Leather Engineered Flooring: A Beautiful Alternative to Standard Engineered Hardwood Floors.

Torlys is a manufacturer of flooring based in British Columbia and Ontario, Canada. In October, they announced that they would soon be releasing their engineered leather flooring in North America, starting in Canada and moving into the United States thereafter. It has since hit the show rooms of American flooring retailers nationwide, and it is an amazing product.

There are some great selling points for the leather product: It’s made from environmentally responsible leather, uses cork backing to eliminate the need for underlayment, both of which provide a soft feel to those walking on it. The leather itself is comprised of scrap leather which is chopped up into fine bits, put into a slurry with other polymers and resins, and once it is hardened, it is imprinted with leather patterning.
This product is designed to appeal to those looking for comfort and luxury. Pricewise, there is a bit of a divide: MSRP for the leather flooring is approximately $12.95/sf, compared to engineered hardwood flooring’s MSRP range starting around $3. However, the product is gorgeous, unique, and well made, so the higher price seems only natural. Additionally, leather flooring in the past has been prohibitively expensive, so Torlys‘ pricing is quite reasonable by comparison.

Overall, kudos are due to Torlys for manufacturing this green flooring in a way that reuses scrap leather to creates a beautiful new product. These elegant engineered leather floors bring a very unique and luxurious product into the price range of more consumers than leather flooring products in the past, all the while adding sustainability and environmental friendliness to the overall product.

To float or not to float?

Floating an engineered hardwood floor is a manner of flooring installation that many opt for. Boards are glued or snapped together at the sides and installed over a layer of underlayment. Underlayments come in a variety of different styles, with higher quality underlayment eliminating more of the acoustical by-products of a floating floor. This is one of the most noticeable down-sides of a floated engineered floor: there can be a somewhat “hollow” sound when it is walked on, a result of the space between the floor and the subfloor created by the underlayment. Nailed or glued down flooring can feel more “solid” underfoot as a result of each board being secured individually and vertically to the sub-floor itself. Also, engineered hardwood flooring that is floated can create “cracking” noises soon after it is installed, which is the result of the glue settling and acclimating to foot traffic.

A floating engineered floor is also unforgiving when it comes to certain installation oversights. If there is a low area in a sub floor that isn’t leveled or corrected, this will create a spot where your foot will sink, as the floor is horizontally suspended over the indentation. With a nail or glue down floor, this imperfection would more likely not go undetected, as the nails and glue must reach the subfloor, which would indicate to the installer that something was amiss.

While this is by no means an exhaustive list of the pros and cons of engineered hardwood flooring, these are some important considerations derived from experience and the experiences of others that I think will help you to make the best decision as to which installation method best suits your needs.