Engineered flooring combines the beauty and warmth of natural wood with the durability and ease of installation of synthetic materials. Suppose you're considering engineered flooring for your Malaysian home or property. In that case, you likely have questions about its features, benefits, and limitations. In this article, we've compiled a list of frequently asked questions about engineered flooring in Malaysia to help you make an informed decision.
What is engineered flooring?
Engineered flooring is a type of wood flooring that consists of multiple layers. The top layer is made of real hardwood veneer. In contrast, the lower layers comprise plywood or other wood materials. This multi-layered construction provides enhanced stability, making engineered flooring more resistant to moisture, temperature fluctuations, and humidity than solid hardwood flooring.
How long does engineered flooring last?
The lifespan of engineered flooring largely depends on the quality of the materials used, the thickness of the top layer, and how well it's maintained. High-quality engineered flooring can last up to 20-30 years with proper care and maintenance. However, lower quality options may only last between 5-10 years.
Can engineered flooring be refinished?
Yes, engineered flooring can be refinished, but the number of times it can be refinished depends on the thickness of the top hardwood layer. Floors with a thicker top layer (at least 3-4 mm) can be refinished multiple times, while thinner options may only be suitable for one or two refinishing treatments. Keep in mind that sanding and refinishing engineered flooring should be done by professionals to avoid damaging the layers beneath the hardwood veneer.
Is engineered flooring suitable for use in humid climates like Malaysia?
The layers of plywood or other wood materials beneath the hardwood veneer help to reduce the expansion and contraction that can occur with changes in humidity. This increased stability makes engineered flooring less likely to warp, buckle, or develop gaps between the boards than solid wood flooring.
Can I install engineered flooring in my kitchen or bathroom?
Engineered flooring is more moisture-resistant than solid hardwood, making it a suitable choice for dry kitchens. However, care should be taken to avoid excessive water exposure and to clean up spills promptly. For bathrooms, it's generally recommended to choose more water-resistant flooring like tile, waterproof laminate or luxury vinyl planks.
How does engineered flooring compare to solid hardwood in terms of cost?
Engineered flooring tends to be more affordable than solid hardwood, mainly because it uses less hardwood in its construction. The price of engineered flooring can vary depending on the type of wood used for the top layer, the quality of the materials, and the thickness of the planks. High-quality engineered flooring can be more expensive than low-end solid hardwood. Still, overall, engineered flooring is more budget-friendly.
What types of wood species are available for engineered flooring in Malaysia?
A wide range of wood species is available for engineered flooring in Malaysia, including both local and imported. Popular choices include:
- Merbau: A durable and termite-resistant local hardwood.
- Kempas: Another local hardwood with a reddish-brown hue and good durability.
- Teak: An imported hardwood that's highly sought after for its beauty and durability.
- Oak: Offers a classic look and excellent stability.
- Maple: Known for its light colour and fine grain, maple is another popular imported choice.
Can I install engineered flooring over existing flooring?
Engineered flooring can often be installed over existing flooring, such as tile, vinyl, or even thin carpets, making it versatile and cost-effective for renovations. The key is ensuring the existing flooring is clean, dry, and level before installing the engineered flooring. Remember that some subfloors may require additional preparation or an underlayment to provide a suitable surface for the engineered flooring.
How do I maintain engineered flooring?
Maintaining engineered flooring is relatively easy. Regular sweeping or vacuuming will help remove dirt and debris, preventing scratches on the surface. Use a damp mop with a gentle cleaner designed specifically for wood floors to clean spills or stains. Avoid excessive water, steam cleaners, or harsh chemicals, as these can damage the flooring. Placing protective pads under furniture legs and using area rugs in high-traffic zones can also help prolong the life of your engineered flooring.
What are the common installation methods for engineered flooring?
There are three main installation methods for engineered flooring:
- Floating: The planks are not attached to the subfloor but are instead clicked together using a tongue-and-groove system. This method is popular because it's relatively easy and allows for the expansion and contraction of the floor.
- Glue-down: The planks are adhered to the subfloor using a special adhesive. This method provides a more stable and solid feel but may be more challenging and time-consuming to install.
- Nail-down or staple-down: The planks are attached to the subfloor using nails or staples. This method is less common for engineered flooring but may be suitable for thicker options or specific subfloor types.
Do I need professional help to install engineered flooring?
While engineered flooring installation can be a DIY project for experienced homeowners, hiring a professional installer is recommended to ensure the best results. A professional installer will have the necessary tools, expertise, and experience to handle potential challenges during installation, such as levelling the subfloor, cutting the planks, and addressing any moisture or humidity issues.