As a substitute to solid hardwood, engineered flooring can be applied on any floor of the home, from the attic to the basement as well as on top of radiant heat or concrete. To be convenient, engineered flooring comprises of three to nine plies, or wood veneers, of the same or different species. The top veneer, or wear layer, is a high quality hardwood, and the grain in each faces a different direction. This structure lets the wood to expand and contract much less from heat and humidity and, and therefore, is more stable for more locations inside a home or building.
For the installation, engineered flooring can be glued down, floated, or stapled to a subfloor. Even though most products offer a choice of installation procedures, following the manufacturer’s instructions always give the optimal result. Generally, installation procedures are likely to follow one of the three below.
Engineered flooring is usually glued down onto a subfloor, typically concrete. This process is complicated for the average person to do without support; a professional should be brought in. It does not matter who installs the hardwood, he or she scatters a trowel of adhesive – water-based, urethane-based, or acrylic – over an area of four feet, or for 12 rows of three inch wide boards. The boards are then put on top of the adhesive until the whole area is covered. This procedure repeats until the full room is covered.
Planks can be stapled over a subfloor with specialized equipment. While the subfloor has to be plywood, underlayment, solid wood, or tongue and groove wood subflooring, the staples keep the hardwood constantly in place through resin. As a result of the force of the staple going through the hardwood, friction heats up and functions like an adhesive to hold the board in place. For a tighter fit, boards may have to be tapped together with a mallet.
Floating engineered flooring is probably the easiest installation method for a layman. On a simple level, boards are placed on underlayment over a subfloor and are attached without fasteners; for certain products, like glue, a mallet, and tapping block will be needed. Instructions and guidelines vary for each floating product, however installation falls into one of three types: glue and tap, wherein glue is added to the tongue, and two boards are then tapped together; click and lock, where boards are built with a mechanized attachment system; or lock and fold, by which two boards are attached together and folded down.
Regardless of what the method specified, installation for engineered flooring needs underlayment to be put down first. The boards are then mounted in line with the longest parallel wall, staggered 17 to 24 inches apart after which dragged together and attached. The full floor, however, works like a unit as soon as all planks are installed, expanding and contracting together, and in order to prevent future buckling, an expansion space should be added between the boards and the wall.