Engineered wood flooring: what is it and what benefits does it offer?

Engineered wood consists of cross ply layers of hardwood glued together, with a top layer of natural wood veneer. The wood is cut into planks of various widths and lengths to restore the natural appearance of cut timber grains.

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The top layer, or veneer, is called the wear layer, and is available in different thicknesses to allow for future sanding. It is available in various designs for aesthetic effect. This layer may be oiled or varnished, brushed or scraped, to suit the customer’s requirements. A thicker wear layer mean that the floor may be sanded more times for refurbishment and finish changes, and so it ensures that the floor lasts longer before any surface damage occurs.

Application

Engineered wood flooring is generally less costly than natural timbers that have a similar appearance and it has the advantage that it is more flexible for expansion and contraction and is more tolerant of humidity, making for better durability. These properties also mean that engineered flooring is suitable for installation in kitchens and bathrooms, which need a higher moisture tolerance and surface durability to prevent cupping and warping.

Whilst many people choose to have their floor installed by professionals, a competent DIY enthusiast could fit an engineered floor in a weekend.

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Solid wood flooring is generally not recommended on underfloor heating, on account of the cyclical expansion and contraction that occurs when the heating switches on and off. On the other hand, engineered wood flooring is more flexible and so is compatible with under floor heating. One proviso is that the planks are not too thick. Generally, a thickness less than 14mm is recommended in an underfloor heating application.

Floor loading

The British Standard, BS 6399 part 1, provides minimum requirements for safe load bearing capacities in different building applications and flooring duties. Reference to this standard will allow the flooring supplier (such as Wood Floor Warehouse https://www.woodfloorwarehouse.ie/engineered-flooring.html) to ensure that your proposed application is suitable for the material they offer.

Added value

In recent years, engineered wood flooring has gained equal status to many natural wood flooring alternatives as a material of choice, owing to its lower cost, durability, versatility and resilience to daily use, especially in home environments. Many home buyers find that the natural appeal of a real wood finish adds value to a home.

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