What are Some Types of Engineered Flooring?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 27 March 2020
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Engineered flooring was introduced to the market after the Second World War, and quickly became highly popular, with almost half of new floors installed at the end of the twentieth century being made from engineered flooring products. In addition to being relatively easy to install, engineered flooring is durable and comes in a wide variety of shapes and patterns. Unlike traditional floors, engineered flooring also installs very quickly, which is useful for families who intend to live in their homes while reflooring them.

Engineered flooring is created by layering a veneer over a layer of hardwood, plywood, or high density fiber. The bottom layer is never seen, but provides support and stability to the thin layer of veneer. The veneer is usually thick enough to permit sanding one to two times, so high traffic areas of the floor are capable of being refinished. The veneer is of a higher quality than the thin photographic layer used on laminate flooring.

Engineered flooring comes in three basic types, depending upon the installation. The flooring can be floated, glued, or stapled. Depending on the home and the application, one type may be better suited than another. All of the types of engineered flooring involve a tongue and groove style assembly, where one piece locks into the next. In some cases, engineered flooring is designed to just snap together without adhesive, usually in the case of floating floors.


Floating floors are installed over a thin pad on the subfloor and glued or snapped together. Some manufacturers claim that their floating floors can be installed directly over thin carpeting, treating the carpet as a pad. Glued engineered flooring is attached directly to the subfloor using a strong adhesive. Nailed or stapled floors are installed much like conventional hardwood floors, using small flooring nails or staples to secure the floor.

Engineered flooring is made in almost every hardwood that exists, and can be found at a range of prices. Usually the engineered flooring is also prefinished, so that it is ready for use directly after installation. In addition to being produced in a wide variety of woods, manufacturers also make engineered flooring in several basic configurations. Consumers can purchase long strips of flooring which will come together to look like a traditional plank floor, or they can purchase a variety of other patterned floors such as parquet flooring.

The options with engineered flooring are quite varied, and many consumers combine several finishes or types of engineered flooring in their homes for a creative floor pattern. A common choice, for example, is a darker hardwood such as Brazilian Cherry around the edges of the room, and a more pale wood like white oak or ash in the middle.



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