Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Engineered Hand Scraped Woods

April 8, 2009

One of the great aspects of engineered flooring veneers is that they are very versatile and come in a variety of styles beyond the standard smooth texture.  You can also find it in other styles, such as handscraped and French bleed.

What is handscraped engineered flooring? Basically, it is flooring that is handscraped by the manufacturer in order to give the wood an older look, as if it has been worn over time. This style of texturing wood would be particularly appropriate in a house built in an older architectural era, where installing a brand new smooth hardwood floor might clash with the overall tone of the home’s more classic style. The upside of using handscraped flooring is that you get this older look while simultaneously getting new, structurally sound wood that, though the surface is scraped, sports brand new engineered ply layers. Here is a beautiful example of engineered hand distressed black walnut.

French bleed refers to wood with stained edges, with the color of the stain being typically black. Again, this look often provides a more classic tone to a home, and is often combined with hand-distressed or scraping, although not in every case. Both handscraping and French bleed create a tone of warmth and welcome.

The beauty of both of these styles is that you get the classic appeal of and older style appearance of floor while enjoying the structural superiority of modern engineered flooring. If you’re going for a rustic or “Old World” style look for your home, hand distressed engineered flooring or hand scraped engineered flooring are great candidates.


Domestic Engineered Wood Flooring Species

March 20, 2009

Of the many types of engineered flooring products available, some of the most beautiful and traditionally elegant examples are the American domestic species. These are trees you probably see in your every day life, lining your street, sprouting up along highways and country roads, even in your backyard. Some well known American domestic species include Cherry, White Oak, Red Oak, and Maple, to name just a few. The interesting thing about American domestic species is that they tend to fall within the brown to yellow/white color spectrum, with some red tones here and there, but there isn’t a whole lot of deviation from this general spectrum. White Oak and Maple tend to be in the lighter category, Red Oak brings, naturally, some redness into that white equation, with Cherry bringing in a more orange-red tonal quality.

American domestics also tend to be fairly soft in comparison to other hardwood species from elsewhere in the world. Here are some technical specs for each of these species:




Modulus of Rupture:   10,700

Modulus of Elasticity: 1,450

Janka Hardness:  1450 lbs.

White Oak

White Oak

White Oak:

Modulus of Rupture:   15,200

Modulus of Elasticity: 1,780

Janka Hardness:  1360 lbs.




Modulus of Rupture:   12,330

Modulus of Elasticity: 1,490

Janka Hardness:  950 lbs.

Red Oak

Red Oak

Red Oak:

Modulus of Rupture:   14,300

Modulus of Elasticity: 1,820

Janka Hardness:  1,290 lbs.

These types of engineered hardwood flooring as well as engineered products with exotic specie wear layers are becoming increasingly popular due to their dimensional stability and very reasonable price tag. Well worth revisiting some traditional hardwood standards, or even giving an exotic a try.


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

February 22, 2009

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.


Will a down economy convert frugal consumers into engineered flooring advocates?

January 30, 2009

With economic times as they are, engineered flooring is becoming a more and more viable option, and for good reason. First of all, and perhaps most obvious, an engineered floor is a cheaper option than a solid hardwood floor, making it a much more viable option for those looking to pinch a few pennies. The reason that engineered flooring is ultimately cheaper than solid hardwood is because the expensive specie that makes up the wear layer is only a thin layer in the overall structure of the board. The rest of the board is comprised of plywood that costs less to acquire and mill for manufacturers. I’m interested to see if this newfound frugality in America creates a bigger demand for engineered flooring, and if, subsequently, once consumers realize that engineered flooring is far more dimensionally stable than solid hardwood flooring, if they will become devoted to engineered products thereafter. There are some advantages of solid flooring, such as a general acoustic quality, meaning that it gives off a different sound than an engineered floor. This is particularly true when an engineered floor is floated. Some say that this creates a “hollow” sound. Then there is the additional benefit that solid hardwood can be sanded and refinished more often than engineered flooring. Naturally, a thicker wear layer on an engineered floor means more opportunities for sanding and refinishing. But I’m interested to see if we see more people advocating engineered products and to see if those who were traditionally proponents of solid hardwood floor come over to the engineered side because of being forced to consider engineered as an option for economic reasons.


How should I maintain my engineered floor?

November 27, 2008

An engineered floor, or any other fine wood flooring for that matter, can only maintain its beauty if it is properly maintained. While maintaining hardwood flooring is fairly simple, it is important to perform maintenance often and in the correct manner. Here are some helpful tips:

1. Sweep or vacuum the floor to make sure that all dirt and debris are clear from the floor. One of the biggest threats to a finished wood floor is debris becoming caught under a furniture leg and then dragging that piece of furniture across the floor. Which leads us to the next tip:

2. Lift furniture to move it. The legs themselves may wear and become sharp or jagged, presenting the threat of a major gouge. A piece of debris may also become caught underneath them, with the subsequent pressure causing an otherwise benign pebble to become as damaging as a knife point.

3. Do not apply excess amounts of water when mopping. The first rule of maintaining any hardwood floor is to keep it away from water and other forms of moisture as much as possible. Water causes swelling and a myriad of other nasty problems for a engineered and solid hardwood flooring alike. Therefore, when mopping the floor (with a cleaner approved by the manufacturer for hardwood flooring) make sure that the mop is not sopping-wet and that it is clean. A mop that is dirty and not well-wrung will probably cause more harm than good. Make sure to wipe up excess water with a soft cloth.


The Essence of Engineered Flooring

November 18, 2008

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.



November 12, 2008

This blog is for a general discussion about choices, installation and maintenance of Engineered Flooring.