Many homeowners believe that engineered wood flooring is a lesser quality product, as opposed to solid wood flooring. This belief has been created by the mass production of engineered floors that are typically sold at liquidator flooring stores, home improvement stores, and discount flooring stores. Many, if not all of these products, are manufactured in China or overseas and are designed for one purpose: marketing a product with a low price point to sell to the masses. It is no wonder consumers have been left disappointed. They have chosen a product designed for price, not for quality or purpose.
Many of us understand we typically get what we pay for. With engineered floors, this is no exception. Just as there are manufacturers creating a low quality, low price product, there are also manufacturers producing engineered wood floors from premium hardwood materials, built for the intended structural purpose. A high-quality, engineered product is cut from a premium hardwood, creating a solid wood veneer. These solid hardwood veneers are what the flooring industry refers to as the wear layer of an engineered product. The wear layer is glued above the tongue and groove of the base or core of the product. The thickness of the wear layer ranges anywhere from .6-mm to 7-mm thick, and is a major contributor to the quality of an engineered product. A higher quality product will have a thicker wear layer, offering greater stability.
You may ask, “Why should I worry about the thickness of the wear layer?” This thickness determines the possibility of future sanding and refinishing, and influences how long your wood floors will last. To put it into perspective, a thicker, 4-mm wear layer will allow 4 to 5 re-sands, if
re-sanded by a skilled professional. You will find that cheaper products consist of a paper-thin,
.6-mm wear layer, which does not allow for re-sanding in the future.
The core base is another hardwood feature that determines the quality of an engineered product. This is the area of material consisting of the tongue and groove and below. It is also the structural foundation material to which the wear layer is adhered. The layers of material underneath the wear layer can be anywhere between 3 and 12 plies of plywood. An engineered product with a greater number of plies will yield a product that is more stable, creating a higher quality, and more expensive product.
Engineered wood floors were developed for the sole purpose of providing a hardwood flooring product that can be applied directly to a concrete slab. The plywood cross layering base allows the engineered wood floors to have greater stability and resistance to moisture compared to solid hardwood flooring, making it a great option for regions with higher humidity levels.
In summary, there are three main factors to consider when purchasing an Engineered Hardwood floor:
Wear layer: Thickness of wear layers should be between 2-mm and 6-mm of premium cut hardwood
Core layers: Premium plywood layers should be between 3 and 12 ply
Adhesive: Premium adhesive; beware of cheaper alternative adhesives, which may contain formaldehyde
Why choose Engineered Hardwood Floors:
Can be installed on sub-floors below ground level or basements
Longer plank option for particular wood species
May be directly glued to a leveled and dried concrete sub-floor
Greater resistance to moisture
Greater resistance to cupping and gapping due to changes in temperature
Sustainability of hardwood timber
Please note, we did not include lower price as a reason to choose engineered hardwood flooring. If price is the reason for considering engineered hardwood flooring, the above may not be factors. The reasons above are benefits from a high quality engineered product.
4.5-mm wear layer
9-ply birch plywood, carb compliant
Premium adhesive with no trace of formaldehyde
Engineered flooring is available in the following species: Texas Post Oak wood flooring, Texas Mesquite wood flooring, Southern Pecan wood flooring, Live Sawn Oak wood flooring, and Reclaimed Oak wood flooring