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Engineered wood flooring comprises several layers of wood stuck together under extremely high pressures. This method of construction helps in creating wooden flooring, which boasts higher strength and durability compared to a solid wooden floor.
Most solid flooring has a tendency to shrink as well as expand. This happens because of room humidity changes, changing room temperature as well as moisture in the sub-floor, because of the unique construction method engineered flooring isn't prone to these problems.
This flooring comprises three different layers - bottom layer, middle core and top layer. The mid core is made from plywood, softwood or even HDF layers and the top layer is hardwood. Its thickness ranges between 0.7 mm to around 6 mm.
Engineered flooring has several advantages, the biggest being easy installation. Using the floating floor method, easy click installation is possible with these products, which is probably the fastest and easiest option. Alternatively tongue and grooves can be stuck together which is an advantage when you are installing your floor on a concrete subfloor. Even floors of thicknesses having 22 mm can provide proper structure and these are nailed into the battens or joists.
Because the top layer of engineered floors is real wood there is no compromise in terms of style. When fitted it would take a flooring expert to tell an engineered from a solid wood floor. The top layer varies in thickness from 0.7 mm to around 6 mm and can be finished with a matt lacquer, satin lacquer, oiled, brushed and lacquered, brushed and oiled or age distressed finish.
Learn how to treat engineered flooring with different finishes using these maintenance guides:
Additionally, because engineered wood flooring has a real wood top layer it's possible to treat the boards to create your desired appearance. You can change the shade of the boards by staining or bleaching to make them darker or lighter respectively. You can also age engineered wood to give the impression that the floor has been in place for longer than it has, and to help create a traditional, classic atmosphere.
A variety of materials such as hardwood, softwood or HDF can be used for the mid core section, designed to help the flooring retain its shape and stability. There is an additional layer of stabilizing agents provided, of 1 mm thickness. This provides stability and prevents flooring movement because of changes in temperature or humidity.
Most hardwood layers are not refinished, however, this does not mean that it can't be done. The possibility of refinishing depends on the hardwood thickness.
Using high quality techniques all damaged regions are eliminated professionally. As much as 0.5mm thickness can be removed with sanding. However, the upper wear layer should never reduce more than 0.5 mm as you risk damaging your floor.
Underfloor heating can restrict the type of flooring that you choose because many products should not be installed with it, however with engineered flooring it is possible to have underfloor heating as long as certain guidelines are followed.
Proper heat distribution layers are required so that the temperature is even across the floor and the surface temperature should not rise above 27 degrees celsius. The entire floor needs to be heated and your floor construction should include a vapour barrier close to the wood. There must not be any gaps between the underlying surface and the wood but if you are unsure about anything concerning engineered flooring and underfloor heating then please check our advice centre at the top of the page.
Some form of underlay must always be used on an engineered click system product, it supports the joints and prolongs the life of your flooring.
Underlay should also be used if you choose to float a tongue and grooved engineered floor by glueing the joints, if you are fully glueing down then no underlay should be used.
If you are pinning the floor with nails or screws then underlay can be used if you want to, for instance if you want Sound Insulation in the room, or the Leveling Properties, which underlay can provide as well as the Damp Proof flooring membrane (required for a concrete sub-floor).
If you do chose to use underlay then be aware that you will need underlay designed for Use with underfloor Heating.
Submitted by Jason Ashby, UKFD