Have you been looking for engineered wood flooring to revamp your interior? Unlike traditional solid hardwood flooring, engineered wood flooring is crafted from multiple layers of real wood veneers that are strategically fused together.
This creates a durable and aesthetically appealing product. Its unique construction method combines wood’s natural beauty and charm with enhanced structural integrity. These are some of the factors making it an increasingly popular choice in the modern flooring market, especially with the brown aesthetic on the rise.
But how sustainable is this flooring, and what should you know before installation? Read on!
Understanding Engineered Wood Flooring
Engineered Wood Flooring is a type of hardwood flooring that is manufactured using a multi-layered construction process. It is designed to mimic the appearance of traditional solid wood flooring while offering enhanced structural stability and versatility. Unlike solid wood flooring, engineered wood flooring comprises multiple layers of wood veneers, each strategically placed to provide strength and durability.
The topmost layer of engineered wood flooring is the wear layer, the visible surface people walk on. This layer is made from a thin veneer of real hardwood, typically 1mm to 6mm thick. All this depends on the quality and the intended use.
Beneath the wear layer, engineered wood flooring consists of several core layers, usually made from plywood or high-density fiberboard (HDF).
The bottom layer of the wood flooring is the backing layer to add further stability and balances the structure.
The Latest Manufacturing Process for Engineered Wood
Due to cutting-edge techniques and technologies, engineered wood flooring manufacturing has had advancements in recent years. These innovations have improved the final product’s quality and durability and enhanced sustainability and efficiency in the manufacturing process. Some of them include:
• High-precision Laser Cutting: Laser cutting technology allows for precise and intricate cutting of wood veneers. This precision ensures that each layer fits perfectly together and creates a seamless and stable result. Even better, laser cutting minimizes material waste, optimizes the use of wood resources, and reduces the environmental impact.
• Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) Machining: Besides the precision, the machines offer unmatched accuracy and consistency. It enables manufacturers to create a wide range of textures and designs on the flooring surface, thus providing customers with diverse styles.
• Hybrid Bonding Techniques: Innovations in adhesive technology have led to the development of hybrid bonding techniques. These methods combine traditional adhesives and advanced bonding agents, enhancing the bonding strength between layers. As a result, the engineered wood flooring becomes even more durable and resistant to delamination, ensuring a long-lasting product.
The Advantages of Engineered Wood Flooring
There are quite a few advantages of engineered wood flooring for interior design but here are the main ones:
Engineered wood flooring’s cross-ply construction provides superior stability compared to traditional solid wood flooring. The alternating layers of wood veneers bonded together with advanced adhesives counteract wood’s natural tendency. They stabilize your floor and minimize the risk of warping, cupping, and gaps.
Another quality of engineered wood flooring is that it exhibits higher moisture resistance compared to solid wood flooring. The construction allows it to handle fluctuations in humidity. This makes it suitable for areas with varying moisture levels, such as basements and bathrooms.
Environmental friendliness is one of the main advantages of engineered wood flooring. In this aspect, it is way better than other types including hardwood flooring. Most sustainable flooring manufacturers use sustainably sourced wood for the top veneer layer. Using fast-growing wood species for the core layers reduces the demand for slow-growth hardwoods.
Sustainability in Engineered Wood Flooring
As with other things, in the context of flooring products, sustainability refers to responsible and environmentally conscious practices to minimize their ecological impact. Sustainable flooring products are designed and produced with a focus on reducing energy consumption. They conserve resources and promote eco-friendly manufacturing processes.
Sustainable flooring seeks to strike a balance between meeting current flooring needs while safeguarding the well-being of future generations and the environment. Some of the approaches manufacturers take include:
• Responsible wood sourcing
• Efficient use of wood resources
• Eco-friendly adhesives and finishes
• Recycling and waste reduction
Renewable Resources and Eco-Friendly Practices
One of the key pillars of sustainability is using renewable wood sources. Sustainable flooring manufacturers prioritize responsibly sourced wood from well-managed forests or utilize reclaimed wood from other sources. Using renewable wood sources ensures that the demand for wood does not exceed the forest’s capacity for regeneration, maintaining ecological balance and biodiversity.
Additionally, certifications such as FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) play a crucial role in verifying the sustainability credentials of wood flooring products. The two are internationally recognized certification programs that set stringent standards for responsible forest management.
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
LCA is a systematic approach used to evaluate the environmental impacts of a product throughout its entire life cycle, from raw material extraction to disposal. When making comparisons, engineered wood flooring generally has a lower LCA than laminate, ceramic tile, and solid hardwood flooring due to its more efficient use of wood resources.
Solid hardwood flooring requires larger amounts of high-quality wood, leading to more significant environmental impacts during raw material extraction and manufacturing.
Its efficient use of renewable wood resources, eco-friendly manufacturing processes, and potential for recycling or repurposing contribute to its lower environmental impact. As consumers increasingly prioritize sustainability, engineered wood flooring stands out as an eco-friendly choice for flooring needs.
As sustainable construction practices gain prominence, the popularity of engineered wood flooring continues to rise. It offers homeowners and designers a versatile and responsible flooring solution.
With its ability to deliver lasting beauty, stability, and eco-friendliness, engineered wood flooring exemplifies the importance of making environmentally conscious choices to build a greener and more sustainable future for generations to come.
Article contributed by Martin O’Callaghan.
About the author: Martin O’Callaghan is the owner at Munster Hardwood Flooring company based in Cork.