Engineered Hardwood Flooring FAQ – Gaylord Flooring

Engineered Hardwood Flooring FAQ

What is Engineered Flooring?

Engineered Maple with Gran Marnier Stain

Gaylord Engineered Flooring is far from ordinary and is a great solution for those wanting a hardwood floor, but perhaps do not have the appropriate situation. Our Gaylord Engineered Product is made up of two incredible layers. The top layer is 4.2mm (3/16”) of solid wood that sits upon a solid layer of exterior grade Baltic birch. When you are beginning the search for engineered flooring, it is important to question what the product is made of, what each layer consists of, and the quality put into each layer. We have seen an immense amount of POOR products that will continue to fail when put into your environment. Often engineered floors are made of poor quality plywood, HDF, or other unsafe materials.

Do I really need engineered flooring?

We get a lot of questions about engineered hardwood floors, and Client’s requesting that they NEED engineered flooring. It is important to think about your project and your situation and decide if engineered is the right product for your project. The truth is, engineered flooring is not without problems and is not bulletproof as many box stores will mislead you to believe. Engineered hardwood flooring is a natural product, the solid hardwood layer on top will still behave like solid hardwood. The only time you need engineered flooring is if it is being installed on concrete or below grade. Engineered flooring is also an excellent choice for over radiant heat. It is more stable and gives you the ability to go with a wider plank. Although it is slightly more stable, relative humidity must be controlled

Do I need to control my humidity?

With engineered hardwood flooring, your relative humidity should be controlled within the recommended range of 30-50%. Be cautious of companies and manufacturers that boast that their product can perform well in extreme humidity. Be sure to check the warranty and examine what it covers? Engineered flooring is not bulletproof – and will crack & check if the hardwood flooring becomes too dry. This is caused by the surface wood layer shrinking when it becomes too dry, and the plywood layer does not move in the same fashion.
Moisture Content of Wood with relative humidity chart

Have more questions about relative humidity? Learn more about the humidity in your home here

What should I be looking for in a wear layer?

We have seen a huge range of different engineered products that are on the market, and the search for the right product for your project can be overwhelming. It is important to find the right balance between your surface wear layer and your plywood layer.

The issues with a thin engineered flooring wear layer

Dry Climates will cause dry cupping which occurs when the surface wood layer shrinks, causing the lower layers to move accordingly, which is often known as dry cupping. Despite the problematic nature, it also does not feel like a wood floor. Often, a thin wear layer produces a cheap feeling floor, which feels hallow and crunchy when walked on.
Engineered Floor with thin wear layer and poor plywood below

The issues with having too thick of an engineered flooring wear layer

When the surface layer is too thick, it becomes overpowering. The surface wear layer overpowers the plywood below and ultimately defeats the purpose of purchasing an engineered floor. Typically, these floors will delaminate and be problematic for your project.
Sample of a thick wear layer on an engineered floor

Why the Gaylord Hardwood Flooring wear layer is the right proportion

Our engineered is the perfect balance of surface layer and plywood layer. Our thick surface layer (4.2mm) does not overpower the plywood layer below. Although we have the right balance of wear layer and plywood, it does not mean our engineered product is without problems. If the relative humidity becomes out of range, and the environment becomes too dry, our flooring will crack and check. This cracking and checking is due to the surface layer shrinking as moisture is pulled from the natural wood, and the plywood backing does not allow for this movement. Ours won’t dry cup or delaminate, but small cracks will appear if the environment is jeopardized.
Sample of Gaylord Hardwood Flooring Engineered with the perfect balance

Is my engineered floor more durable?

Many box stores lead Clients to think that engineered floors are bulletproof and have greater durability than solid hardwood.

This is False!

Engineered floors have solid hardwood on top and in turn, will have the same durability as your solid wood floor. Our product is finished through the same process as our solid hardwood flooring; resulting in the same finish & same 40-year finish warranty. Allowing your salesperson to learn more about your project, your lifestyle, and traffic in your home is the first step for a more durable floor. Secondly, choosing the right species, finish, and product for your project will allow for greater wear and tear and satisfaction over the years with your flooring.

What is the thickness of an engineered floor?

We have seen a huge array of different thicknesses of engineered hardwood floors. It is important to consider the thickness of your engineered floor, especially if it will be meeting up with other textiles in your home. Unlike the other engineered floors on the market today, ours is a full 3/4” thick. The thickness creates a natural, solid feel when you walk on it and can be refinished if ever necessary. Here are some “comparable” engineered floors available for purchase on the market; we think the pictures speak for themselves!

Comparison of the huge range of products of engineered floors on the market


What are the board lengths in your Engineered Hardwood?

Board Lengths are critical to consider during the process of purchasing your hardwood flooring. They have the ability to open up space and create visual continuity. Our engineered flooring has incredible board lengths, with board lengths up to 12’ long! The average board lengths are around 6-7’ long, and in random lengths to create a natural look. It is important to discover and ask questions about the lengths of the boards when you are shopping for any hardwood floor. Most engineered floors are fixed lengths or a combination of a couple of different lengths, creating a patterned, unnatural look for your wood floor.

Gaylord Hardwood Engineered in a grey tone Choppy floor from fixed short lengths

What are the installation methods for an engineered floor?

Depends on your project and your preference; if you are installing onto a plywood subfloor, the product can be nailed down or installed using our wide plank installation method. 
On concrete or below grade you have two installation options. You can choose to do a floating floor installation where it is glued at the tongue and groove and floated over a quality underlayment, or you can opt for the full-glue down approach. 
Please watch these videos for more information.

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