Why is Engineered Wood Flooring Better than Solid Wood?
There is a common misconception among flooring consumers that solid wood flooring is somehow higher quality or a more luxurious choice than engineered wood flooring. But this idea is completely mistaken, it is actualy the other way round.
Engineered Wood Flooring was invented specifically to solve the problems that solid wood flooring faces. Engineered flooring is up to 75% more stable than solid wood flooring.
Due to being constructed solely from natural wood, solid wood flooring will warp and mishape under changing climates and temperatures, making it a particularly poor choice for the unpredictable UK climate. In contrast, engineered flooring is made to withstand extreme changes in temperature, one of the reasons it is so popular in the Scandinavia.
Constructed from layers of timber (typically pine and spruce), layed at right angles and compacted tightly together, engineered wood flooring is incredibly strong and durable but has the flexibility needed to withstand changes in temparerature.
Engineered or multi-layer floors are made up of three layers of wood, which are laid at right angles to each other. This construction gives the floor more dimensional stability in all humidity levels. And, because hardwood is only used in the surface layer, the construction is more eco-friendly too.
Wood is constantly striving for moisture balance – swellling and shrinking in three directions – a solid piece of wood is, by its very nature, unstable.
Five times more floors can be produced using multi-layer construction, as the middle and bottom layers are made from fast growing spruce and pine ‘softwood’, rather that slower growing hardwood. Solid floors use hardwood all the way through.
Using hardwood in these core layers wouldn’t offer any benefit. And, a wood floor can only be sanded down to its joint, in either case, so a solid construction doesn’t have a longer life or the ability to be sanded down more times.
The Brinell test determines hardness of wood by repeatedly pushing a steel ball into the floor, and then measuring the impression left by the ball. The smaller the impression, the greater the hardness.
But hardness should not be used as a buying criteria, because there are lots of other issues to consider. Kahrs lacquer and oil prefinishes provide a durable surface and protect the wood. Also, rustic grains offer greater camouflage – so a small mark on a clean grained ‘hard’ timber may be a lot more noticeable than a larger mark on a floor with lots of knots and colour variation.