Choosing The Right Hardwood Flooring To Avoid Cupping, Cracking And Splitting

by Editor on June 7, 2013

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The best choice might surprise you, being a more affordable option.

The beauty of wood finished flooring is that it can be tailored to suit any home and atmosphere. Whether the home is a contemporary work of art, or a more regal gem from a century ago, a tasteful wooden floor can accentuate the home’s inner glory. Yet to truly be a worthy investment the right hardwood flooring must not cup, crack and split over time. While one would logically conclude that solid-wood floors are the highest quality and therefore, the best, engineering hardwood is a better choice.

There are many different styles and sizes of wood paneling used in flooring. But when you get to the nitty-gritty of it all, these designs all fall into two basic categories: a solid-wood or an engineered hardwood product.

Failings of Solid Hard Wood Floors

Traditional solid-wood flooring uses floorboards milled from a solid piece of timber. This option comes in a range of sizes, colors and thicknesses. Solid-wood flooring is much more expensive. However, solid timber flooring requires ongoing maintenance. Mistakes are often made in choosing the right timbers, seasoning the wood properly and allowing it to adjust to the homes climate before installing.

Solid wood expands with changes in temperature and humidity with the seasons, leading to gaps, cracking and splitting problems. Being solid wood, these problems can be repaired and the floors can be refinished many times. But why put in so much effort when more affordable manufactured flooring prevents these problems and still allows several refinishes if they become necessary.

Engineered Hardwood

Engineered hardwood flooring panels are made by gluing together pieces of wood to make a product that resembles a solid piece of timber. These manufactured wooden planks receive a durable hard wood surface that is then laminated to create an authentic solid hard wood appearance. Engineered hardwood flooring is available in all the species and colors of solid hard wood.

Since its original surge of popularity in the 1980’s, the process of making these engineered panels has greatly improved. Today, the choices of manufactured hardwood flooring are by far a more economical and practical choice.

Because of its design, engineered hardwood floors are much less susceptible to the cupping, splitting and cracking solid wood floors face. It is also less susceptible to insect damage because it doesn’t attract termites and other wood-boring critters.

Durability

The greatest concern most consumers have is the durability of engineered wood flooring. They worry about how many times they might be able to refinish it before sanding through the wood veneer. Because the planks are finished at the factory with durable finishes, these floors are less likely to need refinishing in the first place and they often come with lifetime warranties. Concerned consumers can also choose engineered flooring with thicker wood veneers to allow for added refinishing that might be needed.

Options

Engineered hardwood flooring works with any sub-flooring materials, so it doesn’t matter if the boards are be laid on concrete, particle board or suspended beams, there is a product that will work. Engineered hardwood can even be installed using glue, staples, nails, screws, and is available in a new in-lock system.

The manufactured flooring is usually a thinner flooring product that solid-wood options. This lets installers place new flooring over existing floors, instead of ripping up old boards or laminants. This also leaves more room for in-floor heating systems, more insulation or under-floor weatherproofing.

There is no limit to what you can create when you explore the various engineered wood flooring finishes. They can replicate any solid wood design such as fancy borders, inlays and special finishes

Engineered Hardwood Flooring is Cost-Effective

In most cases, engineered hardwood flooring is cheaper than solid-wood options. It is more lightweight to begin with, so the cost of transporting the product is much less than solid wood floors. The panels are thinner, so they use less wood to make. Engineered hardwood flooring is usually made of less expensive timber and not the giant logs used to mill solid-wood flooring. Most companies choose to use timber from environmentally friendly plantations as well.

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About the Author

Jessica Bosari writes about hardwood flooring options for the bamboo engineered flooring company, Bamboozle

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