Engineered or solid wood?

When it comes to adding warmth and elegance to a room, nothing beats the beauty of a natural hardwood floor. If you're thinking about installing hardwood flooring in your home, we will help you to learn the differences between solid wood and engineered wood floors.
Posted on22-01-2016 by 1336
Engineered or solid wood?

Also this is one of the top questions which should be considered when deciding for a wooden floor.

The answer: engineered, the proper one.

But first we should know how each one is manufactured. It is nothing complicated to understand how a board or parquet batten is made of hardwood. When approaching the engineered there is more.
The engineered wood is actually composed of one hardwood top layer and an underneath structural layer. And the heart of the engineered wood is the structural layer which should be a ply type (the proper one). Also there is a “lighter” alternative which I would avoid if possible.

Proper engineered hardwood floor
Proper type of engineered board
Weak type of engineered board uniclick
Weak type of engineered board uniclick

As you may see there is a noticeable and important difference between the two sections. And there is no “engineering” degree required to understand that the one on the left is the proper engineered.
It matters? Of course it does because in the long term a proper built board will cope with all the inevitable stresses. So from now on when we refer to engineered wood we are talking only about the ply type (the proper one).
The ply structure is manufactured from multiple thin layers of natural wood overlapped each on top of the other with the grains disposed in 90 degrees. In between special resins are applied after which with a high vertical pressure the board is bonded together.

Now back to engineered compared to hardwood. Seen from above there is no difference between them. So what makes the difference is the inside structure.

1. We live in a humid climate. There is a considerable humidity in the air and a high risk of damp infiltration from under. These are the enemies for wood. A piece of hardwood will absorb water vapours much rapidly than a piece of engineered wood which due to its ply type structure will resist much longer.

2. Due to the high demand for natural wood the european resources have declined and the remaining ones are getting more expensive. So now is actually more cost effective to manufacture in europe engineered wood than hardwood when regarding to oak, for example. This because the amount of oak required for an engineered board is much lower than for hardwood (the ply substrate is manufactured from other less expensive species). So having said these you can imagine that all the affordable hardwood available nowadays it is not European.
Still there are a few genuine European manufacturers of hardwood which value this precious wood and keep the high standard. But this comes with a matching price.

3. Due to reasons explained above (rising price of row european wood) is difficult to obtain quality big hardwood boards (the thickness has to be increased). Here the engineered board can reach incredible sizes. The biggest board that I installed was 450mm X 4000mm. Quite huge! (you don’t want to damage a board of 1.8sqm)

4. The engineered board is less prone to expand as it is holded in place by the ply structure.

5. The engineered is incomparable more flexible and stronger than the hardwood. Glued down on a wooden sub-floor will actually strengthen the sub-floor.

The main problem is not particularly the place where the product is coming from but we should ask ourselves how it can be possible to have overseas manufactured wood at lower prices than the local (continental) one.

The answer is plain and simple: cut the production costs through

  •     improperly dried wood,
  •     inaccurate cutting machines and poorly maintained
  •     mixing species (for engineered)
  •     using softwood made to look hardwood
  •     poorly finishes
  •     using banned chemicals which can trigger allergies
  •     chaotically forest cutting
  •     underpaid workers
  •     and more, more, and more.



A more in depth approach to these matters can be found here:
Ted Todd - Engineered Wood Floors Comparison
Ted Todd - Solid Wood Floors Comparison

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(11)

Fitting engineered boards - Dark coloured: there is an elegant sophistication that dark engineered floors display. Whether it’s the mystery behind the dark colour or it’s the dramatic feeling they bring to interiors, dark engineered boards are well esteemed. Many are thinking that they can make a room feel too gloomy and cold but dark hardwood floors can actually make your home feel brighter...

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Fitting engineered boards - Light coloured: like the walls, a floor is a blank canvas and can set the design tone for the rest of the room. When choosing a light engineered flooring get inspired from your current ambiance as furniture, walls. Light engineered boards will create the feeling of a larger space and according to the amount of the natural light supplied over the floor...

Fitting wide oak boards engineered floors Fitting wide oak boards engineered floors Fitting wide oak boards engineered floors
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Fitting wide oak boards engineered: the wider and longer the board the more beautiful becomes your floor. It is an impressive sight as it stretches majestically across the expanse of the surface. These boards are proportionately long as well, and they hold a secret: a minimum number of joints created into your floor.

(4)

Engineered Herringbone parquet flooring: Herringbone is one of the first parquet pattern emerged in Europe and also is the most common. Parquet is the floor of floors among wooden floors, mainly because of it’s cost and the craftsmanship needed for installation. Also because of the final exceptional look. Engineered Herringbone parquet battens come in different sizes.

(0)

Engineered chevron flooring parquet installation: chevron engineered flooring parquet (known as Hungarian point) is made from battens cut at various angles. A true classic European pattern. The angle difference changes the way the light reflects over the floor. The chevron engineered parquet is the second most preferred pattern after herringbone.

(5)

Fitting Natural Look Solid Wood Floors: there’s a unique elegance in a natural look solid wood floor. The beauty of natural wood lies in its infinite and peculiar variations in knots, grains and colour. Through these, once completed, your floor will be matchless. It's quite common to have special knots and splits and these blemishes add character!

(6)

Fitting Smoked Oak Solid Wood Floorssmoked oak or fumed oak is obtained through ammonia fuming. This is wood finishing process that darkens wood and makes the grain pattern more visible. The wood is exposed to fumes from a strong chemical solution which reacts with the tannins in the wood. The best results are obtained with white oak as it contains a high level of tannins.

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