Wood flooring has always been hailed as an ultimate form of sophistication. Vernacular architecture from different parts of the world is using wood for building houses from time immemorial. This led to massive experimentation which helped homeowners to fully realize the charm of using wood in interior design. The owners of traditional houses use wood that can be produced and procured locally. It gave rise to varied textures, colors and styles which worked together to increase the beauty of wood flooring. Engineered wood flooring, a modern invention, was introduced in the early part of 20th century. Its introduction added an extra dimension to wood flooring in modern houses.
In fact, the introduction of engineered wood flooring proved to be pivotal in 20th century interior décor. A number of reasons inspired its inception. Dwindling forest reserve, exorbitant price of solid wooden planks, the need of developing cheaper housing and the cost of maintaining natural wood flooring contributed to the development and subsequent popularity of engineered wood. The form of engineered wood that we now see available in the market was introduced about half a century ago. Engineered wood changed quite a lot since then. The following developments ensured that this type of flooring remains firmly in vogue.
Engineered wood is factory made wood type. It is made from a combination of natural wood and plywood. The top layer of engineered wood has a natural wood veneer. The core is, however, made from plywood. The base layer consists of natural wood, particle board, medium density fiberboard (MDF) or oriented strand board (OSB). Often a combination of two or more elements is used to give the base a stronger finish. Engineered hardwood is designed to appear similar to hardwood so that flooring using this type of wood remains indistinguishable from natural wood.
The biggest plus point of engineered hardwood flooring is its affordability. It is far cheaper than solid wood flooring. The cost of engineered wood flooring varies between $3 CAD and $8 CAD per square foot. Solid wood flooring on the other hand, costs between $8 CAD and $15 CAD per square foot. Exotic wood hardwood like ipe, teak etc may cost higher than that. Like solid wood flooring the top layer of the engineered wood can be lacquered in different colors. It is reasonably durable. The cost of maintaining engineered wood flooring is lower than natural wood floor. They look beautiful and are easy to install.
Many contemporary hardwood varieties are not prone to moisture or pest attacks. So you may install them in your kitchen or terrace as well. Engineered wood is useful not only for designing the flooring, but also to design the joists, roof trusses, rafts and other essentials of a building construction. Though they closely resemble wood, they can’t actually replicate its beauty.
Could there be any reason then to opt for engineered wood instead of hardwood? One of the major benefits of using engineered wood is its tolerance to moisture. They don’t develop rot easily. Mold and mildew infestation is not so common with engineered wood flooring. But you may be surprised to know that many natural wood species has greater capabilities of withstanding moisture. Natural wood procured from cedar, mahogany, walnut, ash, ipe, hickory etc boasts of excellent moisture resistance. You may easily use them in your swimming pool deck, terraces or other rooms of your building which gets exposed to moisture. Red cedar wood does not even need any kind of treatment for better water resistance.
Solid plank flooring is extremely durable. It may last for generations provided you maintain them properly. Maintaining hardwood flooring is slightly more hasslesome and costly than maintaining engineered hardwood. It required polishing and resealing every 4 to 5 years’ or so. However, it is easily to remove minor blemishes from the surface of natural wood flooring. All you need to do is sand off the marks and it will be back to its original beauty. The same cannot be said for engineered wood. Being a natural product, hardwood seldom causes allergic reactions. High quality natural wood flooring is not at all prone to the attacks of pests. However, you should avoid certain wood species like hemlock if you live in a termite infested area. You can use natural wood as well as engineered wood to design stylish parquet flooring.
The thickness of engineered wood varies between 0.375 inches and 0.750 inches. Most engineered wooden planks have a length of between 12 inches and 84 inches. The width varies between 21 inches and 43 inches. It is possible to invest in custom designed engineered wood which would have the length and width according to your needs. For parquet style flooring, you may opt for engineered wooden board of 12 inches on each side to 18 inches on each side.
The market is flooded with different types of engineered wood that all vary from one another in looks and qualities. Some of the most common varieties of engineered hardwood resemble the look of oak, maple, cedar and tarakan teak. You may also buy engineered wood that closely mimic the looks of exotic wood species like padauk, timborana, tiger wood, golden teak and so on. The popularity of engineered bamboo flooring is growing steadily in the last few years.
It is far cheaper than natural or engineered wood and has a charm of its own. It is extremely easy to maintain and can be installed in less than $5 CAD per square foot. Bamboo flooring does not succumb to water related problems. Before you begin your search for best engineered hardwood flooring, assess your requirements. Think of the areas in your house where you are planning to install them and your budget. While calculating the costs of engineered hardwood flooring, take into account the cost of the planks and installation charges. If you have under floor heating then the cost of installation may be slightly higher than otherwise. Installation costs vary widely from one city to another. But opt for experienced floor installers for a flawless work.
There are some other alternative to engineered wood flooring in Canada. Laminated flooring is a more affordable option. It costs less than $5 CAD per square foot. It is easy to maintain as well though it is not as durable as engineered wood. Besides, it develops dent marks and scratches easily. So you should be careful about choosing furniture to be placed on this type of flooring. Apart from bamboo, cork flooring happens to be a current rage. It is soft and has excellent insulation qualities. The cost of cork floor is similar to or less than laminated flooring.
Cork is impervious to water. You may also buy wood effect porcelain tiles for your kitchens and bathrooms. They are highly durable, very easy to clean and affordable. Porcelain tiles don’t develop stains or scratches at all. They are so strong that they can be easily installed in such places as your garage and garden shades where you park your cars and store away some of the heavy equipements of home.
Learn more about using natural wood in the interiors from here.