Plies and Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Engineered hardwood flooring may look like solid pieces of hardwood, but there are actually a number of different components that make up the material, called plies. Plies are layers of mixed species of wood that are glued together so their wood grain lay perpendicular to each other. This provides greater strength and prevents the wood from buckling or warping. But what type of plies are available, and which are the best to use for engineered hardwood flooring? Glad you asked.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring
When installing engineered hardwood flooring, make sure the plies are made of high-quality hardwood.

Types of Plies
There are three different types of plies – tropical, softwood and hardwood. Tropical plies are made from mixed tropical woods and are stronger and denser than softwood. Softwood plies are usually made from pure Douglas fir or a mixture of spruce, pine and fir. They are less stable than the other types but are good enough for general construction and industrial uses. Hardwood plies are the strongest and stiffest and is used for high-traffic or high-use areas, such as floors and walkways.

Best Plies for Engineered Flooring
Since the point of plies is to provide additional layers of strength and stability to engineered hardwood flooring, the best type of plies to use are hardwood. Common hardwood plies include red oak, birch, maple and mahogany. Of course, any hardwood works well as plies, though most companies material that is less expensive than the wood that will be going over the plies.

If you’re considering installing engineered hardwood flooring in your home, make sure you find out type and grade of plies the brand uses. After all, there’s no use paying for flooring with shoddy plies.