Discount Engineered Flooring

Discount Engineered FlooringFor adding hardwood from the top floor to the basement, go with engineered flooring. Unlike its solid counterpart, engineered hardwood expands and contracts less from heat and humidity and can be placed over a concrete subfloor or radiant heat. As a result, engineered hardwood can be installed above, on, and below grade.

Although still 100-percent hardwood, engineered flooring has a different composition. Made up of three to nine plys bonded together, engineered flooring has high-quality hardwood on top, and the same or a different species below. The grain on each ply faces a different direction.

Like solid, engineered hardwood comes in grades, including discount, or #3 common. Several manufacturers, such as Bruce, Armstrong, and Robbins, offer discount engineered flooring, although the product can be difficult to find in traditional retail stores. Rather, distributors often sell it, but selections vary and are based on a monthly list from a mill.

Unfinished hardwood grading is based on appearance. An even appearance is given a high grade, while various degrees of character marks indicate lower grades. Discount engineered flooring has the greatest amount of character marks and, as a result, does not meet the manufacturer's standards. However, discount engineered flooring ends up being priced significantly less than higher-grade hardwood, typically being $0.89 to $1.19 per square foot.

In terms of appearance, discount engineered flooring has a distinct presence of character marks: knots, mineral streaks, and greater color variety. At the same time, though, a #3 common grade may be given to hardwood with poor milling. In this case, the hardwood has voids, tree bark edges, missing tongues, splits, checks, or windshake. Such features pose issues in installation, and as a result, if you decide to go with discount engineered flooring, purchase about 10 to 15 percent more to compensate for any unusable planks.

Discount engineered flooring has advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, the flooring is significantly discounted, and the hardwood gives a space a rustic look. Discount flooring, on the other hand, often does not come with a manufacturer's warranty.

Both unfinished and prefinished engineered products are available at a discount. For prefinished discount engineered flooring, the product may have been given a #3 common grade before or after a finish was added.