Engineered timber is a testament to modern flooring, perfectly balancing the natural beauty of hardwood with the strength of an engineered core. The intricate layering of these floorboards doesn’t just enhance their stability; it opens up a world of design possibilities, with colours, tones, and textures to complement any interior decor.
But, like any important design decision, you need to have all the details before you can make the right choice for your space. This comprehensive guide has all your questions answered, even the ones you might not have thought to ask yet. We’ll explore the essence of engineered timber floors, their nuanced character compared to other flooring types, and how they can transform your space into a reflection of your own personal style.
Engineered timber flooring is a multi-layered plank floor. The top layer is made from the finest natural timber, while the layers underneath are typically plywood or hardwood. It’s constructed by bonding the layers together under immense pressure to create a solid and visually stunning floor plank. This advanced structure makes the flooring more stable while allowing the innate character and charm of the wood to shine through.
It also offers a sophisticated yet environmentally conscious choice for contemporary spaces. By utilising faster-growing, less expensive materials for the underlying layers, these floors have a lower impact on your budget and on the environment. The production process uses all parts of the tree, greatly reducing the amount of waste.
Standard boards are around 190mm wide, but the highly stable construction of engineered timber flooring means that the planks can be made into much larger sizes of up to 350mm wide. This is ideal for bigger spaces, adding a sense of grandeur and openness to any room.
The planks can be simply and seamlessly floated over an underlay, securely glued to a subfloor, or even clicked together in an interlocking fashion. The stability of this type of flooring allows it to be installed over any type of subfloor. They can also be safely used with your underfloor heating.
This flexibility makes them much quicker and easier to install, ensuring minimal disruption while achieving an elegant finish. If you opt for the prefinished floor, the process can take as little as 1-2 days.
With proper care, periodic recoating and refinishing, your engineered wood floors can last between 10 to 15 years. Owing to the innovative installation techniques, your floors can also be repaired plank by plank rather than having to replace the whole floor. So, when a plank gets damaged or scratched, it can be replaced, ensuring your floor’s aesthetic and structural integrity are maintained over time.
Yes, engineered hardwood can be refinished, breathing new life into your space and evolving to suit your style as it changes. In saying that, the number of times you can refinish your floors will depend on the thickness of the top layer of wood. The thicker the top layer, the more times the floor can be refinished.
While not entirely waterproof, engineered wood does offer better moisture resistance than traditional hardwood and other flooring materials. The distinction lies in its unique construction, making your floors less prone to warping and swelling. This enhanced resilience is a quality that makes engineered floors suitable for kitchens, bathrooms, and basements, where you wouldn’t typically find wood floors.
The defining characteristic of engineered timber floors is their stability and resilience, making them stand out in the flooring market. You get all the benefits of a hardwood floor without the costly price tag and intensive upkeep. So, how do they measure up against other flooring materials?
When compared with traditional solid hardwood, you’ll find notable advantages in engineered timber. The installation process is much more straightforward, and its structural stability is superior. Installation is quick, and you won’t have to wait to move your furniture in after the floor has been installed, as you do with hardwood.
While offering an enduring and authentic charm, hardwood flooring is more vulnerable to fluctuating temperatures, requiring more maintenance effort. That’s where engineered wood emerges as a practical, cost-effective alternative that still provides the organic beauty and warmth of wood flooring.
Laminate flooring, while more affordable, isn’t as durable in terms of its resistance to wear. While it may seem more budget-friendly upfront, its shorter lifespan means an earlier replacement. Engineered timber, on the other hand, has a more luxurious look and feel, making it an investment that will elevate the aesthetic appeal of your property and also contribute to its value.
Vinyl flooring is often chosen for its cost-effectiveness and water resistance, but it lacks the longevity and premium feel of engineered wood. While you can opt for wood-look vinyl floors, they can’t match the genuine aesthetic of real wood. Maintenance-wise, engineered timber demands more careful attention to avoid damage from spills and scratches, while vinyl is more forgiving. Vinyl is the better choice for environments that need waterproof and stain-resistant floors.
Choosing the best type of engineered hardwood floor starts with the needs of your space and your personal preferences. Consider the level of foot traffic in the area. High-traffic zones need a more robust, durable wood species. For larger spaces, the size of the planks – both in width and thickness – is a crucial consideration, as it impacts the floor’s overall aesthetics and structural integrity. Then, there are the environmental factors, such as humidity levels and potential exposure to moisture.
The diversity of wood species available for engineered flooring offers a spectrum of unique grain patterns, hues, and colour variations, adding to the overall character of your floor. Some species are inherently harder and more resilient than others, determining the floor’s durability and refinishing potential.
Maintaining your floors is relatively straightforward, but it’s essential to tailor your cleaning and care routine to the specific type of coating on your floors. While most will require regular sweeping and mopping, understanding the different finishes can significantly prolong the life and appearance of your flooring.
The cleaners and products you use and how often they need to be maintained will depend on the coating. Generally, there are three types of coating:
Water-based PU coatings: The most common choice, offering a tough and durable surface with relatively easy maintenance. To care for these surfaces, regular cleaning with a mild detergent is all you need. It’s crucial to avoid excessive water and harsh chemicals, as these can damage the finish and integrity of your flooring.
Oil finishes: This finish demands more attention but rewards you with a deeply natural, authentic look akin to raw, unfinished timber. Maintenance involves periodic re-oiling to sustain the floor’s protective layer and visual appeal.
Hardwax oils: A middle ground between the first two, this finish is increasingly popular in prefinished engineered floors. They require regular cleaning and occasional reapplication of maintenance oils to keep them in prime condition.
Each coating manufacturer will offer more specific maintenance recommendations, so it’s best to follow these guidelines for optimal care. These tailored guidelines are designed to ensure that your flooring stays in the best condition, preserving its beauty and functionality for years to come.
Generally, in Australia, the material cost falls between $60 and $150 per m2. This variance is largely dependent on the specific wood species chosen and the thickness of the planks, each contributing to the overall aesthetic and durability of the flooring. Then, the Installation costs typically range from $50 to $80 per m2. It’s important to consider both material and installation costs when you’re budgeting for your project.
When you want personalised guidance or a detailed quote, the team at Market Timbers will help you find the ideal engineered timber flooring that harmoniously blends aesthetic elegance, enduring durability, and functional practicality. Get in touch today.
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