Interlocking engineered hardwood floors are an alternative to traditional hardwood floors. Engineered floors are designed to be tougher and easier to care for than traditional hardwood. Interlocking--also known as tongue and groove--floors are designed to make a home install simple. However, these floors still face some problems just like any other kind of floor.
Moisture is one of the biggest problems that engineered hardwood floors face. Most interlocking floors are held together with glue, but occasionally nothing is used to hold the wood together but the wood itself. Whether glue is used or not, the moisture can be a huge problem. A moist subfloor can cause the flooring to warp and buckle. If moisture gets between the cracks on the floor after it is installed, the flooring can warp and become uneven. Moisture levels have to be closely monitored before and after installation.
The subfloor used with interlocking engineered hardwood flooring is also a problem. No paint or sealer can be present and the subfloor must be perfectly dry. If these conditions are not met, then the interlocking floor will not perform well over time. In just a few years it will have to be replaced once more. A mat is placed between the subfloor and the interlocking floor but that is not enough to make up for a high moisture content.
Since there are many seams that are held together by glue, at the most, using a sealer on the floor is nearly impossible. Although engineered hardwood floors are designed to be more durable than the traditional hardwood floors, they can still become damaged by spike heels, furniture and moisture. Putting a polyurethane sealer on the floor, however, is nearly impossible because the floor shifts and moves over time. This would ruin any sealer placed over the floor.
The engineered interlocking floors are easy to install. However, removing one or two of the boards for repair can be very difficult. Since all of the boards are interlocked, then removal of one board from the middle of the room would require that nearly half the flooring would have to be removed to reach the damaged board. This is one of the largest problems with engineered interlocking wood floors. If the board is removed without removing the other boards then the interlocking bond will be broken.
Interlocking engineered wood floors often squeak. The different sides of the wood rubbing together can cause an annoying squeak. While this is not a difficult or damaging problem, it is irritating and hard to fix. The glue will sometimes eliminate this problem, but the surer way to prevent it is to place graphite powder or wax between the boards.