Engineered hardwood flooring: the benefits
Engineered hardwood flooring provides tremendous advantages over traditional solid wood floors.
Offering more installation options, engineered hardwood flooring making fitting quicker and easier. Furthermore, it is more stable, ensuring a better-looking, longer-lasting floor. And it makes better use of slow-growth species whilst providing an enormous range of finishes, which gives you a far, far wider choice.
The effect of humidity on engineered hardwood flooring
No matter how well seasoned, oiled, waxed or lacquered it may be, wood remains hydroscopic. So when humidity is high it will absorb some of that moisture, swell and rise or ‘crown’ in the middle. When that same piece of wood is placed in a dry environment – as happens when using heating or air conditioning – it will release its moisture, dry out and shrink. Lay pieces of wood side by side in a confined space and these changes in humidity can result in them bowing, warping, cupping or gapping over time. This is what can happen with a solid wood floor, wall or ceiling.
Engineered hardwood flooring is, quite simply, wood which consists of more than one layer. Bonding each layer together so that the grain runs at right angles makes it virtually impossible for the board to swell or shrink, meaning that when it is laid it is highly unlikely to warp and gap, or otherwise suffer in the same way as solid wood.
The top layer of engineered wood, otherwise known as the wear layer or lamella, is obviously solid wood, and it may be anything from 2mm to 6mm thick. The thicker this top layer, the more times it may be sanded and refinished to remove any signs of wear. A 6mm wear layer is similar to the depth above the tongue in a traditional, solid wood tongue and groove plank, meaning that it will wear equally as well.
Stable planks mean bigger and better planks
In addition to ensuring a better long-term fit, the exceptional stability offered by engineered hardwood flooring has a number of other advantages.
Firstly it means that much wider planks may be produced, and there is little doubt that wider planks result in a more spectacular floor. (180mm) 7″ wide engineered planks are quite standard, and at Havwoods (260mm) 10″ widths are far from unusual. Indeed, in our Hand Grade collection, our most sublime engineered hardwood flooring range, the widest planks measure an enormous (480mm) 19″.
The greater stability also means that most engineered hardwood floors can be fitted over underfloor heating, unlike the majority of solid wood floors. Furthermore, they offer the option of employing easier methods of installation: engineered planks may be glued down or laid floating, which means that they are attached to each other, instead of to the sub-floor over which they are laid.
Engineered hardwood offers the widest selection of finishes
Most engineered hardwood flooring comes pre-finished. This means that many hundreds of different effects can be achieved though techniques like smoking, sawing, brushing and planing, as well as the use of stains and oils, and it reduces the need to use exotic, often endangered species to achieve specific effects. Indeed, at Havwoods, over 90% of our engineered hardwood is oak, although you may find it to be almost unrecognisable in many of our products.
Of course, not only does pre-finishing offer you a far greater aesthetic choice, it means that both you and your client know exactly what to expect. And obviously it makes your floor much quicker and easier to install.
Engineered hardwood is our flooring of choice
Havwoods have been supplying architects and specifiers with wood that works for over 40 years. Wood that works is more than a catchy line, it’s our philosophy: we will only supply wood flooring which we are confident is properly suited to the task for which it is specified. In many areas of the world we are so convinced of the benefits of engineered hardwood that this is the only flooring construction we will supply.