Last edited on 24/8/22. 

It looks like solid wood, is faster to install, and is less susceptible to moisture damage. In so many cases, it is the ideal flooring option. This post covers information about this unique, low-fuss, high-tech flooring type and if it is a good fit for your style and needs.

What Is Engineered Flooring?

Typically an engineered floorboard is made up of a thin, real hardwood veneer on the surface, which is laminated to two or more layers of other materials.

Layers can typically include:

  • Coatings
  • Real hardwood layer
  • Core made from Plantation grown timbers, ply, HDF or even SPC
  • Backing layer

The veneer is 100% natural wood from various species ranging from .6mm – 6mm in thickness. The veneer is the layer after which the timber takes its name. For example, if the timber is called ‘Spotted Gum’, the veneer will be made from Spotted Gum.

Because of the different sub-layers used in the core and backing of the boards, the natural hardwood’s ability to expand and contract is greatly inhibited: usually between three to four times less than Solid Timber flooring.  As discussed in this post, the acclimatisation of engineered flooring is an issue that should be considered and can be done in a few simple steps.

Side note: A little-known advantage of a thin top layer with engineered flooring is that it reduces the stresses created due to climatic change over what is created by a solid timber floor. 

Additionally, as the top veneer is usually the ‘Strongest’ timber in each plank, a thicker layer of a less strong timber in the core (usually two or more times the thickness of the veneer,) brings strength to the core of the product and dramatically reduces any Cupping or Crowning that would occur in a natural hardwood that may occur due to the way the product is cut across grain rings.

This core can be made from Ply, several white wood timbers such as Hevea or Spruce, and less commonly, HDF or SPC. A supplier will make this determination based on access to different core materials and various cost considerations.

If you were to take a look at of some of our engineered timber options, such as Maison Rustique Oak by Signature Floors or Australian Natives by Hurford’s, you would almost certainly assume this rich-looking flooring is real hardwood. Looks, however, can be deceiving. Yes, the top is real wood, but what is underneath can vary considerably.

Timber flooring in loungeroom

Engineered timber flooring is ideal for a number of rooms throughout the house.


Since being invented in the 1960s, the appearance, quality, durability, and performance of engineered wood flooring have seen great improvements — and continue to improve. The design options are full of potential with a wide range of surface effects, patterns, and colours.

Download our Ultimate Guide to
Understanding Timber Flooring


What Are the Benefits of Engineered Timber Flooring?

Engineered timber flooring offers many benefits, making it an excellent option worth considering. As detailed below, it also has certain aspects that make it more appealing than solid hardwood.


1. Increased Installation Options

Engineered timber’s layered construction provides stability for installation in volatile environments. Engineered timber can often be installed in areas that would not be suitable for solid hardwood, such as over radiant heating systems (in most cases), basements, or concrete floors.

This makes engineered timber a versatile option for areas where you want a beautiful end result. If durability, humidity, or temperature changes are top concerns, engineered timber is worth putting at the top of your list of options to consider if you absolutely have to have real timber.

Budget-minded homeowners can also install engineered timber as a DIY product where it is suitable. This can save homeowners a significant amount of money while still providing a lovely final result.

So, what installation options do you get with engineered hardwood flooring? 

  1. Floating floor – This typically works best with a locking system (but you can use tongue and groove), which holds the boards together, and the weight of the floor holds the floor in place. This is typically the cheapest & most DIY-friendly option because the flooring is not bonded to the subfloor, meaning you can easily remove or replace it. There are several limitations to consider though, around refinishing and sound + feeling underfoot.
  2. Direct Sticking – We only recommend this path for professional installers. It involves using adhesive to stick the flooring to the subfloor. It is a permanent option with no room for errors and the added stress of drying time with the bonding agents. Once the flooring is direct stuck, you need a jackhammer to remove it, but the benefits in many cases outweigh the costs. The flooring looks, feels and sounds identical to pure hardwood underfoot. Additionally, refinishing the floor is a viable option, whether you simply want to recoat the floor or sand it back raw and change its colour.

In this article, we dive deep into the pros and cons of direct stick and floating engineered floors.


3. More Affordable

It makes sense that Engineered timber tends to be less expensive than solid hardwood. After all, it is only the top layer that is made from the slow-growing hardwood, and the rest is composed of faster-growing or synthetic options. Engineered timber is also less expensive to lay when using professional contractors, or if you decide to tackle the floor as a DIY project, it becomes less again! That being said, even direct slick will be much cheaper than laying solid timber flooring because you do not have the sand to finish it. 

If your space has a concrete subfloor, this usually makes the flooring less expensive and less complicated to install. Australian standard floor preparation tolerances still apply.


4. Versatile and Aesthetically Appealing

When used in a space, engineered timber creates a warm, inviting atmosphere. With a wide range of colours and options, any design — chic, modern, rustic, industrial, urban — can be complemented by engineered timber’s timeless appearance and cohesive style. Many Timber Species are available in Engineered Timber Flooring, from Aussie Classics such as Spotted Gum and Blackbutt to European and American Oak, Hickory and Maple. The timeless look of hardwood flooring effortlessly transfers into engineered flooring because Engineered Flooring is real hardwood flooring. 

Just like solid hardwood engineered flooring, if Engineered Timber Flooring is installed correctly, it will add value to your home and is a great way to reinvest into your property.

Maison timber floors

Timber floors can create a stunning, modern look.


Just like solid timber flooring, which has been used for thousands of years, engineered timber boasts a natural appearance, unmatched beauty, and warmth that meshes with any setting. With the rising popularity of engineered timber, the range of colours and styles continues to advance thanks to consistent advancements in technology and manufacturing processes rapidly.


5. Impressive Stability in the Environment

Engineered flooring is typically more stable due to its layered construction. Because the layers run perpendicular to each other, expansion and contraction are usually less of a problem during hotter and colder months. Although this is true, many homeowners and floor layers underestimate expansion and contraction with engineered flooring. Acclimatising your products to your environment and having the correct expansion breaks and gaps in place is the only way to ensure your products look good through the seasons. The environment in which engineered flooring is manufactured is often drastically different to the environment of the average Australian home. For that reason, it is better to allow the product to sit and air in the home for a few weeks before installation.

Side Note: This increased stability of engineered timber flooring also allows for wider planks than regular solid hardwood while still being cost-effective.


6. Option for Refinishing

If you have floated your engineered timber floor, chances are you won’t be able to sand and recoat the floor as well as a direct stuck floor, if you can re-sand it. This is often missed when a flooring salesperson tells you the floor can be sanded and recoated. This is because the floor typically bounces when the top coat is sanded off with a Poly-Vac, often leaving semi-circular, radial marks in the floor.

In the case of direct stuck floors refinishing is a real option. Light cut backs and total removal of the original coating are possible, giving you the option of changing the colour of your floor and/or choosing a different coating such as Oil or Hard Wax Oil.


7. Better for the Planet & Your Health

Timber products are known for being one of the most sustainable options in flooring. But engineered timber takes sustainability a step further since the planks make better use of slow-growing hardwood species. The thinner top layer requires less of the slow-growing timberd than a solid timber floor. This translates to more boards from one tree, making better use of a limited resource.

Engineered timber boasts a wealth of advantages with a growing focus on health. Studies even suggest that timber and wood products may positively impact mental health thanks to their stress-reducing effects. This is thought to be partly due to the nature-like atmosphere timber products help create.

If someone in your family has allergies, timber flooring should be at the top of your list regarding flooring options. Timber flooring creates a cleaner indoor environment since it does not harbour pet dander, mould, dust, pollen, or other dangerous, irritating allergens.


8. Underfloor heating

Engineered hardwood is far more compatible with underfloor heating than solid timber flooring. The multiple layers reduce the risk of warping due to heat rise and decline, causing the moisture level of the floor to rise and fall. You can achieve the warmth of underfloor heating and timber’s aesthetic feel. That being said, the product would not conduct heat as well as hardwood.  You should always consult the supplier’s guidelines when thinking of Underfloor Heating.

Applications Around The Home & Maintenance

Paris Oak Timber

Engineered timber flooring is highly versatile and makes a great addition throughout your home, office, or desired space. Smaller spaces can feel larger when engineered timber flooring is installed, making it ideal for cramped rooms.

If you are a dog or cat owner, hardwoods, including engineered ones, aren’t readily recommended for flooring because of their susceptibility to scratching and water damage (especially urine) compared to other flooring options such as vinyl or Hybrid Flooring.

Engineered timber floors are generally low maintenance and easy to care for. In many ways, they should be treated similarly to solid timber flooring:

  1. Avoid using generic detergents as they may cause permanent damage
  2. Wipe up any spills immediately so the liquid does not linger on the floor’s surface
  3. Regular sweeping and vacuuming are important to keep floors free of dirt and dust



Dean Billett

Dean Billett is our resident flooring expert. He has an impressive 28 years of experience working in the flooring industry. While working in various areas of the industry, he has accumulated a wealth of knowledge related to all aspects of flooring.