Are you building a brand-new home, remodeling your existing home, or perhaps considering replacing your current outdated or worn-out floors? Choosing a new flooring type can be overwhelming. There are so many choices out there, including real white oak hardwood and robust luxury vinyl that perfectly replicated the grain patterns of hardwood. How do you know which type is best for your home and family? Many other questions easily come to mind, which is why we will be discussing flooring and particularly engineered wood flooring.
What exactly is engineered wood flooring?
This type of flooring is interesting and brings with it several advantages. Engineered wood flooring is manufactured only after it’s undergone a meticulous designing and planning process.
Contrary to traditional hardwood flooring, which is a natural product, engineered hardwood flooring is not derived from a tree. Let’s examine what this type of flooring entails in more detail.
The finished product resembles natural hardwood flooring in every way, when in fact it differs greatly in its construction. A hardwood flooring installation consists of installing multiple solid wood planks, finished with a layer of sealant. Engineered wood flooring is constructed somewhat differently, as it has a high-quality particleboard core and is finished with a thin layer of hardwood flooring on its surface. This means that from an aesthetic point of view they look similar, but at their core are completely different.
Engineered wood floors are durable and a more affordable choice, compared to hardwood flooring. However, a hardwood floor refinishing procedure to extend a floor’s lifespan is only possible with natural hardwood flooring and not with engineered wood floors.
Both types have wonderful benefits, but as it’s installed throughout the home, the decision on which one to go with, really comes down to your own personal preference.
How is engineered wood flooring made?
The final layer, which is the only visible part of the floor once installed, consists of a layer of natural wood. As this visible finish is in fact wood, it tends to be more popular amongst consumers when compared to laminate flooring. Laminate flooring is finished with a printed layer that resembles natural wood.
Laminate flooring is produced to look like real wood veneers. Although the finishing surface layer is meant to resemble real wood, the core HDF substance is created from wood chips.
In engineered wood floors, the thickness of the final finishing layer of wood veneer is not important as the floors cannot be refinished. A thicker final wood layer, or veneer, means that it can be sanded down a few times to extend its lifespan. This is not the case with a thin veneer. Do keep in mind that pricing will go up when the thickness of the final wood layer is increased.
The second component of engineered flooring is the core board. The final finishing layer is bonded to the core board. The core is the most important part, as this is what gives the flooring its strength and ensures stability of the entire floor.
Hardwood flooring contractors have found time and time again that engineered wood floors are better able to manage extreme temperature changes and moisture. This is mainly due to the different types of core board materials used in the manufacturing process. This offers a distinct advantage over hardwood floors, which tend to be adversely affected by these conditions over time.
What engineered wood flooring types are available to choose from?
Let’s examine the several varieties of engineered or composite wood flooring that are available on the market.
This is the most popular type of engineered wood flooring and consists of several layers. This type of flooring also closely resembles the feeling of hardwood flooring underfoot. The numerous layers add extra defense against cupping and over-expansion. The thickness of the flooring ranges from 13 to 20 millimeters on average. Widths of up to 350 millimeters can be supported through the plywood’s reinforced center.
This flooring type with a HDF core is less popular. It is gaining popularity due to its high versatility. For those that prefer a DIY flooring installation, this flooring is ideal. This is due to the central component’s compatibility with a click installation system, ensuring a fuss free installation. Its high-density fiber cores are naturally strong, making it possible to reduce the thickness of the flooring. This helps with a more seamless transition between various flooring types.
This three-layer engineered floor is another popular option. The cupping or expansion is kept to a minimum and the flooring feels good underfoot on completion of the installation. The typical thickness of this flooring type is between 12 and 18 millimeters. In terms of the width, a 3-core ply is perfect for anything under 200mm. The reason for this is that the core determines the stability of the floor. As 3-ply is not quite as strong as a multi-ply core, the width should be kept at 200mm or less.
What are the advantages of engineered wood floors?
Engineered wood floors have several advantages. The most obvious is its strong resemblance to hardwood flooring due to the real wood veneer finish. This makes this flooring both elegant and stylish. There are however more advantages to consider, which are outlined below.
- Engineered wood flooring offers better stability, making it ideal for older homes. This is because older homes tend to experience more extreme temperature fluctuations and are more prone to moisture infiltration.
- Engineered wood floors make use of a specifically designed underlayment. This brings with it added leveling and insulation advantages.
- Due to the increase in popularity of engineered wood floors, this flooring type has seen a surge in design and color options, which means consumers are now spoilt for choice.
- More stability means less warping, which is a distinct advantage over natural hardwood flooring, as this is one of the leading causes for most hardwood floor repair jobs required.
All the above is both interesting and important information, brought to you by Idea Wood Floors. With this knowledge you may now be able to make a more informed decision regarding which flooring is best for your home.