Engineered Wood Floors – The “Fancy” Building Product

Engineered Wood Floors – The “Fancy” Building Product
September 12, 2011 SNH Editorial Team

Contrary to public opinion, which often describes veneered or engineered floors as a recent phenomenon with roots in the trend toward green products, veneered floors have been around for a long time.  I can state…….as a fact that at least one home built in 1929-30 has veneered floors in all its public, i.e. showcase rooms – ours!

Our living room and dining room have engineered white oak floors.  It is not obvious to the cursory eye that there is a veneer only.  We only discovered it when we wanted to “freshen” up the floors.  In fact, our floor sanding contractor was the one who was able to tell by scrutinizing some of the more worn edges.

Our story speaks to one common question: Do veneered floors last? Yes, they do by our testimonial, if you select the right one.  Since the US and Canada have substantial wood resources, wood boards cost substantially less here than in European markets.  This creates pretty much the same cost between the two products, provided a quality veneered material is selected.

So why choose engineered floors over solid wood? One reason is quality engineered wood floors are more stable and durable.  Another is installation is faster and cleaner since engineered floors are already finished.

There are two critical quality considerations when evaluating engineered floors.  Both effect pricing dramatically:

(1)  The thickness of the wood veneer is critical.  Wood gets scratched.  The scratches become really visible and non-sandable when the sublayer is reached. The top layer in a quality engineered floor should be ¼” or more.

(2)  The substrate must have multiple, cross-grained layers to create structural integrity. Without it, don’t be surprised to find your floors buckle with temperature and moisture changes.

Manufacturers of engineered floors like to label their products “Green”.  When is this claim justified?  When sealers and glues are environmentally friendly, green products. Mafi Floors forgoes any poly-based sealers and produce only naturally oiled wood planks. They look great.  Mafi offers one of the widest and truly unique  high-end surfaces I have seen. Of particular interest are their sculpted or profiled surfaces.

Since engineered building products are used more commonly throughout Europe there are a number of high-end companies to check out such as Pianeta Legno from Italy, for example.

Leave us your comments regarding your experiences with engineered floors!