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May 05, 2021
With our studio space undergoing a major renovation right now (just ask Olga, she’s at the office day in and day out supervising!) we’ve got upgrades on the brain. The space has been torn down and built back up in our illustrious leader’s vision, and the walls painted in some of our favorite Refuge shades. The next step? Flooring!
For that perfect finish, we’re using a combination of our much-beloved SPC (head over to another one of our blog posts, here for a refresher on some of the basic details about SPC) with one of our newer offerings - engineered hardwood. Both are great and effective alternatives to hardwood, with different benefits, so let’s jump into an introduction to engineered hardwood, and then give you a run-down of how we’re using each product and why they’d be a good fit for you!
I like to think of engineered hardwood as a kind of fusion between SPC and hardwood that gives you the look of a hardwood with the cost-efficiency and stability of SPC. It works like this: the top layer is made up of a thin plank of traditional hardwood, supported by layers of plywood or softwood. You get your pick of the hardwoods - oak, maple, whatever your wood of choice may be - in a form that’s reinforced and much more stable - while still giving you that traditional-wood foot-feel! (I don’t know if that’s important to everyone, but I’d be lying if I pretended I didn’t love the feeling of a real hardwood under my toes.)
What do we mean by “stable”? One of the main drawbacks of traditional hardwood is that it’s very sensitive to humidity, damp and temperature fluctuation. The planks actually shrink and expand and are very susceptible to water damage. Not only does that make them pretty high maintenance and reduces their lifespan, but it limits the areas of usage within the home - for example, hardwood in a kitchen? Big no-no! Thanks to the plywood layers, engineered hardwoods are designed to avoid the problems brought on by moisture. The layers act to block damp out and keep the planks from swelling or shrinking, and that means you can use them in areas that experience more damp or have greater chance of wet contact, such as kitchens and even bathrooms.
So, with engineered hardwood being a more stable, less sensitive and wallet-friendly alternative to hardwood, what’s to stop you from using it in every space in your home? Shouldn’t we just pick engineered hardwood over a faux alternative, every time?
Hard no from us on that one. Yes, it’s more stable, temperature and humidity won’t make a dent, but when it comes to pet versus plank, the engineered hardwood is going to take a big loss. The plank itself is much more stable, but the top layer is still hardwood, which means it is decidedly less resistant to impact. If you’ve got dogs or especially precocious kids, an engineered hardwood might not be for you. And it’s definitely not the kind of product you’d want in a home office (not one with a rolling chair, anway) or a work-out space.
That’s one of the reasons that we’re electing to lay SPC down in our photo studio, which will have lots of foot traffic and activity as well as shifting and use of various pieces of equipment. With the extra-resistant wear layer that is the top layer of the SPC (compared with engineered hardwood, which is finished with a seal but no additional protection) there’s no fear of scuffing or denting or scratching. We can go about creating and shooting without worrying about damaging our flooring. SPC is a great alternative to vinyl or even a laminate in a high-usage space that gives all the resistance without sacrificing style. It’s a product that would be perfect for a multi-function space that is also used, for example, as a home gym, because dropping that dumbbell won’t leave a mark. Besides, it comes in all sorts of colors and tones - we’ve got a wide variety of wood-look tones that will suit every space. We’ve even got a few stone-look options, such as the Trecento White Ocean SPC we’ll be featuring in our photo studio.
It’ll be paired with our Fortino American Oak engineered hardwood, which is a gorgeous, light, natural oak floor, in our main office space. We’ve been finding that the light, natural look is one of the main draws right now, followed closely by more dramatic grey and dark woods. (We love extremes!) This space will still be highly used but in a far less vigorous fashion, with far fewer exertive activities, so the engineered hardwood will get the chance to really shine.
All of the flooring we offer features an easy click and lock install system made up of tongues and grooves that snap in. That means it’s a breeze to install - and we’re looking forward to seeing our very own CEO tackle it! She’s a handy gal (have you seen her gorgeous bathroom makeover?) and we’re looking forward to hearing all about her escapades. Stay tuned for inside content about that install, and, of course, to see the office in its final form.
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