I have recently beganworking with a client helping them select flooring for their living room and entryway. At our second meeting, I brought samples of engineered flooring. They looked at me as though I had just turned purple with green spots. They had no clue what engineered flooring was. As a designer, I feel it is my job to not only provide suggestions for materials, but be able to educate my clients as well. So, I thought that I should educate all of you as well!!!
Engineered wood floors are built having multiple thin ply layers that are glued together. The inner cores are generally either a hardwood and/or soft plywood type of material, which incorporates the tongue and groove system. The top thicker hardwood veneer wear layer is glued on top surface of the core and is available in almost any hardwood species.
Engineered wood floors are slightly more resistant to higher moisture levels than solid wood flooring, which adds to their appeal to use in damp basements, or in tropical regions of the country. Engineered flooring can be direct glued-down over a concrete slab above or below grade, or stapled down over a wood subfloor. Engineered flooring can be installed on any grade level.
Engineered wood floors come in a wide variety of domestic and exotic hardwood species. Some brands of engineered flooring have a thin wear layer that can only be re-coated and cannot be sanded and refinished new again once they get worn. They have an average lifespan of between 30 - 40 years depending on traffic.
Some engineered wood floors have a very thick wear layer. These floors can be sanded and refinished new again, up to 4-5 times if needed, which adds to their appeal. These thicker wear layers should last 60 - 100 years before needing replacement depending on the amount of wear and tear the floor will get.
Most engineered wood floors are recommended to be glued down, but some brands can also be stapled to a wood sub floor. They can also be installed over most (flat) ceramic tile, concrete slabs, vinyl flooring, providing these floorings are secured well to the sub floor and that any surface wax or glaze is completely removed and the surface is roughened up so as to provide adhesion for the glue. Because of the better stability of engineered flooring than Solid wood flooring, they can also be installed where there is slightly higher moisture content like over slabs and in tropical regions of the country.
I could probably go on and on about engineered flooring. There are quite a few flooring manufacturers that offer engineered flooring. It looks just like real hardwood, but wears much better. They are easy to install and great for people with pets and kids. I hope this helps clear up some of the questions you might have had about engineered flooring!!