More and more households have been opting for wooden flooring in recent years and one of the driving factors behind this change has been the emergence of engineered wooden flooring which is now a more popular choice than solid wood flooring in most countries. The cost was previously a big limitation with regard to wooden flooring and while solid wooden flooring has come down in price, engineered flooring has offered a low cost solution that can be around 50% cheaper than its solid wood flooring equivalents.
The reason engineered wooden flooring comes in so cheap is that a typical plank will have a thin strip of the desired wood on the surface, usually around 4mm thick. The rest of the plank will be composed of a highly durable core often containing plywood or spruce that is often stronger and more stable than a solid wood floor. Also, due to the way engineered wooden flooring is layered, it is more resistant to localised heat fluctuations making it suitable for use with underfloor heating while solid wood flooring will often bulge and distort.
Engineered wooden flooring is definitely not to be confused with laminate flooring which is essentially just a printed picture of wood stuck to a plastic baseboard. The surface of engineered wooden flooring is real wood that can be finished in a variety of ways such as brushing or with a satin lacquer. It can typically re-sanded and re-finished around 3-4 times depending on the thicknesses of the wood layer used and you really wouldn't be able to tell the difference between engineered wooden flooring and solid wooden flooring without pulling the floor up and seeing it as a cross section.
Some popular brands of engineered wooden flooring include Galleria engineered flooring, City, Florence and Tastes of Life and to see what engineered wooden flooring is capable of, take a look at Galleria Engineered Structural American Black Walnut 191mm Lacquered Flooring.
But the price isn't the only advantage engineered wood flooring has over solid wood flooring. As mentioned previously, it is more durable and stable than solid wood but it is also more environmentally friendly. It's a bit of a misconception that wood flooring is bad for the environment to start with. As long as the timber has been locally sourced and manufactured in a responsible manner, wood flooring is essentially a renewable resource (unlike laminate flooring which is composed of plastic derived from oil and is difficult to recycle). However, engineered flooring is even greener than solid wood as it only uses a thin layer of the desired wood for the surface, typically oak or ash. The bulk of the plank is made of more readily available spruce (a fast growing coniferous tree) or durable plywood that can be produced using recycled wood.
To conclude, engineered wooden flooring has 3 main advantages over solid wood flooring, it's durability, the cost, and its green credentials. These are key factors everyone should be taking into consideration and seeing as an engineered wood and a solid wood floor will look identical once fitted, there's really no reason not to go for engineered wooden flooring.