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Engineered wood floors are often confused with laminate floors but they are actually very different. Engineered flooring comprises a real wood top layer and several thin layers of material stuck together under extremely high pressures. This method of construction creates a floor which boasts high strength and durability while keeping all the natural beauty of real wood in its surface layer.
Solid wood flooring has a tendency to shrink and expand. This happens because of room humidity changes, changing room temperature and moisture in the sub-floor. Because of its 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 HDF layers and the top layer is hardwood.
We sell a wide variety of engineered floors with different styles and specifications. Try our brand guide to help narrow down your search and find the perfect engineered floor for you.
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 on a concrete subfloor.
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 0.7mm to around 6mm and can be finished with a matt lacquer, satin lacquer, oiled, brushed and lacquered or brushed and oiled.
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 stabilising agents provided, of 1mm 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 can be eliminated professionally. As much as 0.5mm thickness can be removed with sanding. However, the upper wear layer should never be reduced to less than 0.5mm thick as you risk irreparable damage to 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 floor as 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 the floor then no underlay should be used.
If you are pinning the floor with nails or screws then underlay can be used but is not a necessity. An Underlay may help with leveling the subfloor, providing sound Insulation or protecting the floor from moisture with a Damp Proof Membrane (required for a concrete sub-floor).
If you do use an underlay make sure it is compatible with your underfloor heating.
Submitted by Jason Ashby, UKFD