By Eugenia Honore. Hardwood Flooring. Published at Sunday, May 12th, 2019 - 04:00:11 AM.
Often referred to as wood laminate flooring, engineered wood floors are readily available in a variety of specifications, each designed to coincide with a particular room of the home. Considered to be stronger than natural wood flooring, engineered wood floors offer the homeowner the option of installation directly over concrete where natural wood flooring is not recommended. With the multiple layers of engineered hardwood pressed and glued together in opposite directions, under extreme pressures, the dimensional stability of engineered wood floors is a superior product for installation on un-even floors, transferring a dull and inefficient room into a room with charm and character.
Engineered Hardwood Floors – Engineered hardwood floors are a laminate built from multiple ply layers with a thick hardwood veneer wear layer on top. The veneer layer is available in almost any exotic hardwood species with exotic color and grain patterns. Engineered hardwood floors are more resistant to moisture than natural wood flooring, which adds to their appeal because they can be installed in damp regions of the country and in basements with relatively high humidity levels. Some brands of engineered hardwood floors have a thin wear layer that can be recoated but you cannot sand the floor to stain it or completely refinish it. These less expensive brands have an expected average life span of 30-40 years depending on usage patterns. Other brands and styles have much thicker wear layers (5/32 inches) that can be sanded and refinished up to as many as 5 times with an average expected life span of from 60-80 years. Thicker wear layers are sawn from the log whereas thinner layers are scraped or sliced. High tech glue is the bonding agent.
What does the stain/finish look like? Many large manufactures will finish all different woods at the same time without making adjustments for each wood because each time they make adjustments it effects the production. The fact is, each wood needs to be finished differently to achieve the nicest stain/finish. Oak requires more finish to ”fill in” the grain or else it will appear very pitted which is not something desirable in an oak floor. You want to be able to hold a piece up to the light and see a perfect smooth finish. Maple requires more brushing than oak so the stain can penetrate into the wood and not appear ”blotchy”. Maple is a beautiful wood and with the proper staining you can really bring out features such as Birdseye and tiger tail. If not stained properly these features are hidden.
Finishing – Most hardwood floors are sold with some form of factory finish. These consist of protective coats of polyurethane, aluminum oxide, or a combination of both, that are applied to protect the wood from wear and tear. The latest available factory finishes have been formulated to make hardwood flooring more scratch-resistant. In case you purchased unfinished flooring, it will still need to undergo finishing once the floors are installed. However, the quality of the finishing will not be as good as if it were finished in a factory.
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