Hardwood | How It's Made

There are three main types of hardwood flooring: Engineered, Solid and Longstrip. Discover which type of hardwood best meets your needs.


Engineered Wood Flooring
Solid Wood Flooring
Longstrip Wood Flooring

Type 1: Engineered

  • Construction: Each plank is made up of several layers
    • Bottom layer: the “inner core” is made up of 3 – 12 layers of plywood, glued and pressed together
    • Top layer: the decorative wood species is fused on top to create the desired look
  • Installation process: Nailed, Stapled, Glued, or Floated

Pros:

    • Versatile: Installed over concrete slabs or some existing floors, such as tile or vinyl
    • Installation process: nailed, stapled, glued, or floated
    • More dimensionally stable and less affect by moisture than other hardwood products, due to the cross-ply construction

Cons:

    • Depending on the size of the wear layer, engineered floors may not be able to be able to be sanded and refinished, effecting the life expectancy of the product. Read below for more information.

The lifetime of Engineered hardwood depends on the size of the wear layer.

1mm wear layer

Cannot be sanded and refinished; Approximate lifespan 20-30 years

2mm wear layer

Can be sanded and refinished 1 to 2 times; Approximate lifespan 30-40 years

3mm wear layer

Can be sanded and refinished 2 to 3 times; Approximate lifespan 40-50 years

4mm wear layer or more


Type 2: Solid

  • Construction: Each plank is made up of one solid piece of wood with tongue and groove sides
  • Installation process: Nailed
  • *Not recommended for below ground level, or over a concrete slab

Pros:

    • Can be refinished, or recoated, several times
    • A natural product
    • Durable and long-lasting
    • Does not fade

Cons:

    • As a natural product, solid hardwood will expand and contract with seasonal changes due to the moisture in the air. This may create gaps between the planks in the winter months.
    • Too much moisture can cause planks to cup, or buckle

Type 3: Longstrip

  • Construction: Similar to engineered hardwood, each plank is made up of wood plies glued together
  • The inner core is soft, used to make the tongue and groove
  • The top layer consists of 17-35 smaller pieces, laid in three rows
  • Installation: Floating, glued, or stapled

Pros:

    • Extremely versatile—can go over a variety of subfloors when installed by floating
    • When damaged, longstrip planks can be easily replaced