What Is Engineered Flooring?
If you are planning on installing timber flooring in your new home or in an old house during a renovation, you may come across engineered flooring or engineered oak flooring.
To better understand engineered flooring, you need to first understand timber flooring and what existed before engineered flooring was introduced.
This is a floor that is installed by arranging accurately cut planks of hardwood on your subfloor. A sealant is applied afterwards to protect the floor from scratches or water damage.
The planks of wood should come from hardwood trees because they are more durable than planks from softwood trees. Planks from softwood trees wear out quickly under high foot traffic, meaning you need to change them out frequently; this can be costly.
Natural/Solid Hardwood Flooring
This was the first approach to hardwood flooring; it is still in use. Thick planks of wood are cut from a hardwood tree, treated to protect them from insect attack and various forms of damage and then laid on your subfloor.
The most common hardwood tree is an oak tree; this is because it grows in the majority of climates. That is why you mostly come across the phrase "oak flooring" compared to other hardwood trees.
Hardwood planks of wood are also expensive; this is mostly attributed to the fact that hardwood trees grow slowly.
Engineered Hardwood Flooring
After using natural/solid hardwood flooring for some time, it was discovered that high humidity environments affected the flooring. This flooring also needs to be installed, leaving spaces for expansion during hot temperatures. Additionally, the natural/solid hardwood flooring was expensive and still is for the majority of homeowners.
The solution to these problems is engineered flooring/engineered hardwood flooring. It was discovered that if a thinner hardwood plank was used and thickened using plywood, it would not only solve expansion and humidity problems, but the flooring would be cheaper and more affordable to a majority.
Note that because an engineered hardwood floor is thinner than a natural/solid hardwood floor, it may not have as many sanding opportunities as the latter. Sanding is done to remove the upper surface that is usually damaged by scratches or dents from heavy and pointed furniture. That is why engineered hardwood flooring is installed in low-traffic rooms.
An Important Tip
Even if you have some handyman skills, hire a professional hardwood floor installer. You don't want to go about anything the wrong way because it may end up costing you much more. This applies to whether you are installing engineered hardwood or natural/ solid hardwood flooring.