When looking to invest in long-lasting and attractive flooring in areas where humidity is an issue, one of the things to look out for is a flooring material that is likely to respond to environmental changes without losing any of its structural stability, or its attractiveness. A solution that many have discovered for versatility, attractiveness, and with a robust design noted for structural stability is engineered hardwood flooring.
Engineered Hardwood Flooring: Anatomy Lesson
Engineered hardwood flooring is made up of two main elements: the top layer and the core. The core is made up of stacked layers of medium or high-density fiberboard, or sometimes plywood, which most often range from 3 ply to 7 ply construction. This stacking design acts as a means to allow the flooring to counteract the effects of humidity on the natural wood, allowing each board to expand and contract without warping or cupping. The top layer of engineered hardwood floors is a species of real wood. In this sense, engineered floors are as “genuine” as any hardwood floor, with real wood that lends a space a decorative dimension that most people interested in hardwood are looking for.
Locking Systems For Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Most types of engineered hardwood feature a tongue and groove locking system. These are designed for a level of precision that makes for a refined flooring surface that is free of unsightly gaps between the boards. Once again, versatility and practicality are the distinguishing features of engineered hardwood flooring. Often, these types of locking systems allow you to take up the boards at a later date when necessary, if you’ve chosen a floating floor option. So, you can take your floor with you when you’re moving house, or allow you to more easily replace any damaged boards. When making a purchase, it is a good idea to ask whether your chosen line of engineered hardwood flooring allows for this feature.
Radiant Heat and the Engineered Hardwood Floor
For solid hardwood, radiant heat can have a significantly negative effect; the radiant heating can severely dry out the hardwood, which in turn causes the boards to warp and cup as they would if they were exposed to excessive moisture. Luckily, engineered hardwood has been designed to counteract this tendency, just as it has in the case of humidity and dampness in a below-grade or non-environmentally controlled interior. Once again, the core of the engineered floor expands and contracts accordingly, while preserving the structural stability of the board and the attractiveness of the top layer.
Engineered hardwood floors allow you all of the beauty and organic feel, as well as a greater range of options as far as the location of your installation. Along with the functional benefits it offers, engineered hardwood floors are often less expensive than their solid hardwood counterparts, making them worth serious consideration on a budgetary level.
by Rob Jones