How does Engineered timber flooring differ from Solid timber flooring?
If you’re in the market for a new hardwood or softwood timber floor, one of the first stumbling blocks you’ll face is which type of timber flooring is best for you.
It can be quite a daunting prospect to see the sheer number of options available to the consumer in today’s market.
30 years ago, it was a simple choice. Solid timber flooring meant exactly that, and your options depended on a few species that were run from local or overseas mills.
The choice of board size, timber grading and species were options that were easy to make.
With the advances of technology and refined manufacturing processes, the engineered flooring board is now available and has become a popular option.
‘Engineered’ flooring just means the flooring board is constructed in layers. Where the ‘top wear layer’ (the area of timber above the tongue of the board) is generally made of solid timber, and the bottom layers are usually a combination of a pine / ply construction. The image below highlights the wear layer from the bottom layers.
(The term ‘Engineered’ flooring sometimes gets confused with ‘Laminate’ flooring. These are two different types of floors and should not be confused with each other. ‘Laminate’ flooring is usually a synthetic manufactured surface ‘ie plastic, rubber, vinyl’. ‘Laminate’ floors can be made to look like real timber floors, but are imitations – ‘Engineered’ on the other hand still retains a real layer of solid timber. The difference can be immediately felt when walking over the surface, the ‘laminate’ will have that plastic click clack feel when walking over, whereas the ‘engineered’ will still feel like a solid timber floor under foot)
The advantages of Engineered Timber Flooring
The layered construction increases stability of the timber floor. Solid timber flooring is always prone to movement, as timber is a hygroscopic material; it expands and contracts depending on the moisture levels. As timber is prone to movement, solid timber flooring widths would only span to 130mm wide (some species upto 180mm). Engineered flooring widths can be supplied upto 300mm spans (even wider in some instances).
The majority of engineered timber floors are also prefinished. This means the finish is already applied at the factory level during the manufacturing process. This removes the need to sand and finish on site after installation, which makes it a convenient building solution.
So once the prefinished engineered timber floor is installed, you can immediately walk over the top of the surface. There isn’t a need for waiting for the finish to dry, and there isn’t a lingering smell of polyurethane or lacquer drying (which can hang around for days).
Another big advantage is that engineered timber flooring can be direct stuck straight over a concrete slab (as long as it is a truly level, clean dry substrate). A handy attribute particularly if you’ve got height restrictions.
The most common species used in engineered timber flooring is American or European Oak. Market Timbers stocks a wide variety of finishes in this type of board construction.
Australian Species like Spotted Gum, Blackbutt, Tasmanian Oak are now also being made available in an engineered flooring board.
For any advice on what type of floor suits you, please contact our office.