Engineered Wide Plank Flooring
Beauty, Stability, Environmentally Sound
At Vermont Plank Flooring, we take the recipe for engineered flooring and dramatically improve upon it. We fuse the highest quality materials and then stir in the most advanced technologies to create wide plank engineered flooring that is far superior to the industry standard.
By slicing hardwood into thin plies, and then restacking them with the grain running in alternate directions, you create an incredibly strong and stable structure. Top that with a layer of your chosen hardwood (or premium pine) species, and you have flooring that is as beautiful as it is sturdy.
To a traditionalist, engineered hardwood flooring may seem objectionable. The term “engineered” implies it was designed and constructed, as opposed to having simply grown in the woods, fueled by sunshine, soil, and rain.
And in many cases, that traditionalist makes a good argument. Unadulterated solid wood is beautiful and sturdy and pure. But it has limitations.
Solid wood, as a formerly living entity, continues to react to its environment, most noticeably by expanding and contracting due to changes in temperature and humidity, and by warping, buckling, or splitting if it is in prolonged contact with excessive wetness.
As such, in locations that regularly confront moisture, the stability of engineered planks is recommended to combat movement and degradation. And one doesn’t have to live in a rainforest to encounter excessive moisture.
Planks laid in bathrooms, laundry rooms, below grade in basement rooms, or anywhere when laid directly on concrete, all have the potential for degradation due to moisture, even in relatively dry climates.
How Do Vermont Plank Flooring’s Engineered Planks Differ from the Competition?
No matter what engineered hardwood flooring you buy, it will contain a top (or “wear”) layer, backed by a number of layers of plywood core material. The wear layer, which you will see and walk directly on each day is, in most engineered flooring products, generally a one-to-three millimeter-thick lamella of hardwood.
But at Vermont Plank Flooring, we insist on a five-millimeter lamella, and we mill that lamella from the same high-quality, sustainably harvested trees that produce our solid hardwood planks. This thickness and quality relate directly to the lifespan of the floor. The thicker and higher grade the wear layer, the more times the flooring has the potential for sanding and refinishing.
While refinishing a hardwood floor is not something you want to do very often (the average floor is refinished every 15-20 years), it’s nice to know that your floor has the potential for rejuvenation if it is showing a lot of wear.
With a 5-millimeter wear layer, you have the capability of performing four to six sandings and refinishings, ultimately providing for a 60- to 120-year lifespan for your floor. Thinner lamellas will allow for fewer refinishings and, as a result, will need replacement sooner.
Below the wear layer is the core. While most manufacturers utilize thin layers of plywood for the core, their products vary in how many layers, and in the quality of those layers. Anywhere from three to nine layers of plywood is the industry standard, but at Vermont Plank Flooring, we use 11 layers.
Most of our competition uses regular grade plywood, which typically includes layers with flaws and voids. But we insist on the highest-grade Baltic birch plywood. Baltic birch’s solid void-free veneer layers are 1.5-millimeters thick and cross-banded, making a flatter, more balanced, and highly stable sheet.
All of these layers are glued together. Most manufacturers rely on formaldehyde-based glues, which are strong, but they off-gas potentially harmful fumes. We use only formaldehyde-free adhesives in our engineered products because we value the health of our workers and our customers.
What Does Vermont Plank Flooring’s Manufacturing Process Look Like?
Great flooring, whether solid hardwood or engineered, comes from healthy and fully mature trees. At Vermont Plank Flooring, we only work with sustainably-minded woodlot owners, often with FSC-certification, who patiently allow their trees to reach full maturity and select only the healthiest ones to harvest.
That domestic hardwood lumber is brought to our family-owned facility in southern Vermont and is ripped into wide-plank boards that meet the dimensional and grading specifications of an individual client.
Those ripped planks are then moved across our facility to the Wintersteiger, which is the machine that slices the thin lamellas from the thicker planks of lumber. The lamellas are then glued to the Baltic birch backing, and the newly engineered plank is then run through the molder, which cuts the precision tongue and groove along the long edges of the plank. The end-matching saw then adds the tongue and groove to the short ends of the plank.
What Will Wide Plank Engineered Flooring Look Like in My Home?
Our engineered flooring is constructed completely in-house, with the finest equipment and the highest level of quality control. We can produce engineered planks that are end-matched up to 12” wide, and up to 16 feet long. And, we’ll apply any finish options that are available for a particular species in its solid wood version.
So, you can match the dimensions and finish of your engineered flooring to that of your solid hardwood, if you choose to utilize both in different areas of your house. Your engineered flooring can be nailed, stapled, or glued to your wood or concrete subfloor.
Wide plank engineered flooring will provide the same stunning statement in your home that solid hardwood flooring will, but with added stability and durability.