A home remodel is not for the faint of heart, I’ll tell you that much. There is an endless amount of decisions you have to make. Our biggest challenge was deciding on flooring. When we first moved into our home fifteen years ago we decided on laminate flooring because it was affordable and would handle our little kids and big dogs (we had two boxers at the time). Now, we were ready to upgrade but we had no idea what we really wanted. What we did know was the budget we had, the durability we wanted and the overall feel of the home which was open, airy, and beachy.
Why we chose Engineered Wood for our Flooring Remodel!
*This post is in partnership with Lumber Liquidators, as always, all thoughts & opinions are 100% my own.
One of the first products we looked at was wood tile. Overall we knew we wanted the look of a nice white oak wood throughout our house, but were worried about the upkeep of hardwood floors. Plus, with 5 kids and three dogs, we thought the hardwood floors would get damaged. After trying out several samples, we were somewhat frustrated. While the tile looked nice, it didn’t have the same feeling of wood. Plus, I was having trouble finding the right color to match the aesthetic I was trying to achieve.
One day, my husband and I passed by a Lumber Liquidators on our way back from returning the tile samples, while my husband was done with searching, I convinced him to stop in. At first, we were looking at the hardwood flooring and I told the sales rep, that I still was not very confident we wouldn’t just scratch it up. That is when she recommended the engineered wood flooring. To be perfectly honest, I had never heard of engineered wood flooring before.
The sales representative explained to me some of the benefits of engineered wood:
- Less costly than solid hardwood flooring
- Can handle drops, and scratches much better than wood as it is constructed with multi-layers of wood. Each layer is lined in a different direction to prevent warping and bowing.
- The top layer is made with real wood (unlike laminate flooring) so you get that real wood finish. Difficult to tell apart from solid wood flooring once installed
- In addition, the top layer (wear layer) can be sanded and re-finished several times if necessary.
- More resistant to temperature changes and humidity (although still not recommended for bathrooms)
- A stable product so can be installed in a variety of ways to suit your property and preference, e.g. loose laid over an underlay
After talking to the representative at Lumber Liquidators, we were pretty excited. We grabbed some samples and then gave our contractor a call to ask his opinion. The one piece of advice our contractor gave us was to make sure the thickness of the veneer is thick enough so that your floor can be refinished multiple times when needed.
How we came to a decision
After talking to our contractor and testing out the samples from Lumber Liquidators we knew we wanted to go with the engineered wood flooring and we also decided to go with the Virginia Mill Works flooring as it had the thickest veneer (4mm veneer) of all the engineered wood flooring sample options we tried. This one can be refinished up to 7 times and has a limited 50-year warranty!!
I also loved the size of the planks. They were 7 1/2″ wide and on average about 59″ in length. Not to mention the Virginia Mill Works flooring we chose was a wire-brushed engineered hardwood which helped add character and also helps the flooring appear more like traditional hardwoods.
Engineered Wood Color Choices
We were definitely leaning towards a lighter color after having dark floors because we knew every fingerprint and dust particle appears on darker floors. It was the worst!
While samples are great, it was hard for us to picture what the flooring would like throughout our house, especially since each piece is different since it is a natural wood finish. When the sales representative from Luber liquidators gave us a call we told her our conundrum. She asked if we tried uploading a photo of our room onto Picture It! a technology on their website that would allow us to see how their flooring would look in our home. Clearly, we had not.
We immediately snapped a couple of photos and honestly could not believe how cool this technology was. In fact, I took the exact picture of our flooring now, with the one from Lumber Liquidators and the closeness is remarkable!! The only real difference is we chose to lay the floors in a different direction than what the technology suggested.
Pretty amazing right? The cool thing is you can try a bunch of different color options on the photo you upload helping you to choose a color much more easily.
I could not be happier with our choice of flooring (this is the exact one we chose) and I cannot believe it that wood was initially one of the last types of flooring we considered.
5 Reasons I Love Our Engineered Hardwood Floors
1 They hide EVERYTHING!
This has more to do with color than the fact that our floors are made from engineered wood but as a mom of 5, plus dog mom of 3, who takes photos of her home and life as a career let’s be honest- the fact that these floors hide dust, dirt and pet hair is AMAZING!!!
The wire-brushing adds grooves so unlike our previous laminate flooring you don’t see every spec of dust sitting on top. And, the variation in color allows for forgiveness as well.
2 Hardwoods are actually super easy to care for
I was super freaked out about caring for hardwoods. I knew that they couldn’t get too wet, that over time they needed to be sanded down and so because I never really considered them I also had no idea how to care for them. Turns out it’s super easy as long as you have the right products and know what you are doing.
For regular maintenance, I use a dry microfiber dust mop (this exact one here) and it is amazing and only $18.99 plus it comes with 5 microfiber machine-washable pads. It picks up dust and pet hair quickly and easily and if I have a little spot that needs extra care I spray the mop with the Bellawood Floor Cleaner that was recommended to me by the rep at Lumber Liquidators. I also ordered this refill pack of the machine-washable microfiber pads so that I always have a clean one ready to go. They are so cheap, less than $10 for 6 more!
I also use a broom and dustpan for spills.
My house cleaner comes every other week and she uses a damp mop to really get the floors clean. I have learned that even damp mopping too much can lead to a dull floor finish. It is also important that when you damp mop you remove the excess water (it should not drip off the mop head) as wet mopping can actually cause damage and discolor your hardwood flooring. You can also damp mop with the Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner I mentioned previously above. My housecleaner rotates so the floors really only have water on them from damp mopping once a month.
Never having to wet mop was a win in my book- ha!!
Other cleaning tips I have learned are that you can vacuum hardwoods but you should use the microfiber dust mop first to remove particles that could cause scratching when rolled over by a vacuum. Just be sure that you have a floor-brush attachment and watch the wheels of the vacuum as they can damage the surface if you aren’t careful.
A few other mentions include high heels and pet claws both of which can damage your floors. Initially, I wanted (and thought we had to) have a no-shoe policy, but with our busy family, it just wasn’t realistic. Fortunately, the only one in the house that needs to be careful with their shoes is me. I avoid walking across the floors in high heels. I have heard that high heels and shoes like cleats will damage your flooring and I just feel like that is easy enough to avoid.
Same goes with pet claws. Turns out if you trim them regularly it helps offset the chances of them scratching your floors quite a bit. We have three dogs (bulldog, pug, & a shipoo) and so far we haven’t had any issues.
3 They feel SO good on our feet
This is another big one, we are all so in love with the warmth of the hardwood and how gentle it is on our backs. I initially looked at tile and we recently stayed at an Airbnb with wood-look tiles in them and I was SO happy that we didn’t go that route. The tile is as hard as concrete, I noticed that my back was irritated after cooking a big meal, and they are sooo cold on your feet. Not to mention if you have little ones and they fall on tile its a tougher break than hardwood too.
4 The light color really helped to brighten and open up our space
I had to really push for the light wood color but I am so very happy I got my way. Not only does the flooring feel great and hide dust and pet hair really well but the lighter color also really helped to open up our space and give it that beachy/ airy vibe I wanted.
5 We stayed within budget!!
Another HUGE PLUS to using engineered wood versus solid hardwood is that it can be more cost-effective. Engineered wood tends to be more affordable because only the top layer is made from solid wood. This price break can allow you to afford the hardwood look for less and also allow you to afford a color/ variation you may not be able to get if you were to use traditional solid wood. I am all about bang for your buck so the fact that I got the wood look I craved for less money and the engineered flooring allowed for better durability I feel like I couldn’t have made a better choice!