Engineered wood, though not often spoken of with the same high regard as natural wood and tile, is a viable alternative for those seeking the durability of a hardwood, the water resistance of a tile, and a degree of sustainability not often found in other, more well-known flooring options.Let’s take a look at the components comprising this engineered variation, the many forms it can take, and the benefits that make it such a popular choice for home renovations.
Engineered Wood, Defined
Engineered wood is manufactured by layering thin slabs of plywood with high-density fiberboard, topped off with a solid hardwood veneer. These layers are then glued together to strengthen the wood, creating a multi-faceted, highly functional flooring option.
Regarded as an environmentally friendly alternative, engineered wood utilizes components of older pieces, and by refurbishing, makes them suitable to serve as the core layer. Trims can feature both grain-rich and smooth surfaces, adding versatility to this unique style.
Features & Benefits
Engineered flooring is available in several variations, among these: three-ply, comprised of three layers of plywood, underneath a hardwood top; five-ply, made up of five layers of plywood, with a hardwood shell; and seven-ply, containing seven thin layers of plywood, protected by a hardwood coating.
Due to its composition, engineered flooring is able to mimic wood, as the top layer is typically composed of an authentic hardwood, ranging from maple to oak.
Among the benefits of engineered wood is its ability to withstand the effects of humidity, making it an ideal choice for installation in such water-prone areas as basements, as well as more standard living spaces like kitchens and dining rooms. Whereas most wood-based flooring has a tendency to expand—or disintegrate—when exposed to moisture, these engineered layers boast a level of built-in resistance. That said, it is not recommended for use in bathrooms, as the increased likelihood of spills and splashes would prove detrimental.
Installation & Finish
Engineered wood can be installed via a variety of methods, using glue, staples, nails, or by being “clicked” together with tongues and grooves. In certain instances, this type of flooring can also be “floated,” whereby one large piece is broken down into several smaller components, to be pieced together and laid down on an existing surface.
Generally prefinished with UV-cured polyurethane, this increases the durability of engineered flooring, and—with proper maintenance—can lead to a lifespan of 25 years, or more. When remodeling, the thickness can be easily modified to match the existing flooring levels in a neighboring room.
While many prefer the expertise of a professional when tackling home improvement projects, an additional perk of engineered flooring is that it is fairly simple to install on your own. DIY boards are available prefinished, though these typically run higher than unfinished, solid pieces. The number of layers, as well, contributes to overall cost; however, this can be made up on the labor front.
If you’re in the market for flooring, whether for the kitchen, living or dining area—or even your basement—Burt Lumber carries a wide selection of options to choose from. Before you begin your renovation project, contact Burt Lumber for a free consultation, today.