Engineered wood flooring may be your ideal choice if you're looking for flooring that's a cross between hardwood and laminate. It's composed of a core layer that's made of plywood or hard density fibreboard and a top layer that's made of solid wood with a protective lacquer or oil finish. Engineered wood flooring comes in a variety of thicknesses and wood finishes, and although it's not as expensive as hardwood flooring, it is significantly more expensive than laminate flooring. However, it's durable and typically comes with a long guarantee of ten or more years.
Installing Engineered Wood Flooring
Engineered wood flooring can be purchased in click fitting or tongue in groove planks of varying widths. The fitting process is similar to that used to fit laminate flooring, but as it's more expensive than laminate, if you're not experienced at cutting flooring to fit around fixtures, you may wish to use a professional floor fitter. Due to the multi-layer construction of this type of flooring, it tends to be more robust than hardwood flooring, so it can be used in any room and is ideal for high traffic areas, such as hallways and living rooms. It's also suitable for high humidity areas, such as bathrooms, as the way it's constructed makes it less prone to swelling and movement than hardwood floors.
The fact that engineered wood flooring has a top layer of solid wood makes it a good choice for homes with underfloor heating, as it won't warp in the way laminate can. However, it will need to be allowed to acclimatise before being fixed into place. This simply means laying the planks and using a moisture metre to check they have a minimum reading before being glued into place. The wood will adjust and possibly shrink a little in response to the underfloor heating before being glued into place, which will prevent damage to the boards.
Maintaining Engineered Wood Flooring
Engineered wood flooring should never be allowed to get soaking wet, as the wood can become damaged. You may want to take this into consideration if you have young children who are prone to spilling drinks and don't tell you about their mess. This type of flooring can be scratched easily, so clean it with a soft, damp cloth or mop and use a wood floor cleaner that's suitable for real wood. The protective lacquer or oil finish will need to be renewed occasionally, depending on use, but they can simply be rubbed or sprayed onto the floor as needed. Lacquer protects from surface scratches, while wood oil highlights the grain and natural colour of the wood.
If you're considering engineered wood flooring for your next project, discuss your needs with flooring professional. They can recommend the thickness of the planks and the type of wood top layer and finish based on the intended use of your new flooring.
For more information on engineered flooring, consult a resource in your area.