Engineered wood flooring is a superb alternative to a solid wood floor. In fact, once laid it looks identical. It also offers exactly the same health benefits, will add just as much value to your home, and will last equally well. And it offers a number of significant advantages, too, since it is far more stable. Read on to find out more.
Why is an engineered wood floor so stable?
Wood is hygroscopic. This means that it absorbs moisture. So when the surrounding humidity levels change, either due to natural changes in the climate or through the use of artificial aids like heating or air conditioning, it can swell or shrink. This can result in planks cupping or warping, or gaps opening up between them.
Engineered wood sounds unnatural, but actually, it simply means boards made from multiple layers of timber instead of from a single layer. The top layer, known as the wear layer or lamella, is usually hardwood and, more often than not, oak. The base layers are usually softwood or multi-layered plywood, although occasionally they may be yet more layers of hardwood. All the layers are bonded together so that the grain of each one runs at right angles to that of the layer on either side, making it virtually impossible for the board to swell or shrink.
Are there other advantages to engineered wood flooring?
Essentially engineered timber offers you far more choice.
Because they are so stable, engineered planks and blocks can usually be fitted over underfloor heating. They are also now available in much bigger sizes, so those really impressive wide and long planks you see are a direct result of the engineering timber process.
Most engineered wood products are pre-finished, which means that you can see exactly what your floor will look like before it is fitted. And since there are now so many wonderful finishes available it ensures that you have far more options without having to resort to the use of tropical hardwoods. Furthermore, in addition to all the usual installation methods, engineered wood planks with a click fit system offer a particularly easy fitting option.
And last, but by no means least, engineered timber is particularly tree-friendly because it uses less of the slow-growth hardwoods. Using more wood is, in general, good for our planet because it encourages the harvesting and replanting of our forests, but utilising fast-growing softwoods provides a quicker turnover.
What are the alternatives to engineered timber flooring?
Engineered wood flooring is a superb alternative to a solid timber floor, but it's not necessarily cheaper. If you want the look and feel of real wood in quality flooring, but are on a really tight budget, a veneer could well be the perfect answer. A veneer uses a very thin layer of real wood, usually bonded to a core of some type of composite timber product like fibreboard. The 9mm thick planks in our PurePlank range are a superb example of an excellent veneered product, with an integral cork backing for improved thermal and acoustic insulation and a prime grade timber surface protected by eight layers of UV cured matt lacquer.