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WHAT IS ENGINEERED FLOORING?
Engineered floors were introduced in the 60’s and have continually grown in popularity. They are composed of multiple layers of wood laminated together in the form of a plank and once installed look just like solid hardwood. The top layer (veneer) is adhered to the core and usually pre-finished at the factory although unfinished options are also available. The veneer can be made from a wide variety of wood species which can vary in width, length and thickness. The vast variations of wood species, stain colour, gloss level and texture provide unlimited possibilities for the final look of an engineered floor.
HOW IS ENGINEERED FLOORING MADE?
The core of engineered flooring is usually made of plywood but can also be made from high density fibreboard (HDF). The HDF core option is usually preferable for a click style as it allows for a more uniform milling of the click system design. Plywood core construction uses multiple thin layers (plies) of wood laminated together and milled to form a tongue and groove system. The core is then topped with a veneer layer of real wood varying in thickness up to 4 mm or more. Usually the top veneer is finished with several coats of polyurethane to create the desired gloss level and to help protect the floor. Oil based finishes are also available and offer consumers the ability to replenish high traffic areas without completely sanding down and refinishing the entire floor.
BENEFITS OF ENGINEERED FLOORING.
Engineered floors are more structurally stable than solid hardwood floors and can be installed on grade, above grade and below grade. This increased stability is achieved by manufacturing the core using thin layers (plies) of wood that are laminated together and have a limited reaction to climatic change. The core is further stabilized due to equal pressure being exerted lengthwise and width-wise by running the plies perpendicular to each other. Engineered floors also offer more flexibility for installation and can be glued together, glued down, nailed down and even clicked together.
INSTALLING ENGINEERED FLOORING.
Installing any floor starts with proper sub-floor preparation and it is imperative to ensure that the substrate you are going over is solid, level and dry. Engineered floors can be installed over concrete or plywood sub-floors using various installation methods. Over concrete sub-floors engineered flooring can be glued together (floated) or glued down using specialty adhesives. Over plywood sub-floors it can be nailed down, floated or even glued directly to the plywood substrate. Some products can be clicked together over either sub-floor with the use of a floating floor underlay. Regardless of the installation method, it is important to allow for expansion and to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for acclimation and installation.