What is engineered hardwood flooring?
Engineered hardwood flooring uses three to five thin layers of hardwood on top of a dense core made of plywood or medium - high density fiberboard. The layers are arranged in a cross grain fashion and adhered together with high heat and pressure.
Because of the dense core and the cross grain construction, engineered flooring can hold up to even extremely high traffic. Engineered hardwood has a better tolerance for temperature and moisture changes than traditional hardwood. Expanding and shrinking of the floor is minimal, as well as being more resistant to cupping and warping.
The lifespan of an engineered floor is generally 20 – 30 years. Some manufacturers offer engineered hardwood flooring with a thicker wear layer, between 2mm and 6mm. These floors can be sanded and refinished a few times if necessary, increasing the life of the floor to 40 – 80 years.
Engineered hardwood offers easier and more flexible installation options when compared to traditional hardwood floors. This flooring can be installed over wood or concrete subfloors and even over other flooring if necessary. Some varieties of engineered wood flooring are “click-lock” styles. These styles have a tongue and groove cut into each piece so they fit together without the use of adhesive or fasteners. Some products can be glued down and some can use a “floating” installation.
Engineered flooring only uses the hardwood in the top few layers. That means up to 4 times more flooring can be made per tree, helping to conserve forests. This can be appealing if you desire exotic hardwood, but want to minimize the impact on the environment. Some engineered hardwood flooring products also have cores made from recycled materials.
Where to use it
Engineered hardwood flooring can be used on any level of the house. Places like basements aren’t an option for solid hardwood flooring, but engineered flooring is suitable. Because of its durability, engineered hardwood is a great option for high traffic areas.
There are a few disadvantages to engineered hardwood flooring, most of which have to do with the finish. While there are a vast number of wood types and finishes to choose from, you are still limited to what the factory offers. If your situation requires a custom stain, finish, or a different edge treatment, pre finished engineered hardwood is not for you.
Prefinished flooring also means there will be slight grooves where the boards meet during installation. These grooves have two disadvantages. The first is that some people find that dirt can collect in those grooves. That dirt has a bigger chance of getting moved around, scratching the floor. This is probably not a huge issue if your vacuum can accommodate a hard floor and you keep your home clean. The second disadvantage to those grooves is that the unfinished sides of boards can be a vulnerable area. Moisture from a spilled drink at a party or an accidently over watered houseplant can settle in the grooves. This moisture can get between the boards easier and possibly damage the floor. As the wood expands and retracts these gaps will come and go.
Engineered hardwood flooring won’t have as many natural variations as solid hardwood does. Some people feel these variations contribute to the character and appeal of hardwood flooring and don’t want to sacrifice them.
A soft broom or vacuum suitable for hard floors can be used for everyday cleaning. Don’t use abrasive or acidic cleaners. Use manufacturer recommended cleaners when necessary. Also, do not use a steam cleaner, it can force moisture between the boards.
Gowdy Flooring can help you find the right engineered hardwood flooring to fit your budget and décor. If you would like more information, or have questions about our products and services, call us today at (806) 353-6226. You can also connect with us via e-mail. We welcome you to visit our showroom and office located at 5205 S. Coulter St. in Amarillo, Texas.