Picking the floor for your home is one of the many overwhelming decisions you can encounter. There are so many kinds of flooring that range in price as well as performance and benefits. When you finally decide on what type of flooring, such as hardwood, you then have to decide what quality you would like to have in your home. Hardwood flooring, if treated respectively and taken care of, can last for a lifetime. There are a few things to look at, such as the material the floor is made out of, the thickness of wear layer and its species, as well as the base material and warranty.
Engineered hardwood flooring can be made with many different types of materials. The level of quality typically has a direct correlation with the price. If the product is of poor quality, such as three-ply softwood plywood, the likelihood of delamination is great. Plywood is designed to perform as a big sheet. When asked it to perform as smaller pieces, such as engineered wood flooring, it’s particularly important to use a higher-grade material. Gluing a hardwood piece to the plywood will cause stress on the plywood when the flooring experiences changes in moisture content, increasing the chance for delamination within the plywood, so the plywood quality becomes even more important.
On the other end of the spectrum with engineered floors, they can be composed of multiple layers of real wood, typically ranging from 3-5 layers. The layers of real wood are typically similar in thickness, with the core or center piece of real wood run transversely to the top layer. The transverse layering of wood allows each piece to counteract any movement of any layers, thus making the product much more stable that than of a plywood backer that may delaminate with the thick wear layers attempt to move or moisture. This multiple layered engineered product is one that you can expect with Nor-Cal Floor Design products.
Wear Layer and Materials
The wear layer is the top layer of the plank, also known as the lamella; it will endure the wear and tear of every day use. It is important to consider what type of material you are going to have exposed to the elements. This lamella can be created using a few different methods, which can affect the quality of the overall product. Some companies use rotary-peeled products, which begin as a circular product forced into a flat surface.
This unfortunately can cause face checking, which looks like the finish is cracking and is not suitable for multiple sanding/refinishing due to it’s thin structure. Another option is the spliced or sliced top lamella, which is typically 2-5mm in thickness and allows for multiple sands/refinishes. By examining the cut of the material used for the lamella, this can give an appropriate reflection of what you can expect from the wear layer.
Acclimate for a successful installation
With a solid floor, it is recommended for it to be placed in the home, unpackaged, until it reaches the appropriate moisture content. There is not a specific time frame that this will occur. It all depends on the solid woods moisture content when it arrives and the job site/home’s conditions. In a very dry climate, it may reach the required moisture content quicker than that of a more humid climate.
Manufactures of engineered wood flooring recommend that the flooring stay packaged until the time of install. This helps to retain it’s low moisture content from the factory. At the time of install the job site/home should be to normal living conditions with temperature and humidity.
As such, engineered wood can have significantly shorter acclimation time in comparison to solid wood. Always error on the side of caution and note that humidity levels and other environmental factors play a key role in each individual floors acclimation needs.