Flooring Types Explained


An engineered board is, quite simply, a timber board which consists of more than one layer. By placing each layer so that the grain runs perpendicularly it becomes virtually impossible for the timber to swell or shrink with changes in humidity and so it dramatically increases its stability. The top layer of an engineered board (the lamella) is solid wood, usually hardwood, and may be anything from 2 to 6mm thick; the thickest wear layers are equivalent to those on solid timber boards and obviously the thicker the surface layer the more times it can be sanded and refinished to remove the ravages of wear. The lamella is securely bonded to one or two further layers – this may be a multi-layered plywood or a sandwich with either a softwood or hardwood core.

Engineered boards should not be confused with laminate or veneer. Laminate uses an image of wood on its surface whilst veneer uses only a very thin layer of wood over a core of some type of composite wood product, usually fibreboard.

Engineered timber is now the most common type of wood flooring used globally, and the only type we are happy to supply in Australia due to our climatic extremes. Not only are they more stable than solid planks but they also offer alternative, easier methods of installation. Furthermore the technology has enabled the production of much wider boards as well as the application of an enormous variety of really interesting finishes, reducing the demand for exotic species since their rich colours can now be simulated with the use of oils, heat and pressure.


Recycled timber is currently generating immense interest globally, no doubt a combination of its intensely interesting appearance and ecologically sound credentials. But traditional sources can be a risky specification since supplies are often unreliable and the lack of uniformity makes installation a lengthier, and therefore costlier process, as well as contributing to high levels of wastage.

Havwoods’ recycled timbers are sourced from a variety of specialist mills and include both solid and engineered products, none of which suffer such problems. Engineered products are, of course, milled to regular sizes (although planks are supplied in mixed widths as befits the reclaimed approach), furthermore they make better use of these finite resources and are so stable they may even be fitted over underfloor heating.

In general, solid recycled products are not available from Havwoods Australia, but may be ordered from Havwoods UK. The Graphic range are planed, profiled and sanded to modern tolerances, then painted using encaustic techniques; and massive timbers from the Maramures region of Transylvania are crafted into regular dimensions using generational skills and 21st century methods in their Relik range.


It is rare to find a solid plank wider than 140mm since the bigger the plank the greater the propensity of movement caused by changes in humidity, however the advent of engineered planks has made widths of 180mm quite normal. At Havwoods we are only happy to offer exceptionally stable engineered planks at widths in excess of 200mm.