Over the last decade, one of the finest developments in home remodeling products is engineered hardwood flooring. Not only is this product just as beautiful and durable as traditional solid wood flooring, it is also more versatile and far more affordable. In addition, engineered floors are easier and less expensive to install.
The genius of engineered hardwood flooring is that it is a combination product. The platform – the bulk of the flooring – is comprised of multiple layers of glue and wood oriented in various directions, typically in cross-ply layers. This substrate is then covered with a veneer of hardwood to give it the illusion of being solid hardwood.
In actuality, the resulting “engineered” wood is stronger, more durable and has a longer lifespan that a solid wood product. Additionally, engineered products are much more structurally stable than solid wood so they can be used in places like basements and pool houses where solid wood floors would eventually buckle and become unusable.
Engineered wood – due to its multi-layer construction – is also far more flexible and strain-resistant. It is ideal for applications in older structures where the subfloor shifts due to the wind or other external factors. It short, it can “go with the flow” and be less likely to warp when the building moves. It is also the floor of choice for rooms where radiant heat systems will be installed.
The installation of engineered hardwood floors is also easier than that of solid ones. It can be nailed, stapled or glued and tolerates a wider range of environments.
Available in a variety of widths, lengths and colors, engineered hardwood floors can mimic the look of any solid wood floor, since it is wood. The individual planks can be from three to seven inches in width and are available in thicknesses up to ¾ of an inch.
The veneers itself can be almost any of the most exotic hardwoods and the newest innovation include the technique finishes, like hand-scraped and wire-brushed. Engineered woods are as aesthetically pleasing as any traditional solid wood floor and provide far more in the way of functionality.