Everything You Need To Know About Engineered Wood Flooring
Engineered wood floors have been around for decades and are widely accessible. Despite that, we are often overwhelmed with questions at our showroom, or at events like the Architectural Digest Home Design Show where we have our engineered floorboards on display.
In this post, we’ll address the most frequently asked questions we field on this popular type of wood flooring.
What is an engineered floorboard?
What makes an engineered plank unique is its structure. All components of the floorboard are made of wood, but it is not a solid piece of wood. An engineered wood floor has a solid appearance though and it as durable as solid wood flooring.
An engineered floorboard consists of four layers reinforcing each other, which makes the structure very durable and less susceptible to changes in humidity and temperature. When the bottom layers of the plank are cut from the best hardwoods, it makes for a very sturdy yet flexible material. It looks and feels like a natural solid wood floor, but it is lighter and more versatile.
Because of their structure, engineered floorboards can have high thermal and acoustic insulation characteristics as well as being more resistant to various deformations than solid wood.
What is an engineered floorboard made from?
The four layers are:
- The protective coating (oil or polyurethane). It is applied in several coats.
- The top or visible layer of the board is a thin cut of valuable wood ( 1/16” – 1/4”). It forms the appearance of the floor, and typically comes in different colors and grades.
- The middle layer. This part is usually cut from coniferous trees. The middle layer adheres perpendicular to the fibers of the lower layer, giving the engineered wood board greater resistance to changes in temperature and humidity. The middle layer also has “tongue and groove” on both sides of the floorboard, used for joining the boards during installation of the floor.
- The bottom layer is usually made from spruce or pine plywood.
Is engineered wood flooring a better value?
When selecting a flooring product, an educated consumer always looks at the value of a product. But how do you determine the value of wood floor? Reviewing prices and characteristics of competing products is the right place to start.
We’ve identified six primary characteristics, which influence the price of an engineered floor.
The country of manufacture
Depending on the country where an engineered floor was produced, the price for it can vary: products made in Europe are often more expensive than flooring made from the same types of wood in China or South America.
Widely distributed wood species are significantly cheaper than rare and exotic breeds.
Which includes clear, select, common and rustic, from most expensive to least.
Plain sawn is a common cut and less expensive. Quarter sawn wood has a straight grain pattern. It is more expensive than Plain Sawn. Rift Sawn is produced by milling perpendicular to the log’s growth rings creating a linear grain pattern. It is the least common and most expensive cut of lumber.
The construction of the board and the wear-layer
Thick plywood contributes to the cost of the floorboard as well as the wear layer of the finished wood veneer. The wear layer of the engineered wood can be a thin veneer, or it can be a 4mm layer of beautiful wood designed to withstand as many refinishing procedures as a solid wood floor.
Treatment and finish
Custom finishes such as hand-scraping and oil treatments are signature marks of well-crafted, more luxurious products. Most popular finishes used in flooring today are: natural oils, hardwax oils, stains, dyes and various polyurethanes with possible additives like aluminum oxide for durability.
Is engineered wood flooring right for my home?
Engineered flooring, like other products we use, continue to improve and manufacturers make more durable and sexier flooring every year! At SOTA Floors we stay on top of the trends and pride ourselves on the products we carry in our showrooms and recommend to our customers. We’ve carefully selected our manufacturers, and our CEO Eric Herman regularly visits the production to inspect and ensure the quality of the finished products.
If you would like to learn more about engineered flooring or have specific questions, we would love to see you in our showroom. Or call us right now for a free consultation: 212-447-1718.