What’s the difference between engineered and solid wood floors? To the naked eye there probably isn’t much difference, but in fact, there are some nuances to pay attention to when choosing the type of wooden flooring for your home.
Engineered wood flooring
One of the most popular flooring types on the market today is engineered wood. It is a fantastic material as far as value. Structurally, it consists of several layers of wooden slats glued perpendicular to each other. The top layer is a natural wood veneer covered with varnish, wax or oil.
Its glued construction reduces almost any susceptibility to deformation.
If the boards are covered with several layers of varnish, then it can even be used in the kitchen instead of tile.
Engineered wood is generally less expensive than solid wood and easier to install.
If the top layer becomes damaged, it can be refinished.
Cheaper versions of engineered planks have thin wood veneer; a damaged floor can be refinished only 1-2 times.
Engineered wood floors can come with either beveled or square edge. Wood floors with beveled edge look more impressive, but the traditional square edge helps make the floors look uniform and seamless. If gaps form in the flooring over time, due to differences in temperature and humidity, they will be less noticeable on beveled edge floors.
Solid wood flooring
As opposed to engineered wood flooring, where only the top layer is made of a valuable material, solid wood flooring is made up entirely of the same type of wood.
It can be refinished many times.
After each refinishing, you can change the color to different shades (dark or light), imitating, for example, bleached oak or cherry from maple solid wood.
The material is environmentally friendly if you use a special coating, such as natural wax or oil.
Solid wood floors react significantly to changes in temperature and humidity. If the recommended microclimate is not supported in your space, the boards can warp and gaps may appear in the flooring.
Despite their low cost, ordinary edged pine, larch or oak boards are also worth looking into. The most important thing is that they are properly dried at the factory.
This type of board can be painted, artificially aged, stained in a color you like, and when you get tired of it, you can repaint it again. Adding dyes to the lacquer allows you to achieve an interesting result: the texture of the wood will be preserved, and the design can be changed as you wish.
Any varnished wood is easier to clean and will last longer than waxed or oiled wood. However, it is easy to touch up and fix a scratch on the oiled wood, and almost impossible to touch up polyurethane finish. With proper maintenance, oiled floors can last indefinitely. Scratches and chips are more noticeable on a glossy varnish than on a matte finish.
When determining how to lay out your flooring, try to make sure the light from the windows falls parallel to the boards. In that case, small installation defects will be less noticeable, and the texture of the wood will be more visible.
When choosing the size of the boards, consider the scale of the room. By using a painted pattern over the flooring, you can change the geometry of the floorboards, demarcate different functional zones, and set the direction of movement.
Don’t be afraid to experiment!
When choosing wood flooring, you should keep in mind that, in addition to the appearance, different wood species vary in density and hardness. For example, white oak, merbau, and stranded bamboo are considered hard, and birch and alder are soft.
Remember: the flooring must correspond to the purpose of the room and harmonize with the interior design and color. Pay attention not only to the aesthetics but also to the technical characteristics of the material. Precisely follow the recommendations for installation and subsequent care, and then your flooring will last for many years!