There are only two types of wooden floor on the market today. They are “Engineered Wooden Floors” and “Solid Wooden Floors”. Below we will take a look at the two types.
Engineered Wood Flooring is an umbrella term that covers any type of wooden floor that is made in a factory, or sometimes on site, that is not a solid floor. In other words engineered wood flooring will have a hardwood component or top layer that is bonded to a base layer or series of base layers to form a new board.
First of all let’s look at why we would want to produce engineered wood flooring.
What are the benefits of using an engineered wood floor?
Firstly engineered wood flooring is much more stable than solid wood flooring. Wood is a hygroscopic material, it will take on moisture when the environment around it is damp and will lose moisture when the environment around it is dry. This leads to the boards expanding, contracting, cupping and bowing depending on the source and amount of moisture present. The hardwood component or top layer of an engineered wood floor gains stability from the base layer making it a much more stable product. The increase in stability allows the engineered wood flooring to be fitted as a floating floor with no mechanical fixing and decreases the probability of the floor shrinking or expanding. Engineered floors are particularly suited to installations where under floor heating is being used.
Now let’s look at the different types of engineered wooden floors that are available.
The first type of engineered wood flooring we will look at are made up of three distinct layers.
The top or wear layer
The middle or core layer
The stabilizing base layer
With this type of engineered floor the grain of the wood on each layer runs at 90 degrees to the next layer. This is what gives the product its stability.
The second type of engineered wood flooring is a simpler two layer system sometimes referred to as a multilayer floor.
The top or wear layer
The plywood base layer
With this type of engineered wood floor the wear layer gets its stability from the plywood. Plywood is made up of lots of layers of wood each running at 90 degrees to the one above and below all bonded together.
Finally there is on site engineered wood flooring. This type is similar to the multi-layered engineered wooden floor but the floor is made on site by laying a plywood or chipboard subfloor overlaid with a 6mm-10mm solid overlay which is pinned and glued down. The overlay will gets its stability from the plywood or the chipboard.
Solid Wooden Floors
Solid wood is one piece of wood all the way through from top to bottom, regardless of width or length. Solid wood floors can come in various lengths, shapes, dimensions, etc. The width of a solid floor will determine how the wood flooring is referred to. Narrow boards up to 90mm in width are generally referred to as "strip flooring", whereas boards wider than 90mm are referred to as "plank flooring". The same applies to the thickness of the floor; 18mm-22mm thick floors are generally referred to as "solid floors", and the thinner 10mm-15mm floors as "overlays".
Overlays and Solid wood floors are fitted in different ways. Solid floors have a tongue and a groove on opposite sides and ends of the boards which means they can be secretly nailed down to a suitable wooden sub floor, it is never recommended to glue down solid palnk hardwood floors. Overlay floors are square shouldered and are exclusively face pinned and glued to a suitable wooden sub floor, usually plywood or chipboard.