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Engineered Timber Flooring vs. Hybrid Timber Flooring

10 Oct 2022

When it comes time to renovate or build your home, one of the big decisions you'll face is what type of flooring to choose. There are a lot of different options available, and it can be tough to decide which is the best for your needs. 

In this post, we're going to take a look at two of the more popular types of flooring: engineered timber flooring and hybrid flooring. We'll compare and contrast them both to help you decide which is the right choice for you. Let's get started.

What is Engineered Timber Flooring?

Engineered timber is a type of flooring that features real wood such as, cedar, oak, maple, or other types, set on top of multiple layers of wooden material. It differs from solid timber flooring, which is made from the selected wood throughout. 

Engineered timber is a popular option for many people looking to use real wood in their home but are after a more sustainable and structurally sound solution.

What is Hybrid Flooring?

Hybrid flooring involves a mixture of multiple materials, such as laminate and vinyl. The floors are designed and built to look similar to wood flooring but are not made with real wood.

What are the Pros and Cons of Engineered Timber Flooring

Pro: Engineered Timber Flooring is Made From Real Wood

When natural elements are used throughout interiors, they bring a special touch of class, calm and nature. Engineered timber flooring is real wood and whilst Hybrid floors try hard to replicate this - they can’t achieve the same natural look and feel as real wood.

Con: Not As Water-Resistant As Hybrid

Whilst your engineered flooring can take a little water, to keep your floors in the best condition and to last as long as possible you do not want to leave water on them for long periods of time. 

Image: Havwoods' engineered flooring profile showing the high quality various timbers used to manufacture it and the top layer which can be sanded.

Image: Apartment featuring flooring from Havwoods' V-Collection.

Pro: It Can Be a Cost-Effective Type of Flooring

Engineered timber flooring is available at a range of price points and given it is pre finished and stained, there are less post installation costs. The click system or tongue and groove system allows for quick and easy install leading to lower costs versus some other flooring alternatives.

At Havwoods, prices range from Parky and V-Collection as some more affordable options, through to custom products and higher grade timbers such as the Luxe Collection and Venture Plank. Request a priced version of our Wood Book here.

Con: The Floors May Scratch Easier Than Hybrid

Since engineered flooring has a top layer made from real wood, engineered flooring has the same drawbacks as solid wood flooring and is therefore more likely to scratch.

Keep this in mind if you have large pets or children, or if you're installing engineered timber in a high-traffic area. 

Pro: They Can Be Repaired and Refurbished

Whilst engineered timber floor boards may be more susceptible to scratches than hybrid flooring, due to them being made from real timber, they can be repaired in many instances.

Engineered timber flooring can be sanded back, just like solid timber floors allowing for the repair or refurbishment.

Some finishes of engineered timber boards, such as a UV oil finish, can also be spot repaired.

Con: Engineered Timber Flooring May Require More Maintenance VS Hybrid Flooring

Whilst many people enjoy the look of real timber, even as it naturally wears, if you prefer the look and feel of those new freshly laid boards, a little more effort and maintenance is required vs the hybrid flooring counterpart.

Special timber appropriate products need to be used for cleaning and regular sweeping and cleaning is recommended to keep dirt, sand and other elements from damaging the floors. More information on how to maintain engineered timber floors can be found here

Image: Havwoods' engineered timber floor can be used in high traffic areas due to general wear adding to the character and ability to refurbish if required. Pictured here, the Roundhouse Restaurant at the Crystalbrook Kingsley Hotel

Pro: Engineered Wood Is Eco-Friendly

Engineered timber is an excellent option if green-friendliness is a priority for you. It's more sustainable than full timber flooring since you're using fewer trees and isn’t made using plastic and laminates such as hybrid flooring.

Many Havwoods engineered floors are also third-party sustainably certified providing the next level of comfort in knowing they are eco and socially sustainable.

You'll appreciate that you're protecting the environment, while still improving your home, a single floor plank at a time. 

What Are The Pros and Cons of Hybrid Flooring

There are some downsides and benefits of hybrid flooring that you should consider as well. Consider these hybrid floor pros and cons:

Pro: Hybrid Is More Water-Resistant

Moisture isn't a problem when you're dealing with hybrid floors. They can be waterproof, which makes them one of the most stable options on the market.

Con: They're Susceptible To Discolouration

With that said, the floors are susceptible to different forms of discolouration. While many of these floors come equipped with ultraviolet (UV) protective coating, it's not a form of protection that you can count on indefinitely.

This means that age, constant use, and general wear and tear will all take their toll sooner or later.

Pro: You Get Plenty of Versatile Options

Since hybrid floors are made from several different materials, you can also count on many colour options. Examples of hybrid flooring colour options that you can explore include maple, slate grey, taupe, and reddish tones.

This flooring material also allows you to choose patterns like herringbone, natural, diagonal, and those that mimic traditional wood flooring.

Con: A Timber Look Hybrid Floor Can Look Fake

A downside of wood look hybrid floors is that the printed timber image is usually quite obviously fake. Whilst this may not be an issue for some clients, for others it can cause issues if they want to achieve a quality finish for their project.

The other consideration when considering hybrid floors is that given it is a printed timber photo or pattern, this is replicated throughout the pack, so if not installed carefully, you will notice the print repeated throughout your floors, clearly showing the “fakeness” of this product. 

Image: An example of the repetition of a manufactured pattern seen in a Hybrid floor.

Image: Hybrid floor profile showing various mix of plastic based materials.

Pro: Hybrid Floors Are Affordable

Hybrid floors are also cost-effective. It's easy to add these floors to your budget and get an installation from start to finish.

These floors are also easy to customize, and you can get a good rate on the work even when building flooring from scratch.

Con: These Floors Can't Be Re-Sanded

Sanding your engineered timber floors is always an option when you need to refurbish or repair them. Unfortunately, this isn't possible with hybrid flooring.

You can't add a fresh coat or sand these floors, so you'll have to use other methods for repairing the floors such as replacing panels.

Deciding for Your Project

Now that you know what to expect from hybrid and engineered timber flooring, you need to consider your property and what makes sense for your needs. You can look through an extensive catalogue that has more than 200 Havwoods products that feature both types of products.

The flooring that you look into is prefinished and coated off-site. They're fabricated in a factory-controlled environment, cured, and able to be installed how you need.

For instance, hybrid flooring can be quite noisy compared to others. The reason for this is that they feature materials such as laminate, which are known to be noisier. Consider how much foot traffic you're going to get in the room and your threshold for noise to figure out if this is a deal-breaker or not.

Engineered flooring is a quality choice, but might not give you the ROI that you'd get from full timber. Weigh these sorts of variables as you shop around.

Consider Your Maintenance and Repair

Always factor in flooring maintenance as you decide what materials you're looking for. The best thing you can do for either engineered or hybrid flooring is focus on maintenance. 

Regularly sweep and mop your floors and spot treat them for stains. Make note of any cracks or scratches that your floors sustain to fix them as quickly as you can. When you are selecting the flooring material, ask about warranties and maintenance plans, and get an idea of how many quality years you can expect to get from them.

Don’t forget about installation

Engineered and Hybrid flooring offers buyers a mess free, easy to install process where there is no glue or curing involved. At Havwoods, our engineered and hybrid flooring options provide you with a tongue-in-groove

But if installing your own floors seems like a daunting process we also can arrange it for you either via our Havwoods installers or through our network of recommended installers.

In summary, whatever type of flooring you decide to choose for your home project make sure it’s the right one for you. Hopefully this post has provided you with enough information to help you make an informed choice.

If you are still unsure of the type of flooring you should consider, you can always book a showroom appointment to see the different types of flooring for yourself, or you can order a free sample to see the product insitu.