Engineered wooden flooring is something that often goes under the radar when homeowners are looking to refit their floors. This is because it falls somewhere in between the two better known options, hardwood flooring and laminate flooring due to the fact that it is made entirely of wood, yet the desirable appearance of the surface layer exists only in the first few millimeters of its thickness like laminate flooring. Engineered flooring is made up of layers, typically a hardwood layer of oak, ash, walnut or even jatoba that's just a few millimeters thick that is then fixed to a base composed of a highly durable plywood made of a less valuable, yet just as fit for purpose wood species.
It's the 'best of both worlds' that has helped engineered flooring rise to popularity in recent years as despite the hardwood oak layer of the flooring can be as little as 2mm thick, the overall finish once fitted is actually identical to that of a solid oak floor.
However, this substitution of the hardwood base with a plywood core certainly is not cutting corners as a multiply core can be even stronger than solid oak. The method of construction of applying layer upon layer makes the overall structure incredibly durable in a similar way to yarns when combined form rope.
The multiply bases, that can often be made up of around 11 plywood layers make the surface more resistant to dents that can be left when heavy objects are dropped on the floor. The layers can compress and act as force absorbers minimizing any surface dents.
The hardwood surface layer of the floor is also often finished with products such as satin or matt lacquer that can make the hardwood scratch and scuff resistant in a similar way to a solid oak floor.
Not only can engineered wooden flooring be more durable than solid wood flooring, choosing engineered flooring can also help the environment. It's a misconception in the first place that furnishing your house with wood flooring or furniture is bad for the environment. When sustainably grown, wood acts as a carbon-store holding what would otherwise be CO2 in our atmosphere.
However, solid wood flooring is made entirely of a valuable timber such as oak or walnut that are either rare or slow growing. Engineered flooring features these desirable timber species on the surface, yet the bulk of the flooring is made up of less desirable but more readily available species such as pines and spruces that can be sustainably 'farmed' as they grow back relatively quickly.
Laminate flooring is the real evil when it comes to the environment as it's made almost entirely of plastics that will never naturally break down when the flooring is inevitably discarded.
However, laminate's one redeeming feature is of course it's price. It can cost as little as £ 6 sq.m, much less than wood flooring. But it lacks the look and feel of a hardwood floor as the timber effect is simply a printed picture of a wood texture and there are visible pattern repeats on the surface.
Engineered wooden flooring again falls somewhere in the middle. It can cost around a third less than a solid wood equivalent which can really help your home improvement project come in under budget. Yet its lower cost, you do not lose any of that wow factor 'a hardwood floor can give your home.