Engineered Hardwood: HDF vs. Plywood Core- What is engineered hardwood – Woodwudy Wholesale Flooring

Engineered Hardwood: HDF vs. Plywood Core

What is Engineered Hardwood

One of the properties of hardwood is that it is subject to weather changes and seasons. It absorbs moisture from the air, causing it to swell if there is a lot of moisture in the air and causing it to shrink if there is little moisture in the air. For this reason, engineered hardwood is sometimes a favorite over solid hardwood because it is more versatile, and more stable than hardwood, since it is less likely expand and contract due to the amount of humidity in the air.


What is engineered hardwood ? Engineered hardwood comes in two different types of cores, one is a plywood core, which has traditionally been used to make engineered hardwood and the other is newer option known as high density fiberboard (HDF) core. Even though, it would seem that a plywood core would be the better choice, the HDF core is harder, more stable and more moisture resistant, due to its Janka hardness rating of 1700. In comparison, traditional plywood core is made from hardwood species with a lower Janka hardness rating as low as 500 for Poplar or as high as 1200 for Birch. The core is the foundation for the hardwood so, the higher the Janka hardness rating is for the core, the harder it will be and will offer more support to the hardwood flooring, making it more firm and dent resistant.   


The plywood core is constructed by gluing and compressing layers of thin wood together in a crisscross pattern. The high density fiberboard core is made from recycled hardwood, which is manufactured by grinding damaged or defective hardwood into a sawdust and mixing it with a resin, then, compressing it together to form HDF core. This makes the much HDF core much harder, more durable and less susceptible to moisture than a plywood core. For this reason, the HDF core is recommended for areas with high humidity, drastic climate changes or near bodies of water.


However, in the event of water damage from flooding, no flooring is water proof and either type of core will swell. The HDF core will not absorb as much water as the plywood core, but there is a higher chance that the plywood core will shrink back down to its original size after it dries out. In most cases of flooding, either type of flooring will probably have to be replaced. One thing to keep in mind though, is that water damage from flooding is most likely covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy, so it will cover the cost of replacing your flooring if that is necessary.    


At Woodwudy Wholesale Flooring, we are here for you!  If you need any assistance or additional information, please call our trained flooring specialists at 1-877-966-3983.