What Is Engineered Flooring and How Is It Made?
Wooden flooring is offered as either engineered flooring or hardwood flooring, and it is arguably the most popular material on the market with regards to building projects and installing new flooring. Wooden flooring owes its immense popularity to the fact that it offers both a timeless and sleek design, with a low level of maintenance required. If you are considering wooden flooring, it is essential to explore the opportunities which engineered flooring grants, both in terms of design, installation and costs.
Engineered flooring utilises natural and ply wood in order to create a manmade material suitable for flooring. The difference between engineered flooring and hardwood flooring sits with the materials used, as engineered flooring is not comprised solely of solid hardwood. Instead, engineered flooring is a variant of hardwood flooring, with only the top layer made of hardwood and the layers beneath made from wood-derived materials, known as the ply layers. The top layer is most commonly made from oak, maple or walnut, with the layers beneath made of a bonded high-quality plywood core.
Engineered wood flooring looks and feels almost identical to the hardwood on the surface, yet tends to be a more affordable option due to the plywood core. Unlike hardwood flooring which is required to be nailed into place, engineered flooring is suitable for those carrying out a DIY project, as the installation involves gluing the planks to the floor or using a click and lock system. However, once installed engineered flooring can’t be refinished over its lifespan and will need to be replaced if damaged, with an approximate lifespan of 30 years.
Engineered flooring serves as a fantastic option for high-moisture environments, such as bathrooms, kitchens or cellars. This lies with the fact that it is not as susceptible to water damage in the same way hardwood flooring is, as solid wood expands and contracts, whilst engineered wood is far less affected by moisture.
In order to create engineered flooring, technicians will utilise anywhere between 3 – 12 layers of ply. The ply is then cross layered, glued and pressed, creating a solid bond between the layers. As mentioned, only the top layer will be made from natural woods, creating an aesthetically pleasing design, whilst the bottom layers are made from manmade ply. As a rule, the more layers of ply a flooring has, the stronger and less susceptible to damage it will be. It offers both an affordable and sleek design and it is suited to those with little experience with regards to the installation of flooring.