July 11, 2014 at 1:00 am

Ask a Designer

Engineered hardwood flooring has several advantages

When adding hardwood flooring, install it to the base of the cabinets, not under them. (Vintage)

Q. We plan to to replace our vinyl kitchen floor with the same Brazilian cherry engineered hardwood flooring we installed in the rest of our main floor 10 years ago. Since cherry darkens with age, will the color of the new flooring ever “catch up” with the darkened older flooring? And should the flooring be installed under their kitchen cabinets, or just up to the base of the cabinets?

Mike and Hedy

A. Christine Atesian, showroom manager at the Ghiordes Knot at the Michigan Design Center, says Brazilian cherry is one of the most photo-sensitive woods on the market. “The good news is the new section of wood will eventually catch up to the color of your existing wood flooring,” she says. “Since wood floors need room to expand and contract with the changing humidity of your home, it should be installed up to the base of your cabinets, not under them.”

Q. I’d like to remove the tile and carpet from my entire first floor (1,100 square feet) and install hardwood flooring throughout. Is this too large an area for wood floors? Even though I plan to stay in my home for another 20 years, is it a good investment?


A. Atesian at Ghiordes Knot says engineered wood floors are a great investment. “Just like solid wood, any realtor will tell you they’re a great way to add charm and value to your home,” she says. “The difference between engineered wood flooring and solid wood flooring is that engineered flooring has a layer of species-specific wood on top of an engineered base material, making it very stable and less likely to warp or cup with changes in humidity.”

Do you have a design dilemma? Send your questions to questions@michigandesign.com. Or mail them to “Ask a Designer,” c/o Michigan Design Center, 1700 Stutz Drive, Suite 25, Troy, MI 48084. Your question may appear in an upcoming Homestyle.