May. 20, 2022
There are many reasons that you may be searching for a wide plank engineered floor for your upcoming project — cost, ease of installation, and stability. While much of this is true, not all engineered flooring is designed and crafted to meet the same standards.
But, many people do not know what those standards are but they do know that they want their floor to:
Be more beautiful
Be of the highest quality
Be more stable
Provide enhanced performance in your environment
It lasts a long time
Be easy to maintain
We’ll review four of the most important design elements to engineered wood flooring so you can look below the surface of pretty flooring samples. Instead, you want to consider the intrinsic differences that will help you find the highest quality engineered floor. We’ll also provide you with some shopping tools and tips to help you along the way.
Engineered Wood Flooring
Engineered hardwood flooring consists of a thin layer of wood on top (veneer), and multiple layers of backing (the core). The thickness of the veneer and the core varies depending on the design and the manufacturer. It is this construction detail that will play the biggest role in how your floor looks, how stable it will be, and how long it will last.
As you consider durable engineered wood flooring, you want to select products that meet certain criteria:
Overall Thickness: 5/8” or ¾” thick
The thickness of the veneer: 4mm
The thickness of the core: 9-ply or 11-ply
The dimensional stability of your engineered floor can be further improved by the manufacturer if they:
Design the board so that the core is thicker than the veneer layer.
Layer each ply of the core so that the grain runs at a 90° angle to the grain pattern of the previous ply. (Both design and manufacturing details that we adhere to with Carlisle engineered wood flooring).
Most engineered wood flooring on the market is mass-produced. Even if you order the flooring all at the same time, mass production methods result in flooring boards in varying widths, lengths and thicknesses which can make for a very difficult installation. Even the color and finish of the floor can be completely different because the flooring came from a large batch, rather than made per order.
Shopping Tip: Samples can be a valuable tool during the selection process to compare the thickness of the overall board and the individual layers. It can also help you verify the number of layers and the relative thickness of the core and veneer.
Engineered Wood Flooring
The average width of most engineered wood flooring is 3” wide, the average length is just 3’ long. Let that soak in for a moment. If you have a 20×20 room that is nearly 535 boards that you need to install!
Standard manufacturing practices are designed to produce wood flooring as fast as possible and as much as possible — it’s all about efficiency and volume.
When considering engineered flooring you want to work with a manufacturer that can provide more options like:
All 6” Wide
All 8” Wide
All 10” Wide
All one width, or random widths depending on the look you want
In addition to achieving wider widths on your floor, you also want longer lengths. Carlisle floors are made in random lengths from 2’-7 or 2-to 12’ long, depending on the collection, and each floor is graded to achieve a certain average length within the range. This gives you peace of mind that you will receive the longer, most revered boards. This combination of widths and lengths creates fewer seams and far more beauty because you can reduce the number of seams in your floor by up to 500% when you use a wide plank floor instead of a traditional 3” floorboard.
Shopping Tip: As you are shopping for engineered wood flooring, verify width and length specifications on any quotes you receive, and on your final order documents.
Oriented strand board (OSB) is an engineered wood product that's made with flakes or large chips of wood. The panels are formed from layers glued together with their strands at 90-degree angles to one another. The cross-orientation of the layers adds strength to the panels and makes OSB well-suited for use as a structure board in sheathing and underlayment. It can be cut with all power saws but since it's a structure board, it's not suited to shaping, sanding or other milling operations.
While OSB is mainly used as an underlayment, paint and primer will adhere to it for projects that require finishing. OSB panels are 4-feet-by-8-feet in size with a thickness of 1/4 inch to 3/4 inches. It's also available in tongue and groove panels.
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