The Differences Between Engineered and Solid Wood
Engineered wood consists of three layers:
- Top Layer: Natural Hardwood + Finish (lacquer, oil etc.)
- Middle Layer: Natural Softwood
- Bottom Layer: Natural Softwood laid in the opposite direction to the middle layer
Engineered wood is renowned for its stability and ease of fitting. The 3 layers are sandwiched together to create a compact and stable board. Each layer is laid in the opposite direction in a ‘cross-ply’ construction as wood naturally expands across the width, and not the length of the board. This creates a plank that expands as little as possible and makes fitting easier. A small gap of 8-10mm is still required at the edge of the room however, to avoid expansion problems.
Engineered boards are easily fitted by gluing or locking each board together. They should be fitted on top of a thin underlay, not normally more than 4mm.
You will find that Engineered wood is available in various different designs and finishes. Here are some examples:
This is where the board has been divided into 3 strips to create a busier look. This design is normally the cheapest as all the wastage from a piece of wood can be used.
This is the same as the 3 strip but has only been divided into 2 strips.
This is where the board has been manufactured into 1 single plank of wood. This is most popular in larger rooms where a plank effect will open up the space.
Solid wood flooring is one of the most popular choices for residential and commercial use. It is by far the most commonly used product in America and most of Europe.
A solid wood plank is milled straight from the tree and not engineered into a constructed board, which gives a true feeling of a natural floor.
Solid boards are made from completely solid hardwood all the way through.
There are various widths and finishes available. A wider board i.e. 130mm, is more suitable for a larger room to open up the space.
Solid Wood flooring is available in various finishes such as lacquered, oiled and brushed etc. Here are some explanations.
Lacquered – In a general sense, lacquer is a clear or colored coating, that dries by solvent evaporation and often a curing process as well that produces a hard, durable finish, in any sheen level from ultra matte to high gloss and that can be further polished as required.A lacquered finish gives you a very durable, scratch resistant surface which is easy to maintain. Lacquer is the most popular choice for wood flooring.
Oiled – An oiled finish helps keep the natural feel of the wood. Whereas a lacquer covers over the wood grain, and oil sinks in leaving a natural looking and feeling floor. The general maintenance of this product is more involved as the product requires oiling every 6 – 12 months depending on the wear. This is more popular where people prefer to feel the grain and knots of the wood.
Brushed – This is where the planks are processed through a machine which harshly brushes the boards to bring back the natural grain of the wood. This is more popular where people prefer to feel the natural grain of the wood. An oiled treatment must be applied with this finish, as a lacquer will fill in the grain.