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About Engineered Hardwood
Engineered hardwood is the premier choice of all flooring types – with it’s many incredible features and benefits.
Like hardwood, engineered flooring can be nailed or stapled down, however, it can also be glued or installed using the floating method. The glue down method is typically used when installing engineered floors over a concrete sub-floor. The advantage of this technique is that the installation is quieter and over time, there is less creaking.
Floating installation is an innovative installation technique, as it does not involve attaching the boards to the sub-floor. Instead, the floorboards are fit or clicked together without the use of nails or glue. This is a highly stable method because it can be installed over uneven surfaces using a tongue and groove system. In addition, sound insulation or dampening insulation can be installed below it, providing an effective underlay.
One of a Kind Hardwood Styles
Floors are one of the centerpieces of an interior’s design, setting the tone of the entire space. Our selection of engineered hardwood floors are aimed at helping evoke the exact feeling and ambience you’re aiming for. With a comprehensive range of styles, wood species, and floor designs, we can help you find the perfect engineered hardwood floors in Toronto & Vaughan.
Frequently Asked Questions
See some of the most popular questions that we commonly get about engineered hardwood.
What is engineered hardwood?
The term engineered simply refers to the process in which this type of hardwood is made. It is not solid wood. Engineered hardwood has a makeup similar to plywood, with the top layer being real hardwood. It is made of various thin wood layers that are laminated and glued together in a cross ply construction to form a single wood board. A thin layer of hardwood called a veneer is then glued down on the top surface of the board. This top layer can vary from 1/16th to 3/16ths in thickness. The thicker the layer, the more times it can be sanded. Like solid hardwood, engineered hardwood comes in a variety of wood species, grains, widths, lengths and colours. You can purchase it prefinished meaning that the sanding, staining and finish coats are applied at the factory or you could opt for unfinished engineered wood that is sanded, stained (if requested) and finish coated on site in your home.
Looks and Feels Like Solid Hardwood
Regardless of what you choose, once installed, engineered hardwood will have the look and feel of solid hardwood with one unique advantage. If ever the moisture levels in the air above or subfloor below increase or decrease, solid hardwood will expand (this is called cupping or shrinking), causing gaps between the boards. Engineered hardwood's configuration of layered wood glued to each other in opposing directions gives added strength and stability which counteracts movement, making engineered an ideal choice for installation over below grade concrete or radiant heating. It should be noted that Engineered hardwood, though similar in construction, is not the same as Laminate flooring. The difference is evident in the surface layer. Engineered hardwoods top layer is 100% real hardwood that can be refinished whereas Laminate flooring is not wood. As such, in the case of water damage, Laminate cannot be refinished or repaired, but rather it must be completely replaced.
What sizes do hardwood floors come in?
Hardwood floors come in various shapes and sizes. However, the most important dimensions for floors are their width and thickness.
Common flooring widths:
- 2 ¼ inch
- 3 ¼ inch
- 4 inch
- 5 inch
- 6 inch
Common flooring thickness:
The most common thickness for hardwood floors is ¾ inch. This thickness offers the most durability and strength and is generally the standard for hardwood floors. There are however other variations of thickness, such as:
- ⅜ inch
- ½ inch
- ⅝ inch
Length, as opposed to the other specifications, is more random, as floors tend to come in various lengths. The main modifier, then, is the floor's width. Different floor widths evoke different aesthetic effects, so it’s worthwhile assessing all of the different types available to find ones that match up with your specific design needs.
What are the most popular types of hardwood?
When you're choosing hardwood, you'll want to consider the color, grain pattern, cost, and maintenance . You’ll also want to consider hardness, which is another way of saying durability. Hardness is measured by the Janka hardness scale. The higher the number, the harder the wood. For hardwood floors, you’ll typically want a Janka rating of at least 1,000.
Most Popular Types Of Hardwood:
- Oak: Oak is beloved for it’s flexibility and endurance. It is a popular choice among homeowners because it ages well, taking on an aesthetically appealing patina as the years roll on. It ranges in color from a dark reddish tone to white live oak. The hardness of oak largely depends upon its subtype, as does its appearance.
- Maple: Measuring a whopping 1,450 on the harness scale, hard maple (aka sugar maple) is a favorite among homeowners. The light pattern and open grain are pleasing to the eyes. It goes extremely well with modern décor. Maple is very durable, resisting scratches and scrapes from furniture and high traffic.
- Hickory: Hickory is a very hard wood that rates 1,820 on the Janka scale. It is harder than maple, ash, and even oak. Durable and long-lasting, hickory holds up well to high traffic and moisture. It is a lightwood but can be stained to any shape. To attain a warm appearance, consider waxing.
- Ash: Ash is a very hard wood, measuring 1,320 on the Janka scale. It is very durable and tolerates humidity and moisture well, making it a good choice for kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry areas. Ash ages well. Homeowners love that it is comfortable to walk on because it absorbs shock.
- Walnut: Walnut is a timeless hardwood that has been used for flooring for centuries. It is flexible and wears well. It looks great too.
- Cherry: Brazilian cherry is very hard. It is shock-absorbing so it’s easy to walk over. The unique red hues are beloved and the close, uniform, straight grain is perfect for traditional decorating schemes.
- Bamboo: Bamboo is steadily increasing in popularity. It measures 3,000 on the Janka scale. Consumers love that it is eco-friendly, and homeowners appreciate the fact that it is not only easy to maintain and clean, it is compatible with underfloor heating.
What type of finishing do engineered hardwood floors use?
The finishing is the top layer of the floor, which typically helps protect the floor, as well as enhance the grain and appearance. It can bring out completely different looks, including shiny and matte finishes.
The most popular type of hardwood finishes is water-based polyurethane. This type typcically leaves a clear glossy finish that is suitable for most spaces. However, this type of flooring can have the effect of bringing out any scratches that the floor endures.
Wax is the preferred finish for achieving exceptional protection. It is known to be embodied by a warm and soft tone.
Shellac is a common finishing used to make a high-gloss appearance. When applied, it usually dries with an orange tint, giving interesting character to the hardwood.
This is one of the most durable finishes that can last dozens of years. It is one of the preferred finishes for engineered hardwood floors, which have a thinner veneer that isn’t optimal for refinishing.
How do you maintain hardwood floors properly?
Hardwood flooring requires little in day-to-day maintenance other than a simple dust mop with an approved cleaner. Avoid using a damp mop, as water will cause damage.
Never use a vinyl or tile floor care product on hardwood flooring. When needed, a liquid wax approved for hardwood flooring may be used, but most people find this is only needed once or twice a year. Rugs and mats may be used to protect hardwood flooring from scratches in areas of high traffic.
Proper care and maintenance will help ensure your hardwood floor always looks its best, while making sure your investment continues to appreciate in value. Here are some care and maintenance pointers:
- Once a week or so, vacuum, sweep or dust mop your floor. Do this more often if you think it’s needed. Make sure your vacuum head is brush or felt. A wand attachment is preferable. Don’t use vacuums with beater bars or hard heads. A hardwood floor swivel-head mop with a microfiber cover also works well to eliminate fine particles of grit and dirt that can act like sandpaper on hardwood floors.
- Spills and tracked-in dirt should be wiped up immediately. For spot cleaning, use a cleaner specifically intended for a hardwood floor with your selected finish, according to the manufacturer’s directions Periodically, as necessary, thoroughly clean your floor with a cleaner specifically intended for hardwood floors with your selected finish, according to the manufacturer’s directions.
- Never clean or wet mop with water. Water can permanently damage your floor.
- Never apply wax treatments to a urethane-coated floor.
- Never use any of the following products (or products similar in nature) on your floor: ammonia-based cleaners, acrylic finishes, wax-based products, detergents, bleach, polishes, oil soap, abrasive cleaning soaps, or acidic materials such as vinegar. Many of these products can pit or etch your floor’s finish and inhibit the effectiveness of recommended maintenance products.
- Interior and exterior doormats are a good idea at all entrances to collect dirt and moisture and prevent them from being tracked onto the floor.
- Area rugs cut down on wear in front of the kitchen sink, at “pivot points” and in high-traffic areas. Use rugs made of a breathable material to prevent moisture entrapment. Don’t use rugs with solid rubber or vinyl backings.
- Don’t damage your floor with shoes that have heel taps or sharp objects protruding from the sole such as rocks, exposed nails and gravel.
- Avoid walking on your floor with spike-heeled shoes. If you must, be sure to properly maintain your spike or stiletto high heels to minimize potential damage from the steel heel support.
- Keep animal nails trimmed to minimize finish scratching.
- Don’t roll or slide heavy objects directly on your floor. When moving appliances or heavy furniture, lay a solid protective covering on your floor and gently “walk” the item across it. Carpet or cardboard doesn’t adequately protect against surface compression scratches.
- Use furniture leg protector pads under all furniture and make sure to keep them clean and well maintained.
- Replace hard, narrow furniture rollers with wide rubber rollers.
- Keep the relative humidity in your home between 35% and 55%.
- Protect your floor from direct sunlight. Use curtains and UV-resistant film on large glass doors and windows.
Floor First Aid
- For spots caused by food, water or animals, use a cleaner specifically intended for hardwood floors, according to the manufacturer’s directions.
- For grease, lipstick, crayon, ink and rubber heel marks, use a cleaner specifically intended for hardwood floors, according to the manufacturer’s directions.
- For chewing gum and candle wax, apply ice in a sealed plastic bag to the top of the gum or wax deposit. Wait until the deposit becomes brittle enough to crumble off. After removal, clean the entire area with a cleaner specifically intended for hardwood floors with your selected finish, according to the manufacturer’s directions.
- For minor abrasions and scratches, use a touch-up kit specifically intended for hardwood floors, according to the manufacturer’s directions, to make minor repairs.
- For chips, broken edges and gaps, use a touch-up pen or fill stick specifically intended for hardwood floors, according to the manufacturer’s directions.
- For deep scratches and gouges, individual boards can be replaced, as necessary.
How Long Does Hardwood Flooring Last?
The longevity of your hardwood flooring will greatly depend on the type of wood you choose. Some hold up much better than others.
You can expect several decades of service from your hardwood flooring, in most instances. Some of the most popular types of hardwood flooring with great longevity include:
Ash. Ash is very durable and has a long-life expectancy. It is also versatile and beautiful.
Maple. Maple is appreciated for it’s ability to last throughout the years. It is a very hard wood and can hold up to high traffic without a problem.
Oak. Oak is very hard and durable. It is often referred to as being timeless due to its longevity.
Pine. Pine is a soft wood and although it is fairly easy to maintain, it doesn’t typically last as long as harder woods.
Walnut. Walnut is a hard wood so it will last for many, many years, especially when it is treated right.
Extending the longevity of hardwood floors
The longevity of hardwood flooring depend upon the conditions it will be under. Floors with high traffic or temperature stress give out earlier than those that are barely used or have a constant average temperature in the room.
The care you give your hardwood flooring matters too. Some factors that will extend the life of your floor are:
- Regular cleaning.
- Keeping padding under the furniture.
- Immediate cleaning up of spills.
- Tending to upkeep like polishing or repairs.
Keeping pets from damaging it.
Choosing a wood that is hard, taking good care of your investment, and going with great quality wood are factors that will help ensure your hardwood floor lasts for years to come.