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ENGINEERED HARDWOOD FLOORS SUITABLE FOR THE BASEMENT

Imagine the comfort and style a hardwood floor would add to your basement. Engineered flooring can make that vision a reality.

In basements – below ground level – moisture can cause solid hardwood floors to expand excessively. Since engineered wood floors are made of several layers of hardwood stacked and glued together under heat and pressure, they are less likely to be affected by extremes in humidity. This makes them suitable for basements or other damp surroundings.

"Now your basement can be just as beautiful as the rest of your house,” says Susan Regan of the Hardwood Information Center.

Engineered hardwood floors, like solid wood floors, are environmentally friendly choices. In fact, as a result of careful forest management, the hardwood species that are most in demand are increasingly abundant. 

Also like solid wood floors, engineered wood floors can be installed at or above ground level, and are available pre-finished or unfinished in a variety of hardwood species, styles and widths from strip to plank.

These floors also are popular in states like Florida, Texas and Arizona, where concrete slab construction is typical, and in high-rise condominiums that require sound insulation. Most engineered floors are three-eighths of an inch thick – thinner than solid wood floors, which are typically three-quarters of an inch thick. This allows for placement of a sound insulator under the engineered floor.

Renee LeBlanc wanted a beautiful but tough new floor for her living room, one that could be installed easily over her home’s concrete slab in damp south Louisiana. Now, five years later, she couldn’t be happier with her choice of engineered oak flooring.

"My kids have grown up with this floor,” she says. "They have skated on it and worn their cleats on it. It still looks beautiful.”

The concrete slab and a pond right outside her home in Baton Rouge, La., made LeBlanc a perfect candidate for engineered hardwood floors.

Take these precautions before installing an engineered floor over a concrete slab, or in a basement. Make sure the slab is clean, dry and flat. Make sure the basement is well-ventilated. Test several areas of each room for excess moisture, especially spots near exterior walls and walls containing plumbing. Allow the floor to become acclimated to the conditions before it is installed. Carefully follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions.

Many engineered wood floors can be sanded once or twice. The best, and most expensive, brands have thicker top layers that enable them to be sanded several times. Some of these top-of-the-line products also have tough finishes that carry 25-year wear warranties. Less expensive choices have very thin top layers and cannot be sanded at all. 

Article courtesy of the American Hardwood Information Center.