Engineered Hardwood uses one of several processes to build the wood so it has a natural wood appearance yet has the advantages of engineered, or manufactured wood. These advantages are:
- Dimensional Stability – All natural wood has a tendency to swell and shrink as a reaction to seasonal changes in ambient humidity. This varies by species; for example, white oak is more dimensionally stable than red oak is. Engineered wood is less susceptible to this tendency than almost all natural woods.
- Warping, Cupping, Twisting – While well-dried wood has some resistance to additional shape changes, extreme humidity or water damage can still cause these reactions. Engineered wood resists these.
- Economical – Because engineered hardwood uses less of the expensive hardwood per square foot of coverage, it costs less than solid hardwood of the same species.
- Environment – If one oak tree can provide 400 square feet of hardwood flooring, the same tree could provide 1200 – 1600 square feet of engineered wood flooring, conserving our hardwood trees.
How Is Engineered Hardwood Made?
Thin layers of less-attractive wood are glued together, with adjoining layers running their grain pattern at 90 degrees from the layers surrounding it, giving dimensional stability that solid wood lacks. The top layer, also known as the wear layer or lamella, uses a layer of hardwood for appearance. The thickness of the lamella is an important factor in the expected longevity of the floor.
How is Engineered Hardwood Flooring Installed?
Engineered hardwood flooring, like solid hardwood flooring, is produced with tongue and groove edges. Solid hardwood must be installed over a wooden subfloor, where engineered flooring (excepting the newer Click Lock style) can be glued down directly to dry concrete or stapled to a wooden subfloor. It can be installed over existing wood flooring, tile, or vinyl.