Engineered wood flooring is an excellent alternative to other types of wood flooring. Thanks to its composition, engineered wood flooring is very hardwearing and resistant to changes of temperature. This makes it possible to use engineered wood flooring in conjunction with underfloor heating systems.
Engineered wood flooring is not suitable for use in bathrooms and utility areas.
Often confused with laminate or vinyl flooring, engineered wood flooring is currently one of the most popular solutions for consumers seeking wood flooring in their home. In contrast to laminate and vinyl, engineered wood flooring actually comprises of two or more layers of real wood, with the top layer being the visible material, and the bottom layer providing the stability and support. Engineered wood flooring has grown enormously in popularity due to being typically cheaper to purchase and install than solid wood flooring, whilst maintaining an almost identical quality and feel.
One consideration to make when considering purchasing engineered wood flooring is that it is not suitable for installation in bathrooms or utility areas due to the heavy amount of moisture that the flooring would be subject to. It is however, easy to install using either a click, or a tongue in groove system, and nowadays is available in many different high-quality styles and grades.
Before you purchase your engineered wood flooring solution, there are a number of useful things to consider. First of all, a very important consideration to make is the grade that the flooring is given by its manufacturers. The grade refers to the quality of the wood throughout its layers. For example, a board awarded the grade of AB will typically have a top layer of high quality wood (A grade), which is visible to the user, and a slightly lesser quality layer (B grade) which will provide stability to the plank and not be visible to the consumer.
Also important to consider when purchasing engineered wood flooring is the board size and the type of finish applied to the wood. Board sizes can vary significantly, and can make a big difference for some who is looking for a ’chunkier’ aesthetic, or on the other extreme, for someone seeking a finer, more tailored look to their flooring. Be sure to take into account the board size and the quantity of boards in a pack when you come to choosing a type, since this will affect the overall price of the project. It is easy to think a board is better value per-pack without realising the packs contains fewer boards.
Equally, when choosing a finish for your engineered wood flooring, make sure to choose carefully so that you’re not disappointed by the result, and you achieve the look you are going for. Popular finishes include ’Clear UV Lacquered’, ’Handscraped’, and ’Stained’. A handscraped board will offer more of a rustic, natural quality, while a clear UV lacquer will provide a more modern, light feel. Choosing a finish goes hand-in-hand with choosing a decor style for your flooring, and both options should complement the other. As well as the wood type offering differing colour tones and grains, it may also differ in strength to other types, and possess a different range of qualities. Some of the most popular types of wood used in engineered wood flooring include oak, bamboo, walnut, ash and beech.
Another important benefit to recognise when deciding whether to choose engineered wood flooring, is its suitability for use with underfloor heating systems. Some types of solid wood are not appropriate for use with underfloor heating as they can be considered less stable when subjected to significant changes in temperature and are likely to expand and contract more, causing movement in your flooring to occur. Engineered wood flooring doesn’t suffer from this problem since it’s a composite product and doesn’t react in the same way to temperature changes.
Is engineered wood flooring durable? The simple answer is yes; and the better you care for the floor, the longer it is likely to last. Maintenance on engineered wood flooring is simple to carry out, and can be as easy as applying a quality laminate and wood cleaner every so often. These specialist cleaners are neutral detergents that form a self-polishing film, highly resistant to wear and dirt that helps to both clean and protect the product. More intensive maintenance can also involve sanding down the surface or damaged parts of the wood. Bear in mind that there are only a limited number of times that manufacturer’s will recommend sanding down your engineered wood flooring. Typically, a professional sanding machine will remove anything from 0.25mm - 1mm off the top layer of the wood, and for the varieties of engineered wood that feature thinner veneer layers, this must be done rarely and with caution.