Offering superior durability over traditional solid hardwood floors, engineered hardwood flooring is available in a versatile variety of species, widths, textures and finishes to add elegance and
value to your home. Nearly indistinguishable from solid planks once it is installed, these high-tech boards let you enjoy the beauty and warmth of hardwood floors throughout your entire home or
Available in the market since the 1960s, today's engineered hardwood provides a quality flooring product that captures the natural characteristics of real wood while providing greater stability,
particularly in areas that have humidity and temperature fluctuations. Global Alliance is so confident in the quality of this factory-produced product's ability to withstand the demands of daily
life that we provide a 25-year residential warranty.
The hardwood lamella comes in a range of thicknesses between .5-mm and 4.5-mm. Thicker
boards do not have as much flex and are less sensitive to moisture, so they provide greater stability over the lifetime of the flooring. Thicker veneers can also be sanded and refinished more
times. The number of layers in the core substrate is also important because each ply increases the dimensional stability.
Thicker planks are also often used to cover awkward transitions between different flooring materials. It is usually more expensive to buy a thicker plywood underlayment in order to raise a floor
to make it flush with a tiled kitchen or carpeted living room. By using thicker engineered wood planks, you can seamlessly bridge these transitions without the need for installing unsightly
strips or trimming down doors.
It is extremely important that you understand which materials are used in the core
substrate because this directly impacts the strength, stability and durability of engineered hardwood floors. Plywood is the most common product used for the wood structural panels. A staple of
the construction industry, this hardy board is manufactured from thin plies of wood slices and assembled in crosswise layers to create a stiff plank. Premium boards sometimes utilize small pieces
of milled timber to add extra strength. Core layers made of high density fiberboard (HDF) help to reduce the overall cost, but the material is generally considered inferior to plywood because it
is more susceptible to moisture. Some manufacturers also use lower-quality oriented strand board (OSB) or finger core milled timber.
While the construction of engineered hardwood makes it more resistant to moisture and
seasonal fluctuations, it is still susceptible to water damage. Engineered wood floors should not be installed in rooms that have high humidity, which increases the risk of warping and mold
growth. Pet urine as well as burst pipes and slow leaks from bathtubs, dishwashers and sinks can seriously damage floors. In high-risk areas, it is a good practice to allow for air movement
between the flooring and foundation so that moisture can dry out. Basements and concrete subfloors require glue down or floating floor systems.
With the right product and proper maintenance, engineered hardwood floors can withstand
decades of foot traffic, moving furniture, bouncing kids' toys and pet claws. Depending on the type of wood and the thickness of the top wear layer, you can expect your investment to last 20 to
80 years. Global Alliance offers a 5-year commercial and 25-year residential warranty on our engineered hardwood flooring in Toronto. Some manufacturers boast that their products last a lifetime,
ranging anywhere from 40 to 80 years. In order to achieve these types of results, you must take excellent care of your floors, choose a hardy wood species and floor finishing as well as buy
planks with a thicker top layer that can be sanded and restored two or three times.
A high-quality finish and the number of coats are critical to prolonging the life of your
floors because these factors determine how well they withstand surface wear. Global Alliance's engineered hardwood floor products are coated with 10 separate layers of an aluminum oxide finish,
which is one of hardest finishes available on the market. Premium products have between five and 10 coats of finish applied to the top layer to bolster scratch resistance, guard against
oxidization and moisture, prevent stains, increase strength and durability and solidly seal the surface. This protective top coat is your barrier from everyday wear and tear.
Global Alliance utilizes a sophisticated technique that adds aluminum oxide chips to the clear urethane finish on our engineered hardwood floor products. This additive not only increases the life
of the floor but also provides more abrasion resistance. Our UV-cured factory finish penetrates the top wood layer, providing greater resistance to traffic while enhancing the grain of the
All hardwood flooring naturally reacts to ambient light as it ages, but direct sunlight
exposure can darken or lighten an exposed area. An aluminum oxide finish paired with a UV coating helps slow this shading process. Also be mindful of occasionally moving your furniture and rugs
around the room to prevent noticeable spots from forming. Mats and rugs with latex, vinyl or rubber backing also contribute to floor discoloration. Choose an underlay that has a breathable mesh
or grid pattern.
The short answer is yes, but there are multiple factors to consider before restoring an
engineered floor. Since the planks have a thin veneer of hardwood, you only have so much product to sand down before hitting the core layer. The sanding process removes 1/32 of an inch, so a 2-mm
layer can be sanded once or twice. In contrast, a hardwood floor can withstand between seven and 10 refinishes every 10 to 20 years.
Thinner surfaces and floating floors cannot be refurbished. However, modern technologies have produced such high-quality finishes that a majority of floors never need restoration. Additionally,
it is often cheaper to professionally repair a damaged area than invest in an extensive refinishing process. It is important to note that refinishing a floor will void the manufacturer's
warranty. You will also lose the artistic bevels and textured finishes, such as hand scraped or wire brushed.
There is a great deal of design versatility in engineered hardwood floors. Whether you
want elegant cherry, rustic oak or exotic Tigerwood, you will find all the beautiful wood species, stain colors and finishes available among solid hardwood selections. Once installed, it is
almost impossible to distinguish between a hardwood floor that was born in a factory or a forest. One notable difference is that all engineered hardwood planks have micro-bevel edging although
many prefinished solid hardwoods also have these shallow V-shaped grooves.
Since the top of engineered hardwood is actual wood, you still get the same amazing grain detail and natural character found in solid hardwood. The Global Alliance showroom is stocked with nearly
two dozen engineered hardwood floor options that range in stain color palettes and surface texture treatments. Our entry-level soft scraped line is made from maple and available in five creamy
brown, gray and black tones.
Our wire brushed oak line is a hardy product that cleverly masks mishaps and surface wear. Our premium hand scraped hickory flooring is prized for being the hardiest wood species and offering a
distinctive beauty with its varied grain pattern. Our floating floors are available in oak and maple varieties.
The width of the boards that you choose is another style choice. Traditional narrow boards
give off a more formal feel while wider planks over 5 inches convey a more casual tone and rustic, vintage vibe. The superb dimensional stability provided by engineered hardwood allows for larger
planks that can exceed 7 inches in width. Solid hardwoods generally cannot go beyond 5 inches because of the susceptibility to humidity and temperature fluctuations. While wider boards naturally
have more shrinking and swelling than narrow strips, this movement is minimized with an engineered hardwood product.
Global Alliance carries a range of sizes in engineered hardwood, including ½" x 4 ¾" and ½" x 5" as well as ¾" x 5" and ¾" x 6". Per industry standard, our product is sold in random lengths,
which allows the staggering of boards to achieve your perfect aesthetic. Product packaging indicates the shortest and longest lengths, and the rest of the boards fall within this spectrum.
Consumers often assume that engineered hardwood flooring is less expensive since it is
manufactured instead of naturally harvested. However, there are several factors that determine the cost. Like hardwood, engineered wood varies in price by species of wood and overall product
quality. Exotic and hardy species, the thickness of the plank as well as the core's materials and depth of layers are all factors that influence price.
The installation method also affects how much you will need to spend on materials, such as glue or underlayment, as well as the amount of time you invest in laying the flooring down. The cheapest
engineered hardwood installation method is generally floating planks since it does not require nails, staples, glue or professional experience.
However, when all things are equal, engineered hardwood is often cheaper than its solid hardwood counterpart. Market prices for both types range from $3 to $14 per square foot. While it is
tempting to choose the lowest price, be aware that cheaply made products do not last as long as premium products that have thick veneers and a multi-layered substrate. Discount rates with our
manufacturing partners allow Global Alliance to carry nearly two dozen premium varieties that average $4-$8 per square foot.
Global Alliance is committed to stocking an array of traditional and trendy engineered
hardwood flooring options in Toronto. While we expect many of our products to remain in stock for years to come, we cannot guarantee that our manufacturers will not discontinue or update their
product lines. We recommend purchasing an extra 10-20 percent of your estimated square footage. You will need more than your initial estimate for defective materials and installation wastage,
such as cutting boards to fit specific areas. You will also want to keep some on hand for potential repairs.
Follow these simple cleaning tips to keep your floors looking like new:
· While the 10 coats of aluminum oxide finish provide an excellent barrier, you should still take
precautions to wipe up liquid spills immediately and regularly check for leaking water. An entry door rug can catch dirt and rain, helping you to minimize what is tracked into the house.
· Some hardwood species are more sensitive than others to dents and dings. It is a good practice to
remove shoes at the door, particularly if you wear spiked heels or steel-toe shoes. This also prevents sharp objects embedded in shoe tread from scraping across the floor. Add floor protectors on
the legs of heavy furniture to prevent scratching and indentations, and keep your animals' nails trimmed.
· Protect the floor from direct sunlight with window treatments and rugs. However, you should
periodically move rugs and furniture around to prevent the natural discoloration that can occur when a spot has been covered for too long.
· For more tips, consult your care and maintenance guide included with your product. You can also
Global Alliance at any time to ask for our expert advice about engineered
hardwood flooring in Toronto.