October 10/17, 2016: Volume 31, Number 9
By Reginald Tucker
The age-old “engineered vs. solid” argument, as it turns out, has more to do with where a product is installed—geographically and within the home—as opposed to a style or personal preference by the consumer, specifier or end user. For example, a solid product constructed for more moderate temperatures might not hold up well in a climate prone to high humidity.
Truth be told, many consumers usually don’t consider a particular product’s construction when paring down their options. Rather, shoppers are more likely to put a greater emphasis on a product’s color, style or design.
In response, suppliers are developing new products to make sure they have all the bases covered in terms of engineered and solid formats. In some cases, manufacturers are offering new engineered products that mimic the thickness of traditional ¾-inch floors while still meeting their design requirements.
Following are some recent introductions:
DuChâteau, the famed luxury lifestyle brand, offers the Strata Collection, a new line of finely textured engineered hardwood floors that seek to offer a different take on character-grade flooring. This new offering, which replaces the long-running Fine Sawn line, features an innovative refinement in sawn treatments with elegant distressing, rich character and deep variation.
Lauzon recently unveiled a new ¾-inch engineered product designed to address “cupping” issues common in some ¾-inch solid products. “This was developed specifically for contractors who told us they needed a product to deal with these issues,” said Yves Myrand, vice president of sales and marketing.
Mountain View is an engineered, rustic-look line featuring saw marks to give it the look of rough-sawn lumber. For additional effect, the company applies a very slight wire-brushing—particularly in the hickory and the oak species. To provide even more character and visual interest, the company mixes different stains. Another noteworthy feature of Mountain View is the stains are pressed into the wood by hand.
Mirage recently launched a new line of 7 ¾-inch-wide planks in lengths up to 82 inches. The new planks are available as part of its popular Imagine, Flair and Sweet Memories collections in maple, red oak and white oak. Two new colors have been added to the Sweet Memories collection: Treasure and Tree House. Treasure is an ash gray with slightly darker accents while Tree House blends brown with gray highlights to deliver a fresh new take on classic taupe. All feature the DuraMatt low-gloss finish.
Mohawk continues to capitalize on the popularity of low-sheen, oil-look wood floors with its American Vintique and American Design collections. Both lines feature the double-staining technique preferred by many homeowners. Putting a new spin on traditional finishing methods, the company has taken the popular wire-brushing method and added a double-staining technique that entails going across the board with the finish and then coming back across the board and re-sanding it along the grains. A secondary finish is then added to provide a multi-tonal effect.
The new Q-Wood line of engineered hardwood flooring products from Quick-Step, a division of Mohawk, features the Opulux finish, which has the look of oil but the performance of urethane, according to Harry Bogner, senior vice president and general manager, hardwood, Unilin. “In the past, oiled floors needed refinishing every year, but with these floors you don’t have to deal with all that maintenance.” Eight of the SKUs are 7 inches wide, with five additional SKUs offered in a multi-width format.
Shaw recently completed the expansion of its hardwood flooring manufacturing facility in South Pittsburg, Tenn., to meet the growing demand for its engineered hardwood flooring products. These include in-demand products like Epic Plus, built with Stabilitek, a next-generation engineered hardwood that offers improved performance on high-moisture concrete slabs.
Castle Combe provides the look and feel of reclaimed floors but features the modern performance attributes of a 21st century engineered floor. These handcrafted FSC-certified floors are made using state-of-the-art aging techniques that accentuate the natural character of the wood and ancient appearance of each plank.
New engineered products were the focus of Wickham’s new offerings for 2016. As such, the new Engineered collection features flooring made from 100% Canadian wood. Engineered flooring exhibits even greater humidity tolerance than hardwood and is easy to install on concrete surfaces. This makes it an ideal choice for condominiums and basements. Also, the Winery collection has been expanded to include both solid and engineered options.