Engineered hardwood flooring has become a popular choice due to it’s versality, how it maintains a better balance in seasonal changes & is designed to provide greater stability. The wider the planks are, the more affected by humidity they are. When wood swells, it also moves… and no one wants a creaky floor. So most of today’s good hardwood manufacturers are making planks over 4”-5” wide as engineered softwood cores instead of solid-piece hardwood cores. The way these cores are made varies across manufacturers but make a significant difference in the performance of wood. Here’s what you need to know about the structure of engineered hardwood flooring.
Sliced Cut Veneers
To produce sliced-cut veneers, the logs are first cut on all sides to produce a square piece of timber. Rotary-cut veneers are left as circular logs. The timber is processed in a steamer for 24 hours to condition the wood and is then placed in a giant vertical slicer (sliced-cut) or or circulated around a slicer (rotary cut) much like peeling a potato and slicing a block of cheese. The veneers are sliced off in various thicknesses from 1mm to 3mm. Slicing process produces better yields because of zero loss of saw dust. Slice-cut hardwood wear layers maintain the natural look of the wood, while rotary cut veneers have a much wider and open grain. These veneers generally have a weaker structural integrity, especially rotary-cut veneers, because minerals and tannins are lost in the steaming process. Janka Hardness Scale still does not apply to these veneers.
Dry Sawn Veneers
Dry sawn veneers are manufactured by a traditional process in which lumber comes; in full logs to a saw mill. The lumber is then graded and sorted for maximum yield and usage. It is later sawn into the desired thickness and prepared for application to the engineered construction. Sawn faced veneer gives the lowest yield for the highest cost, best visual appeal, and the strongest grain structure due to a natural sawing process and not being conditioned or boiled compared to the slicing or the rotary peeled method.
Finish Types: Wire Brushing
Proper wire brushing is a craft that gives each collection a rich depth in appearance by accenting the natural grain in the wood. Good wire brushing technique also adds an additional level of durability to the product by subtly removing the soft grain in the wood exposing the hardest part of the planks. All planks are further enhanced with a double stain process that creates the most beautiful colours and cannot be created any other way. The use a low gloss sealer is paramount to ensure the bevel and brushing do not appear shiny.
Finish Types: Hand-Scraped & Distressed
Hand-scraping is the oldest craft in the history of hardwood flooring. Before pre-finished floors were alive (and the machines used to cut & finish them) hardwood floors were refinished on site with handheld scrapers. The nature of this craft produced the uneven and slightly wavy finish of hardwood flooring that the industry can not live without. This does not compromise a well-finished floor at all, but provides a subtle compliment to wood’s natural grain. The oldest wooden floors would have dents, nicks, scrapes and jagged edges; this look is achieved instantaneously via the process of Distressing hardwood. Chains, nails, hammers & chisels are thrown at the hardwood to puncture the hardwood grain. Once stained, it gives the wood an aged appearance. Distressed finishes are typically combined with Hand-Scraping to provide a weathered flooring look.
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