Machined, or engineered wood flooring is effectively a wood flooring option that is made of natural materials, that looks like solid wood, but is made by man. The way this wood flooring is constructed means that it’s particularly strong and able to withstand moisture and temperature fluctuations much more successfully than solid wood. The feature of machined wood flooring that makes it so real looking and convincing is its top layer or lamella, which is made from solid wood.
The way this type of wood flooring is made is really interesting and involves the bonding of layers of ply together, either in a horizontal fashion or on a cross-layered basis. Typically, machined wood flooring will be made up of a sandwich of either 3 layers of ply or multiple layers that are glued and pressed together to form a really strong base or core for the final plank. In most cases, the tongue and groove part of the board is made of either a soft or a hard plywood to enable the machining of the tongue or the groove.
Once the core board has been made, the lamella or top layer is fixed to the board. There’s pretty much no limit to the range of species of wood that can be used for this layer, and again, this makes machined wood flooring highly versatile. There are three principle methods of cutting the lamella from the solid wood. These are: sliced cut or peel; rotary cut or peel and dry, solid sawn. Although the methods are fairly similar, there’s no getting away from the fact that the end result of each method differs quite significantly.
Sliced cut or peel is the process whereby the log is boiled prior to cutting the top layer from its end. This way of working means that a disc shaped lamella is created, which is then pressed flat prior to being fixed to the core board. This method of recovering the lamella creates a nice, natural looking finish and is reasonably hard wearing. Lamella that is recovered using the rotary cut or peel method on the other hand has a tendency to have problems with cupping or curling. The way this system works is by effectively ‘shaving’ the layers of the log from the outside to the inside and then pressing them flat. Finally, dry, solid-sawn lamella is, without a doubt the best way of producing a great end result. This system involves the drying of the wood, rather than the soaking of it prior to cutting, which means that the final product is more stable.
The way of manufacturing machined wood floor lends itself to enabling this product to be economical as well as high quality. That said, when you’re looking around for engineered wood flooring you may want to know which method has been used to recover the lamella and your supplier should be able to tell you this. Thereafter, it’s simply a case of choosing the species, the finish and the board size prior to starting your project.