|The Anatomy of Chocolate Cake and Hardware Floors, part 1|
Unless you're a termite, chocolate cake tastes better than a hardwood floor. But “Hardwood Flooring” describes flooring about as precisely as “Chocolate Cake” can describe the precise ingredients for a chocolate cake. One ingredient is common in every chocolate cake – and that's chocolate. One ingredient is common in every hardwood floor – and that's hardwood.
Chocolate cake ingredients can consist of pure chocolate, a mix of chocolates, artificial chocolate, or any one of 100 different percentages of chocolate as a part of the whole chocolate cake. It's still called a chocolate cake. Hardwood floors can have pure hardwood, a mix of hardwood, a percentage of hardwood, or just look like hardwood. A cake can be one or many layers. A hardwood floor can be one or many layers. The differences will change quality, properties, texture and taste. (In most cases, a cake will always taste better than a floor. But there are always exceptions.)
Solid hardwood flooring is always 100% of one type of timber. Engineered hardwood flooring can be all wood, but it will have different types of timber. Wood veneer flooring has a thin wood layer frosted on top of another wood or non-wood layer. Laminate floors can be wood-laminate or plastic-laminate, and they may or may not contain natural hardwood. Not only do these flooring types contain different concentrations of wood, they are also all manufactured differently.
Solid hardwood floors are cut whole from a trunk of a tree. The wood is dried first, cut and planed down to size, then milled to precision so the strips, pieces or blocks can lock into place.
Engineered hardwood flooring is made from wood layers of (usually) different timbers. It goes through a longer manufacturing process than solid hardwood, and a special drying process tightens the sealed layers to restrict wood movement. Heat and pressure create the seal. Engineered floors with a layered 90-degree composition contribute to the floor's steadfastness during temperature changes because the layers counteract each other. At temperature changes where solid hardwood floors contract and expand, engineered hardwood floors remain steadfast and true.