Flooring Overview

We specialize in Engineered Hardwood Installations featuring the Premiere Natural Living Collection. What is the difference between Hardwood Planks and Solid Hardwood Planks?

Engineered Hardwood Planks

Engineered Hardwood planks feature multiple layers (typically three to five) bonded together under extreme heat and pressure. The layers typically include a top veneer of hardwood backed by less expensive layers of plywood—although some manufacturers use other substrates.

 

Because of the strength that is created by orienting veneers in different directions, they are less affected by humidity than solid wood planks are. Therefore, these products can be used above grade, on grade or below grade and in areas like kitchens and bathrooms.

Some Engineered Hardwood Planks are also better suited for installing over in-floor heating systems and multiple types of subfloors. They can be installed one of three ways, by nailing, gluing or using a floating system.

It is important that Engineered Hardwoods be installed according to the manufacturers specifications and that Home Humidity is maintained accordingly.

Solid Hardwood Planks

Solid wood planks are milled from a solid piece of hardwood and are typically ¾” in thickness. Because the product is solid, it can be sanded and refinished multiple times over its life.

As a solid piece of lumber, it will expand and contract with the home’s relative humidity greater than an Engineered product and therefore is suitable for an above grade installation only and is not recommended for below grade or in high moisture areas of the home.

Solid Wood Hardwood Planks are premanently nailed to the homes subfloor.

Humidity & Hardwood

Understanding the relationship between Humidity and Hardwood…

Floors that are made with wood materials are more likely to damage as a result of standing water and extreme changes in humidity. In order to increase the longevity of your hardwood floors, it’s important that you know what preventative measures you need to take, and how important it is to have a Humidity Control System in your home.

No matter how strong or expensive your hardwood floors are, they can still incur damage as a result of exposure to extreme changes in humidity. This is also true of bamboo, laminate and cork floors, as they are all manufactured with wood materials (e.g. cork is made of bark; bamboo is made of grass shoots). Trees are designed with vertically-aligned fibers, or vessels, that allow them to absorb water from the ground. These vessels are responsible for drawing up water from the earth through a root system and transporting it to the tree's branches. Even after a tree has been cut and milled into planks, these vessels are still present in the wood. It's this quality that makes hardwood floors so absorbent. Spills should be cleaned up immediately!

The more moisture there is in the air, the more moisture hardwood floors can absorb. When hardwood planks soak up moisture, they expand and swell up. When the humidity level drops below 35%, any moisture within the hardwood planks dries up, consequently causing the planks to shrink. You can safeguard your floors from this predicament by maintaining a steady indoor humidity level. One of the ways to accomplish this is by investing in a dehumidifier (for high humidity) and/or a humidifier (for low humidity). For example, indoor humidity tends to be higher on rainy days. On these days you can use your dehumidifier to help reduce indoor humidity to a more agreeable level. Ideal indoor humidity level for hardwood floors is somewhere between 33% and 55%.

The environment in which the wood is stored prior to being shipped to the store is also a determinant in the floor's structural durability. For optimal performance, wood should be kept in a room that has the recommended humidity level above to adapt. An increase or decrease in this humidity level may cause wood to swell and shrink, and make them less favorable for installation. Always check Humidity levels upon delivery and Installation. Once the Hardwood is installed, it is up to the Customer/Client to maintain the Hardwood and Humidity levels in the home.

For further information on wood floor types, humidity effects on hardwood or any other hardwood information, please contact your local sales representative through the contact page.

 

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