Hardwood is undeniably a desirable, adaptable, and attractive material for your flooring. For centuries, this floor covering has been used both in residential and commercial settings. Despite these benefits, solid hardwood comes with its own drawbacks and challenges that tend to be burdensome for many homeowners. Luckily, there is an incredible alternative to solid hardwood: engineered wood. And many builders or even your Baltimore county Maryland flooring installer have a lot of good things to say about this flooring material. But what is engineered wood flooring? What makes it distinct from solid hardwood and how can it be used in your flooring makeover? In this blog, we will tell you everything you should know about engineered wood flooring.
Differences Between Solid Hardwood and Engineered Wood
Solid hardwood is a homogeneous material. Simply put, it is a solid piece of wood that has no layers. What you see on top is the same all the way through the bottom. Engineered wood, on the other hand, is made from multi-layers of plywood and hardwood. The construction and positioning of each layer of wood in a different direction have made engineered wood flooring dimensionally stable and more durable than solid hardwood.
The creation of engineered wood addresses some pain points of solid hardwood. First, with bigger trees becoming more difficult to source, wood manufacturers find it hard to produce big logs to mill natural hardwood floorboards. Hardwood species normally take 25 to 100 years to fully mature, which makes the harvest cycle longer. Using engineered wood, it only uses a thin layer of solid hardwood. Second, hardwood flooring hates water, so even a minor amount of moisture or flooding could cause warping or swelling. It makes it nearly impossible to restore a hardwood floorboard with water damage. With engineered wood, the construction prevents the flooring from warping in moisture-prone areas. This makes installation possible in most grade levels of the house. Third, solid hardwood isn’t DIY-friendly. Even if you ask your Baltimore county Maryland flooring installer, hardwood flooring is difficult to install. Engineered wood, on the other hand, comes in a click-lock system for an easier installation process. Lastly, engineered wood is much easier to maintain and less expensive than solid hardwood without affecting the appeal and feel of natural hardwood.
Construction and Manufacturing
A high-quality engineered wood flooring has 3 to 12 multiple ply layers of backing (core layers). These layers are cross layered, glued down, and pressed together to create a stable piece of a floorboard. The core layers come from either soft plywood type or solid hardwood. On top of these inner core layers is a thin layer of hardwood or the hardwood veneer wear layer. The thickness of the inner core layer and veneer may vary depending on the design and the discretion of the manufacturer. The construction detail plays a huge role in the durability, stability, and appearance of the engineered wood.
The wear layer (or top veneer layer) has a thickness of 3/16” as compared to the industry standard of 1/12” to 1/8”. It offers the same thickness of sanding as the solid flooring. The inner core layers are typically high-quality plywood. The thickness ranges from 3/8” to 1/2”. These inner core layers provide dimensional strength and stability. They also demonstrate greater resilience to moisture and water than solid hardwood.
Click Lock System
The click lock engineered wood flooring is gaining popularity because of its easy-to-install feature. Floorboards with click lock systems have groove systems and special tongue that lock together to create a tight seam. It is like a floating floor that does not require adhesion during installation. You can just simply lay a cork or foam underlayment before installing it. You can install a click locking engineered wood flooring in most grade levels of your home for as long as the subfloor is leveled and secured. For recommendations, you can speak to your Baltimore county Maryland flooring installer.
Dimension and Thickness
Most engineered wood floors available in the market are mass-produced. You can see varying lengths, widths, and thicknesses. Even the finishes and colors are different as they come in bulk or a large batch, rather than made-to-order. Typically, the thickness of an engineered wood flooring ranges between 3/8” and 3/4”. But, if you want to get a durable floorboard, you may want to choose a wood flooring that has an overall thickness of 5/8” or 3/4”. The thickness of the inner core should be 9-ply or 11-ply, while the veneer must be 3/16”.
The average length of most engineered wood flooring is 3 feet, while the average width is 3 inches. The width of an engineered wood flooring comes in different options: all 6” wide, all 8” wide, all 10” wide, 6-10” wide, or random widths. Depending on the collection, you can also choose a different length. Make sure to discuss this with the manufacturer or your Baltimore county Maryland flooring installer, so you can have varying options to make the right choice.
Engineered wood flooring can last for about 20 to 100 years in the right conditions. However, the key to its increased moisture tolerance and stability comes from how this flooring material is manufactured and produced. Three key factors play an important role in the longevity of your wood flooring. These factors include the quality of the flooring, the thickness of the veneer and inner core layers, and the way you maintain the floor. With all these things considered, you can guarantee that your wood flooring can last for decades.
Styles and Wood Species
Whatever type or style of natural hardwood flooring you prefer, there will likely be a counterpart of engineered wood floor. From rustic to contemporary and everything in between, engineered wood flooring can offer a wide array of style and design for your home. You have wood species such as hickory, maple, bamboo, or oak for the top veneer layer. Multiple finishes are available as well, including matte, semi-gloss, or high-gloss wood finish. And when it comes to texture, you can add visual interest to your wood flooring with surface effects like distressed, wire-brushed, or hand scraped. It is better to discuss your design ideas with a Baltimore county Maryland flooring installer for samples and recommendations.
Engineered wood flooring is normally less expensive than solid hardwood. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of engineered wood flooring ranges from $3 to $13 per square foot. The value varies depending on the type of wood, quality of the material, and style you prefer. The installation cost of engineered wood is also cheaper than hardwood.
Unlike hardwood flooring, the installation of an engineered wood flooring is DIY-friendly. In installing an engineered wood flooring, you need to measure the board, then cut and glue down the boards to the subfloor or glue the boards’ edges together on the foam pad in case of a floating floor. Except over the carpet, you can install your engineered wood flooring over almost any surface such as tile, vinyl, concrete slab, hardwood, and more. Just make sure that the surface is flat and well-secured. If you will glue it down over a concrete slab, keep in mind that the slab is dry, and the moisture content should not exceed 4%. However, if you think that a DIY project is not the kind of task that you’re good at, you can always ask help from your Baltimore county Maryland flooring installer.
Engineered Wood Flooring and Moisture
When it comes to resistance to moisture and water, engineered wood flooring is better than hardwood flooring. It can stand up against water for a certain period of time. However, it does not necessarily mean that engineered wood flooring is the best choice for moisture-prone or high humid areas. Since it has a hardwood component on it, this floor covering is still susceptible to warping, especially with prolonged exposure to water or moisture. That is why it works best in areas such as the living room, hallways, or bedrooms. It can work moderately well in areas like the basement, bathroom, or kitchen.
Contact Your Baltimore County Maryland Flooring Installer Today
Looking to install engineered wood flooring in your home? The best way to start the journey for your next flooring project is to discuss your design ideas and options with a Baltimore county Maryland flooring installer. Don’t hesitate to call us today, so we can transform your design ideas into a more structured reality!