Veneer Choices for Engineered Wood Floors

Engineered wood floors are available in tongue and groove strips that can be stapled and/or glued to the subfloor. Due to new technology, “long plank ” veneers are designed for use in “floating” installations below grade or over concrete, where boards are glued to each other and not attached to the subfloor. This type installation allows shifting to protect against moisture and humidity.

Engineered wood floor finishes are plentiful, available in just about every domestic hardwood and softwood as well as in most exotic woods, where fabulous savings can be captured. Unless specially ordered, all engineered wood floors arrive prefinished.

The thickness of the outer layer and the quality of the plies or substrate is usually reflected in the length of the warranty. The specifics of the veneer should be a consideration. Engineered wood floors with veneer thickness of 1/12 inch cannot and should not be sanded and/or refinished. On the other hand, if the top layer is ¼ inch or more, the floor can accommodate three or more sanding and refinishing treatments during the life span.

This means the stain can be changed or preserved and will add years of life to the floor. It is strongly recommended that the engineered floor of choice have at least three layers of cross-stacked substrate. Five plies will be that much more stable, even if the wear layer is not thick.

Remember that the top layer or “wear layer” is all about achieving the look, feel and warmth you desire. The substrate is about stability and preservation.

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How Engineered Wood Floors are Made

Many consumers are put off by the term “engineered’ when, in reality, the effect should be directly opposite. When it comes to wood floors, “engineered” stands for the future. Engineered wood floors are not made from solid hardwood but they are genuine wood floors replete with warmth, beauty and integrity.

The bonded inner plies or layers make engineered wood floors more stable, more durable, more sustainable and more cost-effective than solid wood floors. Engineered wood floors usually consist of at least three plies that are glued together in cross-grain construction. This construction helps explain the superior stability of the surface compared to solid hardwood floors as the plies add protection against buckling, cupping gapping or twisting. The manufacturing process has made engineered floor the most popular choice for below grade flooring for many years.

The outside layer is a hardwood veneer, a thin cut of the wood selected by the consumer to serve as the floor’s surface. Exterior veneer choices range from softwoods to hardwoods and can even include exotic woods.

The top layer gives the engineered floor the look and feel of authentic hardwood. Inner layers or plies can be made from a number of products including plywood, high density fiberboard or hardwood. These core layers promote stability but also help resist the moisture and humidity to which solid wood floors can be susceptible.

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