably the least of your worries regarding your floor, so long as they’re not wearing cleats. ;~)

  48. I have a 300 sq. ft. room on a concrete slab (14 year old home). No moisture problems. I am putting in Garrison Deluxe engineered hardwood flooring. We will glue it down. I have read that Dri Tac 6200 or Bostiks are the best glues to use. Water based glue or urethane? What glue do you recommend? Best place to buy?

  49. Hi Greg,
    Personally, I really like the Bostiks Best. Water based should be fine, usually has much less VOCs as well. I don’t know where the best place is to buy it – we usually go to one of those big-box home improvement stores.

  50. just wondering if you can used Diamond Coat Varathane Polyurethane on finished purchased engineered flooring. After four years mine is very dull looking and I would like to give it some permanent shine!
    Thank you for your help.

  51. Have had my engineered wood floor for a few months and have been very careful not to scratch it. However, yesterday I lifted up a runner that was on it and saw that the area under the runner had turned lighter than the rest of the floor. I can’t imaging that this is caused by the sun. If it were, wouldn’t the area under the runner be darker than the uncovered floor? Do you know what has caused my problem? I have removed the runner for the time being, but now you can see the outline of it on the floor. Thanks.

  52. Thanks for your prompt reply. Yes, you are probably right about the rubber, however in my case it is the rug gripper that is rubber, not the actual runner itself. Is there some other kind of rug gripper I should use, or do you think it was just this particular manufacturer that caused the damage? Also, most importantly, can this damage be refinished by a professional? Or can they replace the damaged planks? I can’t find the name of the flooring at the moment, but I know they were of high quality.

  53. I’m impressed with your site and would appreciate answers to some questions. In doing research, getting bids, etc. I get many different answers.
    I have a townhome and want to change the floor coverings of the LR and DR downstairs. There is carpet and pad installed in there now. I will remove those and want to install radiant heat and engineered hardwood on top of that.
    1. The subfloor is particle board. I was told by by my contractor that it’s in great condition. Is there a problem with installing radiant mats and engineered hardwood on top of this subfloor? Some comapanies say it must be ply-wood, others say this is fine.
    2. The LR/DR floor is over a crawl space that is very short and very yucky. Should I have the floor between the crawl space and the LR/DR insulated?
    3. How far from a wall should the radiant mat be placed? I’ve been told 1 ft, 3ft. Your suggestion, please.
    4. My original wood choice was maple. The online research says not to use radiant heat over Maple and Pecan. Is this correct?
    4. The brand I’ve selected is Kentwood. Familiar with this brand?
    You will have earned angel wings today if you can help me unravel the convoluted stories.
    Nicolette

  54. Hi Ellen, I don’t have any particular recommendation for rug grippers. I would definitely consult with a professional to see if they can repair the damage or if replacement will be the answer.

  55. Nicolette,

    I can always use angel wings. Let’s see how I do.

    1. The debate about the merits and demerits of particle board rage on. I’m not sure why it would matter, as long as the particle board is in good condition. One way to keep it in good condition is to make sure the crawlspace below the LR and DR is dry. Use the Raven http://theflooringlady.com/raven_industries_vapor_barrier.html “>Vapor Barrier to seal out moisture.

    What companies are you talking about that voice an opinion about the subfloor you apply the radiant mat to? If it’s radiant mat companies then go with the mat companies that say particle board is a fine subfloor for their product.

    2. Insulation is always a good idea, even in warm climates. But don’t go that route until you have installed the vapor barrier.

    3. I don’t have radiant mats in my home; I have radiant water heat, so my answer comes from my experience with that. My plumber installed the tubing out to the edge of the floor. In hind site I wish I’d not had him lay tubing under one or two of my cabinets so I’d have a cool space for wine storage, but I didn’t; I have radiant heat under cabinets too. It seems smart to have the radiant mats go to the edge of your floors, especially outside walls so you have even heat and comfort throughout the rooms.

    4.I don’t know about maple and pecan over radiant heat. Do the articles explain why? What does the manufacturer of your flooring choices say about applying engineered maple or pecan over radiant mats?

    It’s my understanding from all of my research that engineered flooring is fine over radiant heat. The reason solid wood tends to not be as good a choice is that the temperature variations dry the wood and cause it to crack and split. With engineered flooring the design minimizes the expansion problems seen in solid wood.

    5. I’m not familiar with Kentwood. Be sure to get a list of customers so you can talk to them about their experience with the product.

    Good luck. I hope it goes smoothly for you.

  56. Last questions. After researching engineered floors, I’ve come up with 3 more questions and that should about do it for me.
    1) Mapel, Pecan and Brazilian Cherry are not good choices over radiant heat because they are less stable, correct?
    2) The radiant maps should be installed a month before the floors to confirm the mats are in good working order and to even out the floor temperature. Yes? No?
    3) Regarding floor insulation in the joists under the subfloor, you told me the first thing to do is put a vapor barrier down in the crawl space. Got it. There is also a vapor barrier placed under the heating mats. The labor cost to install fiberglass batts under the subfloor will run $650 labor plus materials. The crawl is very tight with many obstacles. It will take more time because they have so little space to move. Will I feel a difference if I don’t insulate? Will the heat be as even? Would I save enough money on my electric bill to make it worth the investment? Thank you.

  57. Hi Nicolette, Yes, that’s correct; those woods are too unstable to use with radiant mats. I believe only 5 or 6 days are necessary to wait and make sure the mats are in good working order.

    In regards to your questions about the necessity of insulation, I really can’t say. I would consult with your local installer and see what information they can give you.

    Good luck!

  58. I was looking to remove the carpet in my boat salon and install(glued)engineered wood. Will this work over a fiberglass substrate? Assuming I use the proper adhesive? any suggestions on the adhesive to use? Thank You

  59. Can you put real hard wood flooring on a floor with a crawl space below. I have 4 children whats the best wood type for a ruff house hold. Is bamboo more duarable? I have four boys tired of replacing carpet

  60. Hi Jessica, real hardwood and engineered hardwood can both be installed over a crawl space. Bamboo is extremely tough and durable. You can read my posts about Bamboo and decide for yourself which you think is the better option for you and your rough and ready boys!

  61. We bought and installed Mirage eng. wood floor. Only two weeks after installation we have splits on the floor in quite couple places. This suppose to be the best brand and quite expencive.
    Any ides why splits, everyware I read it, it is not usual for this type of floor. We installed floor on the first floor over concreat. Not a dry place. Any suggestions what to do?

  62. I installed a glue down engineered floor over concrete. At the time, the ends of the boards seemed to be higher as if the were bowed leaving little peaks where they met the next board. I thought they may flatten out over time but they never did. Is there anything I can do now or should I replace the floors and install them differently next time? Thanks, Doug

  63. Doug,
    There are a variety of reasons for the peaks. Uneven concrete could be the culprit or perhaps upon installation the adhesive used wasn’t quite up to the challenge!
    Your dilemma does bring up a few questions.
    The humidity in a room can affect the boards as well. Did you have a humidity test done before laying the planks? If not did you allow the planks to sit in the room for at least seven day to acclimate to your humidity? Did you weight down the areas that seemed slightly bowed when installing? Had the concrete been sealed or painted prior to installation? That would have needed to have been removed by sanding or grinding, if that had not been done that could affect adhesion.
    Whew that is a mouth full and all those things do matter! Regarding ripping out the floor if you chose to do that I would use Bostick’s Best Glue for your adhesive. Remember to check the humidity and look into perhaps a subfloor if uneven concrete is the culprit!

  64. We bought our home in July 2007 with an entranceway and long hallway that is in engineered wood and because of a leak repair under, there is now a 4ft square area where the wood is removed. We have no extra wood to put there. Is there a place we could buy the little bit we need instead having to spend thousands to replace all of the engineered wood.

  65. Hi.
    I would check with local flooring stores. Many times the “left overs” from their jobs are sold at much cheaper prices, and are still new (like carpet remnants).
    If that isn’t an option, I would look-up the manufacturer and call them, they may be able to sell you just what you need.

  66. I have an glue installed engineered hardwood floor. One of the plants in the house was over watered and the excess water seeped onto the floor under the planter. (This was before we had the dollies for the plants) Now we have a water damaged spot on the finish about 10″ dia., spanning over 3-4 boards of floor. It is close to a wall, so would the preferrable solution be to sand down and refinish or just replace the boards?

  67. jdublup,
    Sanding the damaged area and refinishing would be much easier than replacing the boards. If this is an unnoticeable area, it wouldn’t show very much if it is slightly different from the rest of the floor. The difficult part is going to depend on how deep the damage goes. If the boards are damaged all the way through, you may have to replace them.

  68. Help! We just installed engineered wood floors and a “helpful family member” decided to help us by cleaning them with a WET chemical swifter pad! The flooring is Maple with a black walnut stain and now it has a dull, sticky film. Before I damage it further, what would you suggest?

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