When it comes to wood flooring, solid-wood flooring is the top favorite. But due to significant improvement in engineered-wood flooring over recent years, they too have gained popularity among home owners.
The best part of engineered-wood floors is that they are comparatively more affordable and easier to install than solid-wood floors. Adding to the advantage, engineered-wood floors can also be laid down below grade (below ground level) and on any type of subfloor.
How is Engineered-Wood Flooring Made?
Engineered-wood flooring is made by bonding 2 or more layers of thin hardwood with less costly wood backing such as plywood, MDF (medium-density fiberboard), hardboard, or particleboard. This reduces the amount to hardwood required and hence reduces the cost.
Thickness of the wear layer (hardwood veneer) generally ranges from 0.6 to 5 millimeters. However, always try to buy the thickest affordable top layer because thickness of the top layer determines how many times you will be able to sand down your floor and what will be the durability of your floor or how long your floor will last. Point to be noted here is that you cannot sand engineered-wood floors as many number of times and you can with solid-wood floors, still if the engineered-wood is a good product, you can do the sanding process at least two to three times over the lifetime of the floor.
Beneath this veneer layer are several layers of cheaper woods (usually plywood). These layers of “plys” lay on top of each other with the grain pattern alternating direction with each layer. This construction gives engineered-wood flooring its strength and stability, making the floor less susceptible to the expansion and shrinkage caused due to fluctuations in temperature and humidity. These qualities of engineered-wood flooring allow it to be installed in areas where solid-wood flooring typically cannot be applied, such as over concrete subfloors or in basements.
How to install engineered-wood flooring
Engineered-wood planks and strips have tongues and grooves (tabs and slots) on their long, vertical sides that allow them to fit together. Engineered-wood floors can be “floated”. This means that they can be installed without gluing or nailing down the planks or strips to the subfloor. “Click-together” engineered-floor products allow you to snap them in place without the need for adhesive between strips or planks. These are also called “lock-and-fold” floors.
How to Install a Glue-Down Engineered Hardwood Floor
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