If you’ve decided to install wood flooring in your log cabin, you should consider engineered wood as an option. Although the word ‘engineered’ sounds somewhat less than real, engineered wood flooring is indeed constructed from all wood components. It has become increasingly popular as worldwide sales of engineered wood has eclipsed solid wood flooring sales.
Engineered wood consists of a 1/16” to 1/8” top layer of finish wood on top of layers of non-finish plywood. For additional strength, the grain of the plywood layers runs crossways to each other and the finish layer. This makes the flooring more stable and less susceptible to warping. Unlike solid wood, engineered planks can be glued to a concrete subfloor, installed over a radiant heat floor or installed as a floating floor. The plywood base withstands moisture that can cause buckling and rippling. I will definitely use it to cover my log cabin basement floor. The top layer is also pre-finished so that it is ready for use upon being laid.
Since the top layer is real wood, engineered flooring is available in the same species as solid hardwood floors including hickory, oak, maple and walnut. There also a ‘green’ option, bamboo. Bamboo has a distinctive grain and is technically a grass. The bamboo plant is not destroyed when it is harvested and unlike trees, it is a renewable resource.
Engineered wood can be placed in areas with light moisture. I have engineered wood installed in my first floor half bath and despite occasional water spills, it has held up well. Although I have seen it installed in the kitchen and full bathrooms of log cabins, I personally prefer the look and better water resistance of tile.
Having experienced engineered flooring in my current residence, I can attest that it is susceptible to scratching and ‘dinging.’ Unlike laminate flooring, it can be sanded to renew the surface. However, depending on the thickness of the finish layer, it can only be sanded one to three times. It is advisable to hire a floor professional specialist to do the sanding due to the limited depth of the top layer.
The cost of engineered wood is comparable to solid wood. However, if you glue down or use floating floor option, you can save money by installing it yourself. I will probably put down my own basement floor.