Engineered wood flooring is a really popular flooring solution for anyone who is seeking a wood flooring option that’ll stand up to moisture and temperature differences, or to fit over under floor heating. Engineered wood flooring is essentially a man-made flooring board that is made with wood products. It has been developed over the years and is now a real contender for the top spot, even in rooms where moisture and temperature changes aren’t an issue.
This flooring product is constructed by bonding together anything from 3 to 12 layers of ply that, in some cases are cross-layered and then glued and pressed together to create a really sold core board. Thereafter, there’s typically either a hard or soft plywood element that provides the tongue and groove element of the board. Once the core boards have been created they’re topped off with a solid wood top layer or lamella of pretty much any species of wood you can imagine.
If you’ve decided that engineered wood flooring is the best solution for your flooring project, you’ll no doubt be thinking about which species of wood you’d prefer as well as which finish might work best for you. But you’re also likely to be debating over the benefits of 3-ply or multi-ply options. So how do you decide between the two?
Three ply engineered wood boards, as the name suggests, are made up of three layers of: lamella, core layer and base layer, whereas a multi-ply board’s core is made up with more layers of ply in its centre. What’s more, the centre of a three-ply board is normally made up of a single block board, whereas a multi-ply board is made up of a range of layers that are glued together. A common problem with three-ply boards is that the tongue and grooves are less resilient than in multi-ply boards.
Making your choice will depend upon three key elements:
- Your budget. Generally speaking, a 3-ply board will be cheaper than a multi-ply board because there is less work involved in its construction. In addition, the thinner the board and the thinner the lamella, the cheaper the product will be. With both three and multi-ply options, you should be able to find anything from a 15mm thick board that has a 3mm top layer up to a 20mm board with a 6mm lamella. Needless to say, the thicker the board, the more stable your floor is likely to be, but in places where your subfloor is dry and level, you should be able to get away with a thinner board, which will cost you less.
- The conditions. When you are deciding between three ply and multi-ply engineered wood flooring, it’s important to consider the conditions in your room, as well as the moisture content of the sub floor. A three-ply board is more likely to risk damage through moisture and temperature fluctuations than a multi-ply board.
- Whether or not you have under floor heating. If you have under floor heating, because of the direct influence of the heat, multi-ply boards are generally recommended. That said, the board you choose needs to be suitable for installation over under floor heating. If you are in any doubt, you should check with your flooring supplier.
Comparison Between 3-Ply and Multi-Ply Engineered Flooring
|Features||3-Ply Engineered Flooring||Multi-Ply Engineered Flooring|
|Construction||Made up of three layers: lamella, core layer, and base layer. The center is typically a single block board.||Made up of more layers of ply in the core. The center consists of several layers glued together.|
|Cost||Generally cheaper because there is less work involved in its construction.||Typically more expensive due to the additional layers and work involved in its construction.|
|Resilience to Room Conditions||More likely to risk damage from moisture and temperature fluctuations.||Better equipped to withstand moisture and temperature fluctuations.|
|Underfloor Heating Compatibility||May not be as suitable for underfloor heating as multi-ply.||Generally recommended for underfloor heating due to the resilience of multiple layers.|
|Overall Stability||Generally less stable compared to multi-ply due to fewer layers.||More stable due to more layers, providing a stronger and more resilient structure.|
So, in summary, which is better, 3 ply or multi-ply engineered flooring? Like many things in life, it’s not a case of one or the other; it’s a case of working out which best suits your particular project.
How are 3-ply and multi-ply engineered flooring constructed?
3-ply engineered flooring is made up of three layers: the lamella, core layer, and base layer, typically forming a single block board in the center. On the other hand, multi-ply engineered flooring is constructed with more layers of ply in the core, with several layers glued together at the center.
Which is more expensive: 3-ply or multi-ply engineered flooring?
Generally, 3-ply engineered flooring is cheaper because there is less work involved in its construction. Multi-ply engineered flooring is typically more expensive due to the additional layers and work involved in its construction.
Which type of engineered flooring is more resilient to room conditions?
Multi-ply engineered flooring is better equipped to withstand moisture and temperature fluctuations, making it more resilient to varying room conditions than 3-ply engineered flooring.
Which type of engineered flooring is recommended for underfloor heating?
Multi-ply engineered flooring is generally recommended for underfloor heating due to the resilience of its multiple layers.
Which type of engineered flooring is more stable?
Multi-ply engineered flooring is typically more stable due to its multiple layers, providing a stronger and more resilient structure. On the other hand, 3-ply engineered flooring is generally less stable because of its fewer layers.