What people often fail to consider, is that wood is substantially composed of water. This has some important consequences: principally, that it will expand and contract when subjected to environmental changes in temperature and humidity. Unequal stresses within sawn timber will cause otherwise flat planks to expand, contract and exhibit curved distortion. The degree to which wood planks move once they have been installed is entirely determined by the type and construction of the planks. Only a correctly engineered wide-plank wood floor can offer complete stability…..
The construction of a properly engineered wide-plank serves to counteract the forces that make wood expand and contract across the direction of the grain. Element7’s premium-engineered blocked and balanced wide-planks are more expensive than either non-engineered solid wood planks or less well-engineered variants. There is a good reason for this: their technical supremacy makes them far more stable. Inferior-quality engineered boards include, unbalanced ply-backed veneers (a wood veneer on top of plywood), planks of two- rather than three-layer construction, top and bottom layers of different wood species, poorly bonded layers, and inadequate quality control in the precision-machining. Such cost cutting compromises the performance of engineered wood.
The Wide-Plank Benchmark
The wood-engineering technique used in the construction of an Element7, top-of-the-range wide-plank, is internationally recognised as the industry benchmark. The core or inner layer is softwood (not plywood), it is formed from blocks with alternating and opposing grains (blocked), this layer runs at right angles to the two outer layers. Softwood can withstand considerable bending and distortional forces along its grain and resist any dimensional tendency of the outer layers to change as a result of fluctuations in temperature or humidity. This is a painstaking process, but it is necessary to guarantee resistance to any possible warping effects. The top and bottom layers of the engineered flooring should be of the same wood species, and in identical dimensions (balanced): crucially, having the same expansion and contraction characteristics allows any stress or strain forces to be cancelled out through the core layer.