Atlas Custom Hardwood Flooring | Blog
Why Engineered Hardwood Floors?
When the term "hardwood flooring" is used, generally it is referring to planks that are about ¾-inch thick and 2 ¼-inches wide. Most hardwood flooring today is manufactured from the classic type hardwoods (red oak, white oak, maple, cherry, white ash, hickory or pecan trees) or the newer exotic hardwoods, such as Brazilian Cherry, Tigerwood, Ipe, African Teak, etc. The three typical types of hardwood flooring are:
SOLID HARDWOOD FLOORING - Traditional solid hardwood floors are made of a single piece of wood with tongue and groove sides and the most popular in hardwood floor installation. Most come unfinished, but there are many pre-finished ¾" solid wood floors. It is very sensitive to moisture, so it is usually nailed down to a wooden sub-floor and not recommended for use directly over a concrete slab or below ground level (such as a floodable basement).
Solid wood floors can be refinished or recoated multiple times throughout their lifespan. It is a natural product, so hardwood flooring expands and contracts in response to seasonal changes in moisture.
ENGINEERED HARDWOOD FLOORING - Engineered wood flooring has become extremely popular because it can be used in areas where solid hardwood is not recommended. It is constructed of 3 or more thin sheets or "plies" of wood laminated together to create a single plank. The plies are laid in opposite directions (called cross-ply) during construction. This creates a floor that is stable and not affected by changes in moisture and temperature like traditional solid wood floors.
LONGSTRIP HARDWOOD FLOORING – Long-strip hardwood floors are engineered floors with the top layer comprised of several thinner wood plies glued together to make a single plank. The center core of a longstrip plank is usually a softer wood material and is used to make the tongue and groove.
The top layer can be almost any hardwood species and is comprised of smaller individual pieces that are generally laid in two or three rows. What's great about this is it gives the illusion of a board that is 2 or 3 narrow planks wide and several planks long. Each plank appears to be an entire pre-assembled section.
Benefits of Engineered Hardwood Flooring:
Engineered hardwood floors are incredibly versatile and can be installed just about anywhere, including over wood sub-floors, concrete slabs and in the basement. They can be nailed, stapled or glued down and even floated in certain circumstances.
- Engineered wood floors are comprised of several layers, so the top layer can be a completely different wood than the lower layers. They can be found in many different types of wood whether it be domestic or exotic hardwoods.
Engineered hardwood flooring often goes on sale- waiting to find a good sale can save you up to 30% of the cost. Manufacturers frequently change their product line up- so engineered hardwood flooring is put on clearance which can lead to a savings of up to 50%
Engineered hardwood floors use half as many trees as traditional solid hardwood flooring.
The outermost layer is a hardwood veneer, a thin slice of wood (less than 1/8") of whatever species you desire. The inner layers are made of plywood, high density fiberboard, or hardwood. The core layers make the product more stable than regular hardwood, while the outer veneer surface adds beauty and authenticity. Engineered hardwood is different than a hardwood laminate because the surface is made of real wood. While laminate has a core of high density fiberboard, its surface is basically a picture of wood (or any other material, for that matter). Laminate is less expensive than engineered and solid hardwood, but has a different look and feel due to its make-up.
Veneer is sliced rather than cut with a saw. This process produces no sawdust, which means that all of the tree's wood can be used. The sawdust produced making hardwood boards is wasted wood (and adds up to a significant amount).
Its important to not that hardwood trees grow much more slowly than the trees used to make engineered flooring cores. Because more surface area is produced making veneer, installing traditional hardwood uses many times the amount of slow growing tree. This makes the replenishing time much longer.
Engineered hardwood flooring is designed to reduce the moisture problems associated with conventional hardwood. Its layers block moisture and provide added stability to your floor. Engineered flooring will not swell or warp, making it very low maintenance.
With so many flooring options out there- its important to choose the flooring material which suits your needs, lifestyle and budget best. If your heart is set on a beautiful hardwood floor- then consider Engineered Hardwood today.