Engineered Flooring is a relatively stable form of wood flooring made from a thin, real wood floorboard that is bonded to a stable base (or substrate). The wooden layer – also known as the “wear layer” – can vary from 2.5mm to 6mm in thickness.
The idea behind Engineered flooring is that the wear layer is kept flat and stable by the base, so preventing the board from expanding or contracting. This makes if particularly well suited for installations using Under Floor Heating .
The method of construction of the lower portion of the board (substrate) will take into account the thickness of the wear layer and the likely uses for the board – whether it is designed to be structural (i.e. load bearing over joists) or more cosmetic.
The base, or substrate, material can be made of different constructions, as covered in our post “How to choose between Solid and Engineered Wood Floors” and different manufactures will argue the merits of their preferred construction. Many industry experts will agree that Plywood is the best substrate and that Birch Plywood is the best plywood. ( Much – but not all – European production is made using Birch Plywood ).
Other manufacturers will argue that their floors are not designed to be structural and, as the boards will only ever be under compression, a softwood core will more than suffice.