What is a Wear Layer?

November 18, 2018

A wear layer (also known in the industry as a lamella) is the area of real solid timber above the joint system (e.g. tongue and groove or locking joint system) on a timber flooring or wall covering product.

On both engineered an solid timber flooring, the wear layer determines how far you can sand back the floor - if you sand beyond the wear layer you risk interfering with the joint system which holds the product together. A thicker wear layer (e.g. 6mm) will provide more opportunities to sand back the product, whereas a thinner wear layer (e.g. 2mm) will provide a limited opportunity to sand back the product.

Products with thicker wear layers are usually more expensive than those with thinner wear layers as they use more real solid timber resource.

On an engineered product, the wear layer should be a certain proportion to the thickness of the backing. A good ratio to look for is approx. 1/3 of the product's thickness made up of the wear layer and 2/3 of the products thickness made up of the backing. Beware of products where the thickness of the wear layer makes up more than 1/3 of the product thickness, as it is likely the backing may not be able to provide enough strength to stabilize a wear layer of that thickness. If the wear layer makes up a lesser proportion of the thickness, the product should be safe. 

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