Engineered wood floors

intro 200 enginHow are they made? The best engineered wood floors are built having 3-12 multiple ply layers  that are cross layered, glued and pressed together.

About Engineered Wood Floors

Engineered wood floors - How are they made? The best engineered wood floors are built having 3-12 multiple ply layers (see picture below) that are cross layered, glued and pressed together. The inner core layers are are generally built up with either a hardwood and/or soft plywood type of material, which incorporates the tongue and groove system. The top thicker hardwood veneer wear layer is then glued and pressed on the top surface of the core. Engineered hardwood flooring is available in almost any wood species.The benefits of using engineered wood floors include more resistance to higher moisture levels than solid wood flooring, which adds to their appeal to use in damp basements or in regions of the country that have higher relative humidity levels. Also, engineered flooring (excluding the newer Click Lock flooring) can be direct glued-down over (dry) concrete slabs above or below grade or stapled down over a wood subfloor. Quality Engineered Hardwood flooring has the same resale value as 3/4 IN. solid wood flooring, if you ever decide to sell your home.Engineered Hardwood floors range in widths from 3-7 inches wide and in thicknesses from 3/8 - 3/4" they also come in a wide variety of domestic and exotic hardwood species and some are even available in the popular hand scraped styles. Some brands of engineered flooring have a thin .6 mm wear layer that can only be re-coated and cannot be sanded and refinished new again once they get worn. They have an average lifespan of between 20-30 years depending on traffic. Other brands or styles can have a thicker 2 - 6 mm thick wear layer that can be completely sanded and refinished 1- 5 times if they ever needed to be. These thicker wear layer engineered floors can last from 40 - 80 years before having to be replaced which add to their appeal.

Click Loc engineered flooring is becoming a more and more relevant trend in the engineered market. Click locking engineered boards have special tongue and groove systems that simply lock together, forming a tight seam and a seamlessly smooth appearance. Click locking floating engineered floors require absolutely no glue during installation and just float over a foam or cork underlayment. Click locking engineered floors can be installed on any grade level in the home and not only over traditional plywood or concrete subfloors, but also over old hardwood flooring, vinyl and tile as long as they are flat and well secured.

Engineered wood floors are manufactured two ways, one, where the top surface wear layer is Sliced/Sawn cut from the log like solid wood flooring is. Engineered hardwood flooring that has a Sliced/Sawn cut wear layer shows the truer natural look of the wood and finer graining. Sliced/Sawn cut engineered flooring also allows a thicker wear layer.

Engineered wood floors can also be Rotary cut, which the veneer hardwood wear layer is peeled off the log using big lathes. This peeling method can show dramatic wilder graining. engineered wood flooring cuts

Not all engineered flooring are alike!

Some homeowners think that engineered flooring is not as good as solid 3/4 IN. thick flooring because they are under the impression that it’s cheaply made. Well, as with all consumer products, manufacturers do make products at all levels of quality, each to fit a certain price point within the market. There are engineered floors on the cheaper end of the spectrum that are specifically manufactured to be affordable to a certain portion of the market. Sometimes, consumers are fooled into believing that these cheaper products are a bargain, but we would like to refute this belief.

There are a multitude of engineered floors on the market today that are made using the best raw materials available, for the prospective buyer who wants a top quality product for his or her home.  You have probably heard of the popular adage “you get what you pay for.”  This truism is most applicable towards the less costly engineered flooring that you will undoubtedly find at liquidators, home centers and discounter warehouses. These cheaper engineered floors are usually 3/8 IN. thick, have a paper thin wear layer and they are usually made overseas (China). At the other end of the price point spectrum, you will find very high end engineered floors that have an incredibly thick real wood wear layer that can, later on if ever needed, be sanded and refinished. The problem we have in the flooring industry is that the two different types of quality engineered flooring are often intermingled by retailers and the differences between them are either not known or is not often fully explained to the consumer. As a direct result of these missteps, in lots of cases the customer will purchase the cheaper floor that they see as a great bargain, only to have it fail once it’s installed in the home. At that point, an opinion is created and the consumer starts to think that all engineered flooring is of lesser quality than solid flooring. Even if your budget is tight, it is still possible to find a good quality engineered floor, if you know what to look for. The goal of this article is to help the consumer understand the differences between a low quality engineered floor and a high quality engineered floor and, ultimately, what to look for in the specifications of an engineered floor when shopping around.

All about the wear layer

When working with a standard 3/4 IN. thick solid floor, the sandable (or renewable) wear layer is approximately 5/16 IN. If you sand down a solid floor below this depth, you will start to expose the nails that were used to install it. Therefore, the maximum wear thickness on a 3/4 IN. solid floor is going to be 5/16 IN. You can sand and refinish 3/4 IN. thick flooring approximately 5-7 times over the lifetime of the floor. The average lifespan of 3/4 IN. thick solid wood flooring is approx 100 years.

With engineered flooring, wear layer thicknesses can vary greatly. Wear layers on engineered flooring can range anywhere from .6mm to 6mm. As an example, an engineered wood floor with a wear layer of 4mm (5/32 IN.) usually can be sanded and refinished 4-5 times over the lifetime of the floor. The average lifespan of an engineered floor with this 4mm wear layer is approximately 60-80 years.

What should your concerns be?

Your concern should be what your demands are going to be for that flooring and match those demands to the flooring as best you can. If the area that the new flooring is going to be installed is it going to receive a lot of rough traffic with little or no care or maintenance then you will want a engineered floor that has a thick wear layer that can be sanded and refinished new again later if it ever needed to be. If the area is not going to be heavily trafficked and will be maintained properly then you may not need as thick a wear layer. Quality Engineered floors are very durable and are commonly used in shopping malls which receive a lot of foot traffic.

Engineered wood flooring is Green

Purchasing engineered wood flooring helps conserve expensive prized wood. For every 1 sq foot of 3/4 inch thick solid wood flooring manufactured you can manufacturer approx 4 times that amount into engineered wood flooring. Engineered wood flooring is the best flooring to provide people with to conserve our forests.

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