Trees are natures bounty and have always been used by humanity to build houses, make tools, and also for flooring. Scientific engineering has found a way to make timber floors that have greater strength, beauty, and are more durable. Flooring that is made by using various engineering technologies has managed to combine technology with the highly desirable features present in natural wood. Engineered timber flooring gives many advantages over solid wood flooring and allows this flooring to be superior in performance.
Wooden floors have always added elegance to homes and are considered sophisticated floors that give any home a mark of distinction. They add significantly to the decor and can set the tone for the rest of the house when they are used in living rooms. Solid wood does have some limitations and can warp when it becomes wet or when it is exposed to the rays of the sun. The hardest of woods can be dented or marked by sharp objects, and the most common of these are the stiletto high heels worn by women. Hardwood floors are expensive and do require them to be protected and preserved with frequent attention to their care.
Engineered timber flooring, on the other hand, will provide a floor with all the advantages of a hardwood floor, while greatly diminishing any of its disadvantages. Engineered flooring goes through a process where a natural hardwood layer is glued to underlying plywood that then gives the finished product the reinforcement needed to give it added strength. The plywood layer is sandwiched between the top hardwood layer and another base layer of plywood. The grains in the plywood are made to run in opposite directions, and this greatly adds to the strength of such engineered flooring. The use of plywood whose manufacture goes a long way in conserving forest resources makes this flooring more appealing as nothing is wasted when it is used.
Engineered timber flooring can be made to resemble the hardwoods that are the most popular with homeowners, such as hickory, oak, walnut, maple, and bamboo. The top hardwood layer is prefinished and therefore does not require any other sealing. You can use an engineered floor as soon as it is installed. Once the floor has been used for several years, homeowners often decide to sand and polish it to make it look fresh again. Engineered floors take quickly to this redoing, as the top layer is of hardwood. This action can be done a number of times depending on the thickness of the hardwood layer.
Engineered wooden floors are less expensive than solid wooden floorboards, as the overall thickness is made up of cheaper plywoods that add great strength to the boards. They are easily installed on subfloors made of concrete. In case of solid hardwood, it is often necessary to create a plywood layer over concrete before installation of the floor.
Solid wooden floors are made up of timbers that are high value, like oak or walnut, which are not only slow growing but also relatively rare, which significantly adds to their cost. Thicknesses of these boards have to be a minimum of 3/4 inch to 1 inch so that there will be the least warping. The hardwood layers used in engineered timber flooring are a little over a quarter inch thick at the most, and this leads to considerable savings in these rare resources. Costlier varieties of engineered floors will have top layers that can be as much as 5/8 of an inch. The rest of the thickness is made of plywood, which as we all know is made from cheaper timber that grows quickly, and most plywood manufacturers are using timber from captive plantations thus completely negating any impact of their action on the depletion of natural resources. These engineered products come with guarantees that can vary from a minimum of 10 years to a maximum of 30 years.
The top hardwood layers in engineered wooden floors are prefinished at the time of manufacture and go through as many as nine finish coats. You can get brushed finishes that highlight the grain texture of the hardwood layer or other finishes that will give the floor a vintage look. Surface treatments can vary from matt lacquers that will give a very natural look to the floor or oils that will accentuate the wood grain. These oil finishes require more care and maintenance. Satin lacquers will increase the durability of the wooden surface while adding a sheen to it.
When you order engineered wooden flooring make sure you add at least 10 percent more than the calculated area of the room, as there will be some wastage, as boards come in fixed widths and lengths that may not exactly match your room, and will require some cutting to size. As these boards are engineered it is easy to make them with tongue and groove joints that make them very easy to assemble and put together on the floor.
Engineered wooden floors first made their appearance in the 1960s and the technology of manufacturing them has led to constant improvement in both performance and appearance and now make for a substantial percentage of the wooden flooring now being instaled in homes. The factory finish on modern-day engineered floors will outlast the finish applied to solid wood floors. This pre-finish also allows the floors to be put to use as soon as they are installed.
Maintenance of these floors is fairly easy and besides the usual vacuuming and brooming can be easily mopped with cleaners for wood floors and microfibre cloth. While you can use them in basements, you must be sure that there is no dampness, as even though these boards will have a reduced tendency to expand and contract, they will still suffer. The lesser thickness of these boards makes them ideal for use in areas where there is a lower ceiling height.
Costs of engineered flooring can vary greatly depending on the top wear layer thickness, the number of plies in the core, and the number of finish coats.