Engineered wood flooring is a really versatile flooring option and is particularly suited to areas of the home or commercial premises where temperature and moisture levels are likely to fluctuate. Also suited for installation over under floor heating, it’s easy to see why engineered wood flooring has become so popular in recent years. That said, it’s not just its practicality that makes engineered wood flooring such an attractive option. No, there’s no getting away from the fact that engineered wood flooring looks fantastic too.
In fact, most people struggle to tell a good quality engineered wood floor from a solid wood floor. The reason for this is down to the quality of the engineered wood flooring board’s lamella or top layer. Engineered wood flooring is constructed using cleverly bonded layers of plywood or high-density fibreboard (HDF) that are topped off with a solid wood lamella or top layer.
The lamella or top layer of engineered wood flooring can be made using pretty much any species of solid wood, enabling you to achieve the colour and look you’re seeking for your project. The key difference in quality and look, when it comes to the lamella layer of engineered wood flooring, is how it is cut from the log of the species of tree that’s being used. There are three main options when it comes to cutting the solid wood lamella layer and they are: sliced cut or peel; rotary cut or peel, and dry, solid sawn.
Dry, solid sawn lamella layers are arguably the crème de la crème of lamella. A lengthy process that involves drying out the wood slowly to remove humidity, the end result is a durable and visually appealing final product.
Rotary cut or rotary peel lamella top layers are made by boiling the log to facilitate the scraping of the top layer of the wood from the outside of the log which is subsequently pressed flat. The end result of this process is a board that looks a tiny bit like ply and is somewhat less resistant to cupping than dry, solid sawn options. And finally sliced cut or sliced peel lamella is an engineering wood flooring top layer which is cut from the end of the log after it has been boiled. Again, this option produces a nice, stable top layer.
When it comes to assessing the quality of your engineered wood flooring, the lamella or top layer is a great place to start. While the species and thickness of your chosen product’s lamella layer should be clearly marked by the manufacturer, your wood flooring supplier should be able to tell you exactly how your lamella was recovered from the log enabling you to make your decisions accordingly.
In fact, if, for any reason, your wood flooring supplier is struggling to give you the detail you’re seeking regarding the lamella, it’s probably time to walk away and find another supplier! One further question you should be posing your flooring supplier is the fixing method used to stick the lamella to the core board. Different adhesive options will result in different qualities of finish and wear; so do make sure you seek advice from your supplier before making your final decision.