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Engineered Hardwood Flooring
We are a hardwood flooring company in Tampa that specializes in matching the correct syle and species of wood flooring for our customers. Quite often we find that customers will refer to engineered flooring as "fake" or liken it to laminate flooring. Hopefully this will serve to make it easier to understand what engineered flooring really is.
Hardwood flooring that is "engineered" will possess multiple layers that are cris-crossed and bonded together using extreme heat and pressure. The numbers of layers can vary but are usually between 3-7 depending on the manufacturer and quality. The top layer will consist of a solid wood veneer of any species and will also vary in thickness. Below this layer is backed by multiple layers of plywood that when finished, reveals an engineered hardwood plank. Some manufacturers will use substrates from recycled wood fibers that are mixed with stone dust. This will improve durability and stability. Engineered Wood Flooring is often the logical choice when installing in parts of the home where the humidity level can vary and especially over a concrete floor. Since the floor is processed under heat and pressure, it is not as affected by humidity levels as a solid wood floor would be. Engineered wood flooring is also the better choice when installed over in floor heating systems.
There are also engineered wood planks that are now manufactured with a "clic" system just like laminate flooring. This enables a customer to be able to float a wood floor instead of gluing it to the subfloor.
In terms of cost savings and limiting heavy floor preparation, in almost any scenario, using engineered hardwood over solid hardwood flooring will save time and money, without sacrificing the aesthetic benefits and authenticity of a natural hardwood floor. If you're torn between wanting the authenticity of real hardwood and feeling wary of the often labor-intensive process of the installation, engineered wood floors will generally provide you with a compromise that gives the look while staying within budgetary constraints.
Solid Hardwood Flooring
There are a few key differences between solid hardwood flooring and all other types of floors described by the umbrella term 'hardwood.' Solid hardwood flooring is flooring made from one solid piece of lumber.
Solid wood planks are milled from a single piece of hardwood and covered with a thin, clear protective layer which often consists of aluminum oxide, ceramic or an acrylic monomer also known as urethane. Typically solid wood is ¾-inch thick, but also is available in 5/16", 3/8", 1/2" and 5/8". The thickness of solid wood planking enables it to be sanded and refinished over and over, throughout the life of the floor.
Solid hardwood has a great reputation for beauty and durability. A solid hardwood floor properly maintained can last 100 years. This would depend on species, use, care and how many coats of finish applied. Solid hardwood floors can be refinished multiple times over it's lifespan and add to it's appeal. Often, solid hardwood is installed in it's natural state and then "finished" after it is installed. Different color stains can be used to affect the color or multiple urethane coats can distinguish the woods natural color. Solid wood can also be purchased prefinished which has already been stained and coated with a protective urethane finish.
Solid wood will expand and contract accordingly with the home’s relative humidity level. The home’s interior relative humidity is optimal and desired to be between 45% and 65% all year round to prevent the wood from warping or other types of damage. There is a very wide array of wood species available. From oak and maple to black walnut and regional-specific choices like pecan, mesquite and many others including far more exotic species of hardwood from places like Brazil, Africa and elsewhere.
One of the major difference with solid wood flooring is that it is permanently nailed to the subfloor. Because of the expansion/contraction issues with a solid wood, installers will normally leave a gap between the wall and the floor to accommodate any expansion that might occur. This type of flooring should only installed in parts of the home that are above grade and only over plywood, wood or OSB subfloors.