Engineered sports timber flooring is manufactured using several sheets of wood that are pressed together and bonded under pressure.
The layers are as follows:
- Top layer – this is made from real hardwood. It can be finished with stains and lacquers to mimic different wood breeds
- Central core – this is made from softwood or plywood pressed together in layers. It is used to bulk out the flooring to the desired thickness
- Backing board – this is the bottom layer. It’s usually made from plywood and acts as a support layer. This layer will make contact with the subfloor
Low-quality and high-quality engineered floors – the differences
Now that you know what engineered sports timber flooring is and the different layers, let’s move onto what makes timber sports flooring high or low-quality.
Top layer finish
The top layer should always be made from hardwood. This is necessary to mimic the performance, feel and look of a hardwood floor.
The best way to ruin a high-quality top layer is with a low-quality lacquer. The top finish should be beautiful, with excellent clarity in the case of a glossy lacquer. The wood should be smooth. The best lacquer for the top layer is polyurethane. We recommend at least five coats to create a durable, resilient and hardy finish.
Top layer thickness
The top layer is also called the wear layer because this is the layer that experiences wear over time. High-quality flooring will have a top layer that is 3/16” thick. Low-quality flooring has a much thinner layer, sometimes as low as 1/4”. There is a perceptible difference in the feel and character of flooring with a thin top layer.
You should inspect engineered sports timber flooring before you buy it or ask your supplier to measure the thickness of the top layer for you.
Engineered timber vs hardwood for sports floors
The debate over engineered vs hardwood timber sports flooring will never end, but there are some facts you should know.
The big one is that engineered floors cost around 50% less than hardwood floors yet they perform exactly the same. The second fact is that hardwood is only typically used in professional sports, such as the NBA, where they use maple for their courts.
Gymnasiums, sports centres, school sports halls and fitness centres will be served very well by high-quality engineered sports timber flooring.
If you have any questions or would like to talk about your next project, call +44 (0)1706 260 220 to speak with one of our sports flooring experts.