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What Is Engineered Wood Flooring?

Engineered flooring is somewhat of a mystery to some people. Familiar terms to those outside of the flooring industry will recognise product names like real wood flooring and laminate. Real wood flooring is understood to be made by machining kiln dried timber, solid woods, such as Oak, Beech, Maple and many more including Bamboo, which is actually a kind of grass. Laminate flooring is a compound of materials with the image of a desired wood on top, just beneath a hard wearing layer of plastic. We know lots about these floors, but a term people are surprisingly unfamiliar with is, engineered wood flooring. I say surprised because engineered flooring is in fact the most common flooring type used today.

So What is Engineered Wood Flooring?

Engineered boards are constructed from core layers of hardwood ply and a final solid hardwood wear layer. This top ‘wear layer’ is the decorative and visible layer of the flooring and the core is what makes the plank stable. The layers run in different directions to provide even more stability than solid wood. The layers are then glued and fused together in controlled factory conditions to create a product that is both strong and reliable.

Why would I choose engineered wood flooring over solid wood or laminate?

Engineered wood flooring is far superior but also akin to laminate as it is often cheaper, quicker and easier to install than hardwood flooring.
Engineered wood panels can be made wider and longer. Plank width and length are not so constrained with Engineered wood as they are with hardwood flooring, which is often quite limited.
Engineered wood flooring can be fitted in rooms where solid wood flooring cannot be fitted. For example it can be fitted over concrete, in basements and with radiant floor heating. This is because engineered flooring will not bow or increase in size under varied temperature conditions and humidity, like real solid wood might.
Engineered wood can also be nailed over joists without a plywood sub-flooring because the layers that run in different directions create a more stable and strong floorboard.
You can have engineered flooring cut to different finishes and designs. Often engineered wood is bevelled to create a nifty looking floor.
Engineered wood flooring is energy efficient and won’t take as much repairing. It does not ‘cup’, this is when the edges of an affected solid wood board become higher than the centre, forming a concaved surface. Neither will it ‘gap’, where gaps appear in between solid wood boards. Both look unsightly and they can be the source of windy drafts causing energy inefficiency.

As you can see, engineered wood flooring is worth looking into. A solid wood floor is ideal and sometimes more aesthetically pleasing than engineered wood or laminate, but the aesthetics, ease of installation, cost, versatility and durability of engineered flooring makes it a choice that you should definitely consider before purchasing a solid wood floor.