You would find it difficult to tell the difference between engineered or solid hardwood flooring once they have been installed, but they are very different types of flooring. They are both made from real hardwood, but in very different ways. The main difference between engineered and solid wood flooring is in the construction of the planks. This, in turn, affects how, when and where they can be used. The choice between engineered or solid usually depends upon your preference and also where and how you want the flooring to be fitted.
What is engineered hardwood flooring?
Engineered hardwood flooring is made up of multiple layers of wood. The surface of the flooring plank is called a wear layer. This is the part that you can see once the floor has been fitted. The wear layer is your chosen species of wood. For example, Oak or Walnut, and is usually between 2.5mm – 6mm in thickness. The rest of the plank of flooring is made up of base layers. This gives additional strength and stability to the flooring. So, for example, the total thickness of your flooring plank may be 18mm but only 4mm of that may be real hardwood and the other 14mm will be the base layers. There are usually multiple base layers made from either plywood, Hevea or Eucalyptus which are fixed to the wear layer at a 90 degree angle to give dimensional stability to the flooring plank.
Engineered hardwood can either have a click fitting system or a tongue and groove profile, and can also be found in parquet blocks. Plank widths, thicknesses and lengths can vary depending on your requirements. There are also different finishes to choose from including: oiled, lacquered, brushed and unfinished. If you choose an unfinished floor, then you will need to protect it with an oil or lacquer once it has been installed.
Engineered hardwood flooring should not be mistaken for laminate flooring. Engineered hardwood actually has a top layer of real hardwood, whereas laminate flooring is a high quality picture of wooden flooring laminated onto high density fibreboard (HDF), not wood.
A recently completed Floor Sanding and Block Re-instatement project for a client in the beautiful Thames Ditton
The client was Renovating the rooms, and one of the Main living rooms needed an area re-instating with matching Pitch Pine Parquet Wood Blocks, which were acquired and supplied by the Client.
We had to re-instate approx 7m2 of Pitch Pine Parquet Blocks to a voided area of the Lounge [The area had once been a Pantry] unfortunately the Blocks acquired by the Client were slightly narrower than the existing Blocks causing large gaps between the newly laid Parquet.
This was overcome with [a lot of] mass gap filling to the re-instated area.
There were lots of loose blocks to the main body of the floor which we of course re-fixed back into position, making the whole area sound and ready for decades of family use.
The whole living room floor was then given the full sand and seal treatment, and after much toil and hard work the area was completely transformed.
And if we say so ourselves the finished floor looks fantastic.
Any hardwood floor can be a great investment as it adds a natural, timeless appeal to your property, along with warmth and luxury. Engineered hardwood flooring is a fantastic alternative to solid hardwood flooring as it has more dimensional strength, can be less costly, and it is very difficult to distinguish between the two once they have been installed.
Engineered wood flooring is constructed in such a way that it provides better stability and resistance to variations in temperature and moisture. The exciting part is that it looks like solid wood flooring as the top layer is real, solid wood but it then has a plywood base construction underneath. The top layer of hardwood runs perpendicular to the plywood base, which creates the strength and stability of the flooring by allowing it to react to changes in temperature and humidity, meaning that it can be used with underfloor heating and in rooms that significantly change in temperature, such as conservatories and utility rooms.
The main advantages of engineered hardwood flooring are that it is:
- Less costly than solid hardwood flooring
- Difficult to tell apart from solid wood flooring once installed
- Has a real layer of wood on top (unlike laminate flooring)
- More resistant to fluctuations in temperature and humidity than solid wood flooring
- A stable product so can be installed in a variety of ways to suit your property and preference, e.g. loose laid over an underlay
- Compatible with underfloor heating
- Mostly found with a click fitting system, making it quick and easy to install
- Available in different wood species, styles, colours, finishes and plank widths
- The top layer (wear layer) can be sanded and re-finished if necessary
- Engineered hardwood flooring should not be confused with laminate flooring, which is only a picture of wood flooring laminated onto a base layer.