The fundamental construction of engineered timber flooring
Engineered wood flooring is made up of anything between 3 and 12 layers of ply. These layers of ply are cross layered, then glued and pressed together to make a really strong bond. It is this bonded core board that produces engineered timber flooring so quite different from solid wood flooring.
Once the center board has been cut into floor planks, the tongue and groove are made. In effect, the more layers of ply a board has, generally speaking the tougher it will be. For instance, a 3 ply board will have a single core plank, a base layer and a real wood top coating or lamella. The problem with many 3-ply engineered hardwood flooring solutions is the core plank, where the tongue and groove fit together could become brittle, so generally speaking, if your budget permits, you need to pick a multi-layer board.
How can it be created?
As previously mentioned, the center plank of engineered timber floors consists of bonding layers and layers of design collectively. Subsequently, the upper layer is inserted and it is that coating that actually makes the result look so great. There are two unique techniques to acquire the upper layer of wood for engineered timber flooring. The first is known as slicing or sawing and another is known as rotary cutting.
A rotary cut veneer was created by efficiently cutting a thin coating from all of the way across the tree back to make a veneer'sheet'. After the veneers are cut from the tree, then they are then secured on to the peak of the center board to present its complete and exceptionally good looks. Even though a sliced or sawn veneer provides a more natural appearance to the timber, if it is a dramatic grain result you're searching for, then you may be best to select a rotary cut.
Why is it so special?
The thing that makes engineered wood floors so unique is the strength of its center board. As you can imagine, anything that is composed of a blend of different layers of ply which are bonded together with a solid adhesive will be stronger than just one piece of timber of the identical thickness. This is important since it affects the equilibrium of this ground.
This means that the floor's ability to stay consistent even when conditions change. Imagine a situation where temperature and moisture levels are varying, a situation that is particularly common from the likes of baths and kitchens. In such circumstances, solid wood expands and contracts significantly but engineered timber flooring is a lot less affected.
Why is this significant? In effect, excessive contraction and expansion can play havoc with floors, producing unsightly and draughty gaps as well as significantly increasing the risk of cupping and, or bowing. As a result of the way engineered timber flooring is made, the center board stays stable, in all but very intense problems.
What do different thicknesses mean?
In the same way as solid wood flooring, engineered hardwood flooring is made in various thicknesses. Nevertheless, there are effectively two elements to the thickness of an engineered wood flooring plank; the general board thickness and the upper coating or lamella thickness.
So, when you see a figure like 18/5 or 14/3, this usually means that the boards are 18mm and 14mm thick respectively with corresponding high layers of 5mm and 3mm. When you are picking the depth of your board, you have to be careful to pick the best alternative for your project. Generally speaking, a plank of more than 14mm thick is not advocated over under floor heating and a board of less than 18mm thick is not acceptable for structural projects. All of that said, when it comes to exact technical details, you're best to call on the advice of an expert each time.
What about species, finishes and grades?
Regardless of what species, finish or grade you want, you should be able to track it down in engineered timber flooring, the same way you can in solid. This signifies is that engineered wood flooring is far from any sort of compromise -- it actually is win:win!