Engineered Hardwood vs. Hardwood: Rethinking the term “engineered”

Textures Wide Plan Engineered Hardwoods

Hardwood flooring continues to be the high-end, timeless flooring option. Not only does it look beautiful and provide a natural, organic element to the overall design, but it also adds value to the home.

Hardwood vs. Engineered Hardwood

We believe luxury, engineered hardwood flooring is superior to solid wood flooring as it is more environmentally conscious and resistant to temperature and moisture. Yet, some marketing and sales efforts have created a negative association around the term “engineered,” labeling it as a subpar product to solid wood flooring and creating an “engineered equals not real wood” opinion in the market.

This view couldn’t be further from the truth, and when the perception of what a product is doesn’t match what it actually provides, it’s time to rebrand. Engineered hardwood flooring is built to provide better stability and resistance:  the top layer is real, solid wood with a plywood base construction underneath. Rather than use the term “engineered,” which implies fake or manufactured, let us accurately describe the product as “stabilized” hardwood flooring.

Why Engineered Wood is the better option

Wood is a natural material. It breathes, reacting to changes in temperature and humidity by expanding and contracting. This wood movement is in defined directions of the grain pattern itself and is more pronounced in plain-sawn products. The structure of stabilized floors helps to combat this movement by being constructed of multiple layers of real wood. The bond between a wood glue and the surface of a board or layer becomes stronger than the natural fibers of the layer by themselves.

At Textures Nashville, all of our wide plank engineered hardwoods have a 4mm-6mm wear layer, a solid wood veneer adhered to multiple layers of wood veneer or a solid wood core. The veneer layers or solid core are also alternated in grain direction to further mitigate wood movement in alternating directions and waterproof glue to bond them. The wear layer represents all the character, tones, and depth of the wood species built upon a platform which allows the floor to perform better than a solid product would at the standard floor thickness.

Scott Moore, Textures’ VP of Business Development, shares, “Veneer cores or laminated wood cores have been used in cabinet and furniture making for years to help battle the natural process of wood movement across the seasons and years. It’s just a great way of showcasing the natural beauty of wood that allows you to yield more of the grain by using thinner slices laid on a substrate. A majority of your select grade lumber is turned into veneers for plywood panels for features such as burls, book matching, or sketch face. Milling thinner layers of the lumber helps yield more of the desirable figure in the wood.  Applying the same process to flooring helps with the same sustainability of select grades of wood being the oldest and densest woods which take the longest to grow.” Let’s evolve as an industry and reframe the market perception of the “engineered hardwood flooring” product. “Stabilized hardwood floors” represents a more intentional, luxury product built with the purpose of withstanding the test of time and encouraging stewardship of old-growth forests.

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