Engineered Wood Flooring

Everything you want to know about engineered wood flooring – and how it compares to solid hardwood.

As you consider what kind of high-quality hardwood flooring to install in your home or commercial setting, one of the biggest choices is between solid and durable engineered wood flooring. This introduction to engineered wood flooring is designed to answer questions and offer resources that can help to make the decision easier.

What is engineered wood flooring?

Engineered wood flooring uses boards that are made of layers rather than solid wood. The top layer of engineered wood flooring is typically made of a hardwood – engineered Hickory flooring or Walnut flooring are common choices, as is Oak, Maple and Cherry. Beneath this veneer are multiple layers of wood or plywood that help to form a very stable core which is less likely to expand or contract when exposed to changes in temperature and humidity. Consequently, engineered wood flooring is ideal for installations where solid hardwood can’t be used, such as basements, over radiant heating systems or on concrete.

Is there any limitation to where you can use engineered flooring?

In following the guidance of the NWFA (National Wood Flooring Association) engineered flooring performs best in the 30-55% relative humidity range. Engineered flooring typically does not like drier climates or climates that experience seasonal drops in relative humidity. In areas where the relative humidity drops 30% for an extended period engineered flooring can experience cracks in wear layer due to excessive dryness. This is not a defect in the product. It is simply the reaction of the structure to an overly dry environment.

What is wide plank engineered wood flooring?

Wide plank flooring refers to floors that use boards which are much wider than the typical 2¼” to 3” boards used in commercial flooring. A wide plank floor may use boards that are 8” to 20” or more, creating a more striking and distinctive look that allows the grain and the personality of the hardwood to shine through. Wide plank engineered wood flooring is simply engineered hardwood flooring that comes in greater widths.

How is engineered hardwood flooring from Carlisle different?

Carlisle engineered hardwood flooring is significantly superior to other options. Carlisle engineered floors are:

• Thicker. Our standard engineered floor is 3/4“ thick, while the industry standard is 1/4” – 1/2”.

• Stronger. We use Baltic birch as backing material – the layers beneath the top veneer – rather than plywood or fiberboard. This hardwood is highly resistant to changes in moisture and humidity and helps to create a stronger floor.

• More stable. Floors like our engineered white oak wood flooring have 9 to 11 plies, or sub layers, depending on the overall thickness of the floor, while the industry standard is 3 to 5 plies.

• Wider and longer. Our engineered boards come in widths up to 10” and lengths up to 12’. The industry standard for engineered flooring is 3” wide by 3’ long.

• Crafted carefully. Our Slowcraft™ production process is monitored by craftsmen, in stark contrast to engineered floors that are mass produced by a machine.

• Long-lasting. With a thicker top layer (also called the “wear layer”), Carlisle engineered wood flooring will last as long as our solid wood floors, while thinly engineered and mass-produced floors by our competitors may have a very short lifecycle.

• Warranty: We offer a Refinishing Warranty which guarantees that you can sand your floor up to 3 times over the life of the floor, which is the same number of times you can sand a solid floor.

How to customize your Carlisle engineered wood flooring

The high quality of our product means that you can customize your engineered wood flooring as easily as you would customize a solid wood floor.

Choosing the wood – You have a wide range of options for your Carlisle engineered wood flooring. Offering 10 hardwood species you may choose your engineered wood floor based on hardness, grain pattern color and character.

Select the grade – The grade of your timber can produce a style that is rustic, luxurious or something in between. We don’t offer Original Grade in engineered so I would say. Our heirloom grade flooring is our most refined flooring with fewer knots and variation in natural character. If you want to consider adding a more organic feel to the floor we offer our signature grade engineered flooring which will include knots and greater natural variation.

Determine the width – Choose from boards that are 4” to 10”, mixing widths for more visual variety or keeping widths consistent for greater uniformity.

Decide on stain and finish – Our engineered wood flooring can be finished to virtually any color and thousands of looks.

Settle on a pattern – Patterns add elegance and visual interest, making your distinctive floor even more visually stunning.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is it best to use engineered wood flooring?

Engineered wood flooring is ideal for basements or other rooms below ground level where temperature changes and humidity may cause the floor to expand and contract more dramatically. Engineered wood flooring is also a good choice to install over concrete or over radiant heating systems. Engineered flooring was originally created to improve performance in higher humidity environments. In areas where relative humidity consistently drops below 30% for extended periods of time a solid structure should be considered.

What is the difference between hardwood and engineered hardwood flooring?

When looking at Carlisle solid and engineered hardwood flooring, there is virtually no difference to the eye as we use the exact wood to craft both structures. This is not true for all flooring so be sure to compare the visual impact of choosing an engineered or solid floor. Both types of flooring are available in a wide range of hardwoods and may be colored and finished in a broad range of hues and textures.

What is engineered hardwood flooring made of?

Engineered hardwood flooring is made of a top level of hardwood – this is the layer that is visible and that gets walked on. Beneath the top layer are 3 to 11 layers of backing material which may also be hardwood, plywood or fiberboard.

How durable is engineered hardwood flooring?

While solid hardwood floors are known for their durability over many years, engineered hardwood flooring is known for its durability in rooms where moisture may be present. The multiple layers of wood and plywood that make up an engineered floorboard help to keep the floor from expanding or contracting as temperatures and humidity rise and fall.

The Carlisle difference: wide plank engineered wood flooring

Why choose engineered wood flooring from Carlisle? Apart from the superior quality of our engineered floors and the greater options for customization, you can count on our team to provide exceptional service throughout the process. From your initial conversation with our flooring specialists, to your comprehensive consultation with design experts, to the day your floor is delivered and installed, our guides will help you find the right flooring for your home, your lifestyle and your budget.