For our interior design renovations, we are a true believer of investing in quality flooring that stands the test of time. Installing new floor can be pricy but purchasing low quality flooring can require you to replace the floor more often, costing more money in the long run. In other words, if you go cheap, you will be replacing things sooner than you think.
Hardwood Flooring – Engineered or Solid
There is no difference between engineered or solid hardwood floor in appearance, but there is a difference in the method of construction.
The engineered hardwood floor is made of layers of hardwood and/or plywood bond together with glue and pressure.
The high quality engineered hardwood floor is made of 2 – 4 mm thick solid wood top layer, the lower layers are several layers of plywood or solid wood depending on the quality of the product. Solid hardwood floor is made of a solid piece of wood.
Engineered Hardwood flooring is popular because:
- The construction of engineered flooring makes it a suitable material for condos and apartments, where they can be glued down on the concrete subfloor or installed using the floating method, meaning they can be installed below or above the grade. A solid hardwood floor is normally nailed down or stapled down on a subfloor on or above the grade.
- Engineered hardwood floor is more resistant to humidity and has great dimensional stability, and therefore manufactured to a plank width of up to 7 1/7 inches.
- Solid hardwood is more sensitive to humidity and moisture, and the optimum plank width doesn’t exceed 4 ½-5 inches.
Engineered hardwood floor is more expensive than solid hardwood because of the:
cost and quality of glue for adhering layers of wood and labour
- cost of lumber
As an interior designer in Vancouver, a city with a green initiative, we always try to consider local and eco friendly materials. For the following reasons, we hope you will too:
It has become cheaper to buy distantly mass-produced materials. Lower prices make these goods more attractive to consumer.
For the same reasons that you buy your food locally, you should also buy and use locally manufactured products. This means limited shipping distance, which is good for our planet. Aircraft transport has great fuel consumption, and transportation by shipping produces emission of 1 billion metric tons of CO2 and uses 11 billion gallons of fuel per year internationally.
Quality (and what really goes into mass produced goods)
Solid hardwood floors are natural and eco friendly flooring choices. Although the wood in engineered hardwood is natural, it is important to know what goes into the production, bonding, and gluing of the layers of mass produced material. North American and European manufacturers use non-toxic water-based glue that is completely free from formaldehyde. They are certified and have to make sure that the products carry the strict environmentally friendly standards. Whereas mass-produced flooring often use toxic glues and chemicals in the bonding and stripping process. One should be concerned about long-term exposure to toxic glue fumes and formaldehyde.
Inexpensive and low grade floorings are often manufactured in countries who do not follow ethical labour practices and regulations.
While choosing your hardwood floors, be kind to yourself, others, and the environment.