Engineered hardwood is now the most commonly used type of wood flooring in the US but do you know what engineered wood truly is? We are going to cover all things engineered wood below to help you better understand what engineered wood is an why it is so popular.
Timeline of Wood Flooring
- Pre-1800s- Earth and unfinished wood flooring are the most common
- 1800s- Wood flooring begins to be produced in mass quantities. Wood flooring is called wood carpet because wood is glued to cotton cloth and sold as a roll.
- Early 1900s- Tongue and groove wood flooring becomes the most popular domestic flooring
- 1920s- Linoleum and cork enter the market as a lower-maintenance alternative to wood
- After WWII- Carpet is introduced and is an inexpensive flooring alternative
- 1950s-1980s- Carpet increases in popularity and wood flooring decrease in popularity rapidly
- 1960s- Engineered wood is introduced to the market
- 1980-Recent years- Wood becomes more popular again and now other flooring materials like vinyl, tile and even some carpets mimic the look of wood because it is so sought after
- 2014- Engineered wood makes up 54% of the United States flooring market. Of this number 31% is in new construction and 58% is used in remodeling.
Benefits of Engineered Wood-
Engineered wood offers stability. Stability in flooring refers to the floors ability to resist environmental changes within the home. The multiple and cross-directional layers that make up engineered wood help to make it more stable. If you live in an extreme environment like arid climates or humid climates you may want to consider an engineered wood.
Engineered wood is also very versatile. It can work in basements or other more damp spaces that solid wood would not be a suitable flooring for. Engineered wood can be installed a few different ways- fastened with nails or staples, glued down or floating. Solid wood cannot be floated.
How is Engineered Wood Flooring Made?
Every engineered flooring product is different but they all contain the same basic elements. They are constructed of anywhere from three to eleven layers, sometimes even more. The thickness of an engineered product varies based on the manufacturer from 3/8th to 3/4th inch thick. The layers of the wood are bonded together.
The top layer is often called the wear layer and it is what gives the wood its final appearance. The species of the top layer is what is used to describe the product. The core layers can be a variety of different species or even made from composite. The bottom layer or backing of the engineered wood can also be a different species or may be the same as the top layer of wood.
Like a solid plank wood flooring it can be possible to sand and refinish engineered wood. The wear layer needs to be a certain thickness for this to be possible. Solid hardwood can be sanded more times than an engineered product. Also some of the design elements may be lost during the refinished process.
Sawn, Rotary Peel or Sliced Cuts-
When adding the wear layer to the wood there are a few different ways to create the layer. Sawn, rotary peel or sliced cuts are how the veneer or top layer is created and each has different characteristics.
Sawn engineered wood is created by sawing straight through a log cutting the wood into wear lyers. Sawn-faced veneers are cut from blocks of wood and show similar characteristics to solid wood flooring.
Rotary-peeled engineered wood is created by putting a log on a large lathe and turning it against a sharp blade. The log spins while the whole log is turned into a veneer. The product produces less waste by using the entire log. Rotary peeled engineered wood has a distinct grain pattern and it is often more pronouced than a sawn or sliced veneer. Also because of how the wood is cut the pattern can repeat on wide sheets.
Sliced engineered wood is created by cutting a log into cants or squares. A cant is then drawn across and angled blade to create veneers. The appearance of the sliced veneer is similar to a sawn veneer and has some of the same color and characteristics of solid wood flooring. The slicing is limited on thickness and the process can stress the fibers in the wood.
The durability of any wood flooring product varies based on the care you use when using it. Keeping water off the floor, taking shoes off inside and keeping dogs nails trimmed are all parts of keeping your flooring beautiful for years to come.