Engineered Wood Flooring

Engineered wood flooring is a real wood floor manufactured by having multiple ply layers that are cross layered, glued and pressed together. The inner layers are made of either hardwood and/or soft plywood type of material and incorporate the tongue and groove system. The top hardwood veneer wear layer usually 1/16” to 1/8” thick is glued on top surface of the core and available in most hardwood species. The top layer is pre-finished, already sanded and sealed.

Engineered wood floors are more resistant to higher moisture levels than solid wood floors because the grain of each layer runs in different directions making the wood generally stable. This type of flooring is suitable for use in damp basements or in places having higher humidity levels as long as the moisture content does not exceed 4%.

Engineered wood floors are manufactured in two ways:

  1. Sliced/Sawn cut type of top surface layer shows the natural look of the wood and with finer graining.
  2. Rotary cut type of top surface wear layer is peeled off the log using big lathes. This type shows a dramatic wilder graining in the top layer of the wood floor.

It should be noted though that engineered wood floors can not be sanded more than 1-3 times since it is easy to gouge the planks revealing the plywood layers underneath. The average lifespan is between 30-40 years depending on traffic.

Unlike solid wood which must be nailed to a wood sub-floor, engineered wood can be installed in a different number of ways. For 3/8” thick planks, its thinness requires nailing over the wood subfloor to enhance stability. For ½” thick planks, they can be direct glued down over dry concrete slabs.

A popular method being used nowadays is the Click and Lock. Engineered hardwood now comes in pieces having tongue and groove on either side, which snap together to create a floating floor. A foam underlay is laid first on the subfloor and the first pieces are installed so that the next row is snapped into place, usually with a rubber mallet.