What is Engineered Hardwood Flooring?
Learn the Basics
Learn the Basics
Chances are, if you’re researching new flooring for your home or office, you’ve seen this popular style of flooring in your choices for consideration and asked yourself, what makes it different?
Engineered hardwood flooring is part hardwood, part core board. It’s this unique combination that makes it more stable than many types of flooring without losing its aesthetic appeal. This dual benefit is why it’s quickly growing in popularity.
Construction of Engineered Hardwood
Not all engineered hardwood flooring is made the same.
The biggest differences in these types of floors are the way the veneer (the piece of hardwood on top of the core board) is cut. There are three main cutting techniques. Each of these will affect the price of the flooring.
- Dry Solid Sawn. This occurs when you slowly remove the humidity from within the wood. As the process unfolds, the risk of cupping (which damages the wood) is reduced. Because this is such a refined process, the cost tends to be higher for this cutting technique.
- Rotary Peel. This happens when the wood is boiled before it’s top layer is removed with a rotary saw. Many times, it can cause cupping as the wood tries to revert back to its original shape.
- Sliced Peel. This is similar to the rotary peel, except after the boiling process is complete, the wood is cut end to end using a saw.
In addition to the different ways the veneer is acquired, the width will impact the price of the engineered hardwood. Most veneers range between 0.6 mm to 6 mm. The thicker the veaneer, the more expensive the engineered hardwood. With a thicker veneer, you will be able to refinish your floors without any problems. We recommend over an ⅛” layer if you plan on doing this.
Another factor that affects the price is the number of plies used to create the ply-board or core board. The more plies that are used, the more expensive the flooring. This adds additional durability and stability. These range from 2 to 10, with most lying between 3 plies and 5 plies. This number is particularly important if you plan to install your flooring over radiant heat. If not, don’t let this figure affect your buying decision.
Why Choose Engineered Hardwood?
There are many benefits to using this type of flooring. Many consumers are opting for engineered hardwood over solid hardwood because of these main reasons:
It’s impossible to deny that cost plays a major role in your purchase decision. Not only do you need to consider the price of materials, but you also need to remember how much it’ll cost for you to maintain a beautiful floor long into the future and if you need a professional to install it. Engineered hardwood wins on all accounts. It costs less to produce, which makes the cost to consumers less than solid hardwood flooring. It’s also easier to clean and maintain. Lastly, it is DIY friendly using a similar click and drop locking system as a laminate.
If you live in a climate with warm winters and blazing hot summers, you know how much the heat can affect your house. Your floors are no different. Wood naturally contracts and expands with the change of temperature. The way engineered hardwood is built (with a veneer attached to a sturdy piece of core board or plyboard) there are fewer materials to contract or expand. This limits the amount of buckling or cupping in the hot summer months.
Want the expensive look of a hardwood, but without the dent in your wallet? Engineered hardwood floors have a veneer of real hardwood on top, so you have a natural hardwood surface. Engineered woods are generally more consistent in pattern and grains due to the manufacturing process, but you will still have the authentic hardwood presented in your home or business.
If you’re considering installing the flooring yourself, you’ll need to choose engineered hardwood. This type of flooring uses tongue and groove mechanisms to make installation far easier for the average DIYer. It can be glued, floated or nail/stapled to the subfloor. Solid hardwood requires more tools and expertise to install properly.
The subfloor makes a big difference too. Unlike solid hardwood, engineered hardwood can be installed over radiant heat or concrete. This is important for most homeowners, as it eliminates an extra installation expense of preparing the subfloor.
Another important factor to consider is the thickness of the planks. Engineered hardwoods are much thinner than a solid hardwood and can be easily installed to flow from one room to the next in a remodel.
If you’re limited by your environment but still want to achieve the same stunning look of a natural hardwood floor, engineered is your best option. From the price point and aesthetic to the easy installation and maintenance, you’ll love the effortless beauty of engineered hardwood.
If you’re ready to explore engineered hardwood flooring for your home or office, it’s time to start browsing your options. Learn what you should consider when buying hardwood flooring or talk to one of our flooring experts for more support.
Have questions? Need a little bit of extra help? We’re here for you. Start a chat with one of our flooring experts in the box on this page and get a fast answer to your hardwood flooring questions.