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What is Engineered Wood Flooring?
Engineered wood flooring consists of a hardwood veneer secured onto a multilayer substrate. The authentic wood veneer is fixed onto the base layer at a right angle using high heat and pressure conditions. This intelligent design provides dimensional stability to the overall board. The real wood veneer can be made from a variety of wood species, such as oak or mahogany, and can range in thickness from 2.5-6mm. A thicker wood layer will extend the lifespan of the engineered wood as it can be sanded and refinished to restore its original appearance. The remaining portion of the engineered wood plank is known as the base or core layer. The base layer can be made from several layers of plywood or high-density fibreboard to provide structural support to the overall plank.
At Floor Sanding, our experienced technicians can guide and support you through the process of selecting the most suitable engineered wood planks to the stains and finish. Our 25+ years of experience, allows us to provide expert advise and services so we can achieve the best results for your home.
Plywood vs High-Density Fibreboard
Plywood substrates can be manufactured as multi-ply or 3-ply engineered floorboards. The two largely differ in their total thickness, which ranges from 13-20mm for multi-ply and 12-18mm for 3-ply. The width of the board is subject to the thickness, whereby multi-ply engineered floorboards can go up to 350mm whereas 3-ply can only reach 200mm. High density fibreboard is composed of densely compressed wood fibre pulp and chips. This is a great option to consider due to its simple click fitting installation system as well as its innately sturdy nature.
Why Engineered Wood Flooring?
Engineered wood flooring is highly versatile and can be manufactured in virtually any wood specie, offering a greater choice of style. The presence of the hardwood veneer also allows for sanding and refinishing to restore the authentic appearance of the wood. Unlike solid hardwood flooring, engineered wood has a greater resilience to heat and moisture fluctuations. Owing to its intelligent multilayer design, shrinkage and expansion of the plank occurs at each individual layer. Subsequently, the flooring is less prone to becoming warped and disfigured. As such, engineered hardwood flooring can be installed in bathrooms, basements and any area with underfloor heating. In terms of cost, engineered wood can start from £19 per square meter and offers the high-quality elegant look of a solid wood floor finish.
Although engineered wood flooring can withstand varying heat and moisture conditions, it is important to remember that it is not waterproof. Care must be taken to prevent the floorboards from becoming saturated with water during cleaning or in the event of spillages. Another factor to keep in mind, is that not all engineered wood flooring is capable of being sanded and refinished. Cheap, poor quality engineered floorboards do not have a thick enough hardwood veneer thus sanding will only result in exposing the core layer of the plank.
Engineered wood floorboards can be fitted using a number of methods. Primarily, these are: click fitting, tongue and groove, nails and glue. The easiest installation process is the click and fit system. This involves locking a board into its opposing board by angling it and applying a downward pressure. An area is completed by fitting the boards row by row over any type of sub-flooring. Tongue and groove installation is similar in that the floorboards interlock to create a seamless finish. Nail and glue installations are slightly more technical and require professional handling. For an in-depth guide, refer to our Floorboard Fitting Guide.
Maintenance and Cleaning
In order to uphold the luxury, authentic appearance of engineered wood flooring, adequate cleaning and maintenance is required. A general rule of thumb is to avoid excessive moisture when cleaning. Gentle brushing, hoovering and mopping is acceptable. It is advisable to use a well-drained microfibre cloth/mop to minimise water saturation. For oil-based finishes, an appropriate oil wood floor soap is required to prevent the oil coating from wearing away. Lacquered finishes, on the other hand, can be cleaned using a regular wood floor cleaning detergent.
It is recommended to provide temperature conditions of 16-28°C and a relative air humidity of between 40-65%. Moreover, it is important to protect the flooring from abrasive materials and substances e.g., scouring pads, gravel and sand. Adding felt pads on furnishings, using an external doormat and ensuring items are not dragged against the floor, are a few ways of preventing scuffs and scratches. Fortunately, as mentioned above, good-quality engineered floorboards can be sanded and refinished with oil or lacquer.
Oiled flooring must be replenished with oil every 6-24 months to bolster the protection of the hardwood veneer. In the event of staining, a touch-up oil in the appropriate colour may be used to create a seamless finish. Lacquered finishes harden over time and this provide greater protection. As such, refinishing can be considered if and when the coating has worn off.