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Engineered Wood Floors 101
Oftentimes consumers can confuse engineered wood floors with laminate or veneer. However, engineered wood floors are just like solid wood floors, only with added strength and sturdiness thanks to the multiple layering method used to make them. Here we answer top questions from homeowners:
What is engineered hardwood?
Engineered hardwood floors are made up of layers. The top layer is 100 percent natural wood, which comes in a variety of species such as Oak, Maple or Walnut. The bottom layer is also wood. In the middle, a core built from five to seven layers of plywood crisscross in different directions. For those who are very conscious of indoor quality and worried about emissions, know that, overall, the engineered flooring sold in the United States is extremely safe. Two things you can look for are for statements from: CARB (California Air Resource Board) or programs based on California Section 03150.
Where can I install engineered hardwood floors?
Because the grain of each layer runs in different directions (unlike solid hardwood which is a continuous chunk of wood), engineered wood flooring is very durable and sturdy, and is also less susceptible to shrinking and expanding with changes in temperature and humidity. This makes engineered wood an excellent choice for areas where solid hardwood cannot be installed, like in basements, over concrete floors or over radiant heating systems.
Engineered wood flooring also works well in kitchens bathrooms where light moisture might be present.
How long do engineered floors last?
When installed by a professional, engineered wood can be re-finished four to five times in its lifetime. This is better for the environment and uses four times less of each log than solid hardwood floors. If durability concerns are around moisture, humidity or temperature, engineered is the way to go. Tip: Look for an engineered flooring that is made from high-quality plywood over soft. The lower-grade kinds are more likely to delaminate. Also note that most warranties have two main parts: structural and finish. Always be sure to review these carefully to ensure that your homeowners choose the best floor for their home and are happy with the results.