Engineered wood flooring is a popular and versatile flooring option that offers the natural beauty of hardwood while providing enhanced stability and durability. It is composed of multiple layers that are bonded together under high pressure and heat. The typical construction consists of the following layers:
Top Layer (Veneer): This is the topmost layer of the flooring and is made of real hardwood. It provides the genuine wood appearance, texture, and colour. The thickness of the top veneer can vary, but it is typically 1/16 to 1/8 inches thick.
Core Layers: These are typically made of high-density fiberboard (HDF) or plywood. The core layers add stability and strength to the flooring. The number of core layers can vary, but they are usually arranged in a cross-grain pattern, which further enhances dimensional stability.
Bottom Layer (Backing): The bottom layer is often made of another layer of wood or a balancing layer to counteract any potential warping or cupping caused by changes in humidity and moisture levels.
Pros of Engineered Wood Flooring:
Engineered wood flooring offers the genuine look of hardwood because it has a real wood veneer on top. It comes in various wood species, grain patterns, and finishes to match different interior designs. The layered construction of engineered wood makes it less susceptible to expansion, contraction, warping, and cupping compared to solid hardwood. This makes it suitable for areas with fluctuating humidity levels. The top layer of engineered wood is typically coated with a protective finish, such as polyurethane or aluminium oxide, which provides resistance against scratches and wear.
Engineered wood flooring can be installed on various subfloor types, including concrete, plywood, and existing flooring. It can be installed in almost any room, including basements, kitchens, and bathrooms, as long as it's designed for moisture resistance. Many engineered wood flooring products are designed for floating installations, which means they can be installed without nails or glue, making it a DIY-friendly option. It can also be glued down or nailed, depending on the type. Engineered wood is often suitable for use with radiant heating systems, providing warmth and comfort in cold climates.
Cons of Engineered Wood Flooring:
The thickness of the real wood veneer on engineered flooring limits the number of times it can be sanded and refinished. Thicker veneers can be refinished more times, while thinner ones have less potential for refinishing. Engineered wood flooring can be more expensive than some other flooring options, such as laminate or vinyl. While it provides the look of hardwood, engineered wood may not add as much resale value to a home as solid hardwood. The quality of engineered flooring can vary depending on the manufacturer and product. It's essential to choose a reputable brand and product with a durable top layer.
While engineered flooring is more moisture-resistant than solid wood, it is not entirely impervious to water damage. Prolonged exposure to standing water can still lead to issues. A level and moisture-controlled subfloor are crucial for the successful installation of engineered wood. Any irregularities in the subfloor can affect the appearance and performance of the flooring. Some engineered flooring products use adhesives and finishes that may emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs). However, low-VOC and eco-friendly options are available.
Engineered wood flooring is a versatile and durable option that combines the natural beauty of hardwood with enhanced stability. It's suitable for a wide range of applications and environments, making it a popular choice among homeowners. When considering engineered wood flooring, it's essential to select a reputable brand and product that suits your specific needs and preferences.