mahogany stain on this engineered red oak floor
Photo: Kelly & Kelly
Mahogany stain on this engineered red oak floor from Harris Wood warms up the kitchen of a Winchester, Mass., home remodeled by TOH TV.
WHY ENGINEERED FLOORING?

Take a close look at the wood floor in the photo on the right. A keen eye might conclude that this rich expanse is made up of solid strips of red oak, one of the most popular American hardwoods. That eye would be wrong, mostly. Sure, it's oak on top, but that's just a wood veneer skin. Underneath are more thin wood layers, all glued together to make a plywood sandwich called engineered flooring.

Since their invention in the 1960s, engineered wood floors have improved in appearance and performance, accounting for 30 percent of all the wood flooring sold in America today. Available in dozens of wood species, and with new surface effects, such as hand scraped, for a timeworn patina, these high-tech boards now look just right in any vintage house, whether it's a 1910 foursquare or a '70s raised ranch.

Most boards come with a factory finish that'll outlast one applied in your home on solid wood, and they'll be ready for footsteps the day you put them down. Engineered boards are also problem-solvers, allowing you to use them where solid strips often can't go, like in basements or directly over concrete slabs. Even better, budget-minded homeowners can lay the boards themselves, saving a bundle on pro installation and getting great-looking results in a weekend.

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