Although many people believe a “real” wooden floor has to be made of solid boards, that’s not actually the case. The construction of engineered wooden floor boards uses a top layer of hardwood and multiple layers of birch plywood. Glueing of the 4-8 mm hardwood to the 9-15 mm of birch occurs under extremely high pressure. As a result, the engineered product has several advantages over solid wooden boards and is just as authentic.
Engineered wood flooring is not the same as laminated flooring. Laminates are made of synthetics such as melamine resin and other materials like fibre board. They’re fused together using a lamination process and sealed beneath a clear protective layer to imitate the natural look of wood.
Benefits of Engineered Flooring
Wood absorbs and releases moisture from the air, changing the volume of the fibres. Wooden floors swell as they absorb moisture and shrink when the wood dries out. Tension then builds, which can lead to deformities, cupping and warping. Well constructed engineered flooring won’t crack as long as it is installed following the recommended length and width.
Solid wood boards are not suitable for underfloor heating. The only appropriate flooring for this purpose is engineered flooring or our own unique “3 Oak” boards. Our products are specifically designed to replace solid oak flooring and prevent the problems associated with changes in temperature and humidity.
Sanding wooden floors gives them a facelift or an entirely new look. This can only be done a limited number of times, however, due to the wearing of the top layer. Sanding removes signs of wear and tear including any dents, cracks or scratches. By only sanding away approximately 0.2 mm of the lamella (the top layer), the original beauty of the floor is retained. With the same lamella as solid wood flooring, our engineered boards are 21 mm thick. You can sand, polish, varnish and oil-coat our engineered flooring as many times as solid wood floorboards.
Common Problems and Easy Solutions
Cracks Between Boards
As the seasons change, so too do your floors. Almost all wooden floors will expand and contract with rising and falling humidity levels. Heating in the colder months causes humidity levels to plummet and the resulting contraction in the wood can lead to gaps between your floorboards. On a solid 2 ¼” oak floor, these can be as wide as the thin edge of a coin. Gaps may appear even larger with light coloured woods. Using an air humidifier during the months you are heating your home can help reduce the appearance of gaps.
Cupping is the term given to floorboards that have developed concave depressions. The planks appear to be higher along the edges than at the centre. The most common cause of cupping is excess humidity, where moisture has caused the wood to swell resulting in the boards being crushed together. Minor cupping is to be expected as your floors age, but a more serious problem may require the help of a professional.
The first step in resolving a cupping problem is to identify the source of the excess moisture. A damaged board may be drawing water into the wood and need to be replaced. Excess humidity may need to be controlled with an indoor de-humidifier. A plumbing issue may even have caused leaking into the sub-floor, creating problems for the wood flooring above.
The good news is that cupping can be reversed once the cause has been identified and eliminated. The floor may revert to its former look as it dries over time and using a fan can speed up the process. Depending on the severity of the cupping, the dry floorboards may benefit from re-coating or require a thorough sand and refinishing.
Crowning is the opposite of cupping, causing the middle of the board to be higher than its edges. Again, excess moisture may be the problem, but crowning is more likely to occur when a floor has been sanded too soon after cupping. The remedy is to sand down the centre of the board so that it is once again flush with the edges.
Buckling is an extreme response to moisture and is usually the by-product of severe flooding. As a result, the hardwood can be raised by several inches as it pulls away from the subfloor. Fortunately, buckling is an uncommon occurrence and even in these extreme circumstances, repairing the floor rather than replacing it entirely may still be possible.