10 Reasons to Choose Engineered Timber Flooring Over Solid
Advice | September 30, 2020
Engineered timber flooring has many benefits over solid timber flooring, and for this reason it has widely become accepted in many countries as the preferred alternative to solid wood flooring.
- SUPERIOR STABILITY
The main advantage of engineered timber is that the base layers provide excellent stability, greatly preventing issues such as cupping, warping and shrinkage which are common with solid wood flooring in NZ's humid climate. Due to its superior stability, most engineered flooring is also compatible for use over under-floor heating (which is not advised with solid wood flooring).
- USES LESS PRECIOUS HARDWOOD RESOURCE
Engineered flooring also helps to conserve forests by using approximately one third of the amount of precious slow-growing hardwood timber resource, in comparison to solid wood flooring of the same dimensions. To explain this: With any wood floor, you can only sand back as far as the tongue, as this is what holds the flooring together. So with solid wood flooring, the beautiful hardwood timber that is located beneath the tongue area will never be seen and is essentially a waste.
- ACHIEVES THE LOOK (AND FEEL) OF A SOLID TIMBER FLOOR
With engineered flooring you achieve the same look as a solid wood floor and nobody would ever know the difference. Engineered flooring has a surface layer of real hardwood timber that is the ‘real deal’ - so just as with a solid wood floor, no two boards will be the same. As we all know, a natural wood floor is gorgeous to look at and can add considerable value (not to mention wow factor) to your home.
- AVAILABLE PRE-FINISHED
Engineered flooring is often available pre-finished from the factory in finishes such as lacquer, UV cured lacquer, hardwax oil and natural oil. Pre-finished engineered flooring can often be walked on as soon as the installation process is complete. In contrast to this, solid timber usually has to be sanded and then finished on site after it is installed which can be time-consuming, messy, noisy - and downright inconvenient!
- WIDER AND LONGER PLANKS AVAILABLE
Because of the superior stability of engineered timber flooring, it is available in longer and wider planks than what can safely be achieved with solid timber flooring.
- WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET
With solid timber flooring that has to be finished on site, the colour has to be mixed and applied manually. There is always a risk of the dye ratio being incorrect or the colour being applied too heavily (or not heavily enough), resulting in the floor turning out a different colour to what you expected. With engineered timber flooring you can choose from a range of pre-set colours which are applied in the factory using strict processes that ensure that each batch is consistent in colour. Note: some wood treatments such as reactive staining can cause increased colour variation between planks and within batches, this is to be expected for wood that has undergone this type of treatment.
- OPTIONS TO SUIT MOST BUDGETS
Nowadays engineered flooring is very comparable in price to solid timber flooring of equivalent thickness. Overall thickness, as well as wear layer thickness directly correlates to the price of engineered flooring - the thicker the product and wear layer the more expensive it will be. There is a wide range of thicknesses and wear layer options available on the market with options available to suit almost any budget. Wear layer species also affects the price, for example Oak is one of the most readily affordable available and species, whereas species like walnut in an equivalent thickness can be 2-3 times the price.
- CAN BE SANDED BACK LIKE A SOLID TIMBER FLOOR*
Once an engineered floor becomes old and worn it can usually be sanded back and re-finished, just like a solid timber floor. This enables you to go for a complete new colour and look if desired, without buying another whole floor. *Note: The exact number of times an engineered floor can be sanded back depends on the texture of the floor and the thickness of its wear layer, or 'lamella' - the area of solid timber above the tongue.
- FASTER TO INSTALL
Engineered flooring is almost always machined to a higher standard that solid timber flooring, with joint profiles for the most part being highly consistent. The boards are usually pretty straight too, and the tongue and grooves tend to maintain their size well due to being engineered so they do not swell with moisture. Therefore engineered boards usually fit together very smoothly. On the other hand, solid timber is often difficult to install due lower tolerances in the machining which leads to variances in joints profiles. Also boards can take up moisture, causing the joints to swell and/or causing bowing or cupping to the whole length of the board. This is not always the case but when it does happen it can make the floor very difficult and time-consuming to install.
- LESS INSTALLATION WASTAGE
With solid timber flooring, there is always a percentage of product that is not usable, due to cracks or loose knots, or other structural defects. In contrast to this, with engineered flooring you should be able to use every piece of flooring that you buy as it has been strictly graded and should have no structural defects or characteristics outside of the grade that you ordered.
Engineered timber flooring in a nutshell: A product that achieves the look of a solid wood floor but with greatly increased stability and other benefits!