The Essence of Engineered Flooring

Engineered Flooring is a hardwood flooring format whose popularity has been growing fast. There are a variety of reasons why an engineered floor is a desirable option:

1. Greater dimensional stability than solid hardwood.

Engineered hardwood consists of multiple layers of veneer glued together to form the core of the board. The veneers are oriented in an alternating fashion to yield maximum stability. Glued on top of these ply layers is a prefinished hardwood veneer that can consist of almost any specie. The individual ply layers give engineered hardwood better dimensional stability than solid hardwood by compensating for the wood’s expansion and contraction.

2. More possible locations for installation

Engineered flooring can be installed in a variety of locations where solid hardwood flooring dare not tread. It can be installed below grade and over concrete, ceramic tile, vinyl flooring, etc. This is particularly important when it comes to installing hardwood flooring in basements. Engineered floors can also be installed over radiant heat sources and in tropical climates and areas with light moisture, two prohibitive elements for a solid hardwood floor installation.

3. Engineered flooring is generally less expensive than solid hardwood.

Due to the fact that the majority of the engineered board is plywood, which is relatively inexpensive in comparison to premium hardwoods, the consumer is only paying top dollar for the hardwood veneer layer. With solid hardwood flooring, the consumer pays the premium rate for the entire board as it is entirely comprised of the premium hardwood.

4. Ease of installation
Engineered flooring can be floated as well as being nailed down and glued down. Many people choose to install their own engineered floor to save on the cost of professional installation. Solid hardwood flooring is more difficult and typically requires a professional to install.

Engineered hardwood flooring veneers can be manufactured in one of two ways:

1. Sawn veneer – A sawn veneer is created sawing lumber to show the more genuine appearance of the wood. Sawn veneers are the more expensive option.

2. Rotary cut veneer – A rotary cut veneer uses lathes to peel the wear layer off of the log. Typically, this procedure shows wilder grain that is less reflective of the wood’s natural graining than that of a sawn veneer. Rotary cut veneers are typically cheaper than sawn veneers typically ranging from 0.6mm to 5mm.

Veneers, or “wear layers” as they’re also referred to, can come in thin or thick varieties, with the thick versions able to be sanded and refinished up to 2-3 times.

“Engineered flooring” benefits from the fact that it is an engineered product from wood and glue. Solid engineered flooring is a solid piece of wood, meaning it can have slight bows and imperfections inherent in the wood that keep it from being perfectly straight. Each board of engineered flooring is constructed rather than just milled into a tongue-in-groove board. As a result, it will almost always (assuming manufacturer due diligence) be virtually perfectly straight and without the natural imperfections that can afflict solid hardwood flooring.

2 Replies to “The Essence of Engineered Flooring”

  1. Wear layers thinner than 2mm can’t be sanded and refinished. Engineered floors with wear layers less than 2mm thick have a maximum life of approximately 10 years as a result, whereas engineered floors with thicker wear layers can last longer.

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