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Engineered and Natural Floor Coverings

written by: Suvo • edited by: Rebecca Scudder • updated: 6/11/2011

Various techniques are available for creating flooring using wood and wood-like materials. This article will help you to understand the difference in wood flooring vs engineered wood vs wood.

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    The wood and wood like floorings (or wood based flooring) are used in many buildings instead of the marble or carpet floorings. In order to explain what is the difference in wood flooring vs engineered wood vs wood, we will explain each of them separately. But before going there, let's see the common advantages of any wood based flooring over the other materials like carpets etc.

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    Advantage of Wood Based Flooring

    • The look and the feel of the wood based flooring is more appealing than the carpet and/or marble flooring.
    • The color and the textures of the wood based floor is more permanent in nature.
    • Cleaning of wood based flooring is comparatively easier; vacuuming or damp mopping is all you need to do.
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    What is Wood and Wood-like Flooring?

    • The floor is covered by the small but mostly equal pieces of planks decoratively joined with each other.
    • The classification of such flooring is done based on the material used for the purpose of flooring. The various types are: solid wood flooring, engineered wood flooring, and laminate flooring.
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    Solid Wood Flooring

    • The small solid hardwood pieces, created by sawing the solid hardwood planks, are placed adjacent to each other for constructing this type of wood based floor.
    • The glued finger joints are used for joining the planks with each other.

    Solid Wood Flooring  

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    Engineered Wood Flooring

    • Engineered wood flooring is cheaper, and is a stronger alternative than solid wood flooring.
    • Each engineered wood flooring piece has a typical construction:

    Engineered Wood Flooring  

    • The top layer is of varnish or melamine. This layer acts much like a protective coating.
    • The second layer is of hardwood like ash, teak, oak, etc.
    • The third layer is made up of softwood planks oriented 90 degrees to the second layer.
    • The bottom layer is made up of hard wood planks oriented 90 degrees to the third layer.
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    Laminate Flooring

    • None of the layers of laminate flooring planks are necessarily made up of wood.
    • The top and the bottom most layer are made of scratch resistant melamine.
    • A few layers after the top layer are made up of printed glue soaked paper. Wooden texture is printed on the paper. Since the melamine coating is transparent, you can see the wooden texture from the top.
    • The middle layer or the core is either made up of fiberboard (MDF, HDF) or plywood.
    • The fiberboard core is made by gluing and hot pressing wooden or agricultural fibers.
    • The plywood core is made by gluing and hot pressing thin wooden veneers. Each of the layers are oriented 90 degrees to the next consecutive layer.

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    Conclusion

    Since you now know the difference in wood flooring vs engineered wood vs wood, you have three choices for wood based floorings:solid wood flooring, engineered wood flooring, and laminate flooring.

    • Cost wise, the solid wood flooring is highest and laminate flooring is lowest.
    • Strength wise, solid wood flooring comes at the bottom.
    • Aesthetically, there is no comparison to solid wood flooring.
    • Sanding is possible to remove scratches from engineered wood or from the solid wood flooring but not from laminated flooring.

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