Flooring Basics: All about Engineered Hardwood Floors


As engineered hardwood flooring continues to grow in popularity, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of the product so you can pass that knowledge onto your customer. Here is a rundown of the basics for engineered hardwood floors.

-Engineered floors are dimensionally stable

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Engineered floors are constructed by gluing layers of plywood together and then gluing a top layer of a particular species of wood. The plywood is arranged by rotating each layer’s grain to be perpendicular to the one above and below it. Because of this arrangement, the wood floors have reduced movement. They will still expand and contract because wood is hydroscopic, but the amount it expands or contracts is reduced. This also means that engineered hardwood floors are more resistant to changes in humidity or other moisture content fluctuations.

-They can be easier to install

If you are installing prefinished engineered hardwood flooring it is a lot simpler to install than solid unfinished hardwood flooring. This is especially true if you are using engineered floors with a “click lock” system. The reduced installation time means you could conceivably install a whole jobsite in one day’s time. With a floating click system there’s no need for compressed air tools or fasteners. However, if you are installing unfinished engineered flooring you will still have to sand and finish the floors like unfinished solid hardwood.

-Eco friendly

Prefinished engineered floors have a layer of hardwood on top of layers of plywood. This layer is typically 3mm+ in thickness. There is significantly less wood used in the construction of engineered floors than in solid hardwood floors. Depending on how manufacturers create their veneers, the yield from a single log can be substantial. The more wood obtained from a single log means less waste.

-Can be installed in more ways than solid hardwood floors

Engineered floors are rated to be installed above, below, or on grade. They can be floated or glued down. This variety of options means you can help customers obtain a hardwood floor in just about any room or space they desire. Some engineered floors are able to be installed over radiant heat systems as well.

-Sawn face engineered floors are better than rotary cut

One way the veneers of engineered floors are manufactured is by placing a log on a giant lathe-looking device. A sharp edge the whole length of the log is placed up against the log. The log is then rotated. The wood then spools off. While this method of manufacturing the veneer yields more product, it makes the veneer more susceptible to damage. The other way of manufacturing veneers is called sawn face. This method is done by cutting thin strips of the log. There is slightly more wood wasted, but the final product is stronger.

-Only one to two resands in a floor’s lifetime

Because the veneer of the engineered floor is less than that of solid hardwood flooring, it is typical that only one or two resands can be performed in the floor’s lifetime. While this might not be a problem if the client is fully aware that the color of their floor will stay constant, there might be problems if a client expects to be able to resand and refinish like it is a solid floor. Re-sanding an engineered wood floor is best accomplished in a planetary fashion, such as a buffer or Trio sanding machine.

For any additional questions regarding engineered hardwood flooring, give us a call at 800-737-1786.

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