Engineered Wood Flooring vs Hardwood Flooring – Which Is Best?

America is changing its taste in its kitchen floor of choice.

The country’s long love affair with hardwood floors remains stronger than oak, but hardwood is no longer the country’s preferred kitchen flooring surface. Alas, nobody, not even the Beatles of the Golden State Warriors, stays No. 1 forever.

“There’s a new top flooring choice in town,” Real Simple’s Katie Holdefehr writes. “In 2019, hardwood flooring has officially been dethroned.”

After decades of sitting in hardwood’s shadow, engineered flooring surfaces have engineered an upset, according to Houzz’s 2019 Kitchen Trends Report. The nationwide survey of 1,300 U.S. Homeowners found 40 percent of kitchen floor renovators went with some type of engineered flooring: engineered wood (17 percent), vinyl (12 percent) or laminate (11 percent).

Flooring Inc says there’s “no end in sight” to engineered flooring’s growing popularity.

Meanwhile, natural hardwood was the floor of choice for only 24 percent of kitchen remodelers, down sharply from the 30 percent share of the market it claimed in Houzz’s 2018 survey.

The decline of hardwood flooring is due to the rise of engineered flooring options. Engineered flooring options – engineered wood, laminate, vinyl or resilient – have improved in beauty and durability. Engineered flooring is also far easier to install than hardwood since you can skip the plywood subflooring. Plus, engineered flooring withstands heat better than hardwood since, as Holdefehr notes, “engineered wood planks don’t expand and contract as much as hardwood planks do.”

To put it bluntly, engineered flooring are far less drama queens than hardwood floors, which can be more high maintenance than a dozen puppies.

“Hardwood floors aren’t always practical for homeowners who want low-maintenance kitchens,” Houzz’s Sam Ferris writes.

But let’s not write kitchen hardwood floors’ obituary just yet. They still will be the smart kitchen flooring choice of nearly a quarter of American remodelers this year and their timeless beauty, lasting power and long-term value are unmatched.

“It’s still the winner when it comes to aesthetics, and since it can be sanded down and refinished multiple times over the years,” Holdefehr notes. “Hardwood floors are (also) better for resale value.”

But the future of America’s kitchen floors looks to be engineered.

“As engineered materials improve, becoming increasingly practical alternatives to their natural counterparts, we’ll likely see this kitchen trend continue,” Holdefehr predicts.

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