By A. Woody
Look carefully at the picture of this beautiful wide width plank floor.
Is it a solid or an engineered wood?
Let me give you some hints!
- It was installed in July and this picture was taken in early January.
- It was installed with an STC (Sound Test Data) of 75.
- The last hint is that this floor can be refinished.
If you said solid, you are wrong! It is engineered wood.
Customers often say they don’t want engineered because they believe it is “the cheap stuff.” Frankly, that is because they don’t know what engineered floor is today. The common misconception is that engineered is a cheap alternative to solid that cannot be refinished and will fall apart in time. While in the past this was somewhat true, it is not that way today.
The initial engineered floors that dominated the market were rotary peeled and were made using the same process for manufacturing plywood. The sheets of veneer were peeled off a wet, hot log, glued and pressed together. Then, they were cut and profiled into individual planks. The advantage of the process is that it utilized the vast amount of the tree and was very cost effective. Additionally, there was plenty of capacity since the plywood manufacturers could increase their customer base with the addition of a hardwood flooring market. The down side is that the appearance of the finished floor lacked the depth of grain structure that a sawn wood provides. Furthermore, the thicknesses of the top layer had to be thinner to keep the panel stable or else the individual planks would bend and warp and eventually crack.