Engineering's Bad Rap

Engineered hardwood flooring is often misunderstood by those not involved with or around hardwood flooring on a day to day basis.  Unlike a solid wood floor, an engineered (multi-ply) floor consists of at least two types of different wood products adhered together. Typically the top layer (what you see when installed) is a highly desired species of wood, like European Oak, while the bottom substrate layer (what you don’t see when installed) is a fast-growing species like birch or fir.

The misconception often tends to be that engineered hardwood flooring is somehow inferior to solid hardwood flooring when in fact, the exact opposite is true! Engineered hardwood flooring is more advantageous in two big ways.

REASON NO. 1 ENGINEERED FLOORING IS BETTER

An engineered floor is architecturally superior to solid hardwood flooring. It was developed to address the performance issues often experienced when a solid hardwood floor is exposed to humidity or variations in seasonal environments and/or when the flooring is more than 5” in width. In these cases, there is a dramatically increased risk of the solid hardwood floor cupping, warping and gapping. There are ways of installing solid hardwood to limit this possibility, but they add unnecessary costs vs. using an engineered hardwood floor.  It is for this reason that engineered hardwood flooring is recommended for width widths, radiant heat, below grade applications and for climates with high humidity.

REASON NO. 2 ENGINEERED FLOORING IS BETTER

Using engineered hardwood flooring is a more environmentally conscious choice than solid hardwood flooring. While European Oak is a renewable resource it takes decades of growth before it can be lumbered, processed and milled to produce a ¾” solid hardwood floor. By using only 4MM to 6MM of this valuable material, which gives us a comparable wear layer to a solid floor anyway, and combining it with material from a fast growing tree, like Baltic Birch, we are able to more sustainably harvest trees and are better able to preserve valuable slow growth forests. 

 

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