I’ve been talking to Scott Leavengood, who did the wonderful guest blog series on wood hardness. (If you missed them, the series starts here with a look at Janka.) Scott and I were discussing the issue of stability in engineered flooring and wondering if there was a way to do tests to compare things. So I’m opening this up to the floor—what would YOU like see tested for engineered flooring?

What we’re thinking is first doing a comparison of the three main core structures: plywood, MDF sandwich core and lumber core. The second over-arching category would be a comparison of the three main veneer types: rotary, sawn and sliced.

After that, we’d start looking at sub classifications—veneer thickness, finishes, glues, species, etc. There are many ways to start breaking down the data.

But what tests do we want to do—what are we seeking? We’re thinking about three major environmental tests—soaking (or boiling), heating (oven testing) and a general environmental life cycle. We want to look at movement—shrinkage/expansion, different directional issues (cup/crown/bend/twist/etc.) We want to look at veneer checking. There’s the issue of delamination to consider, or perhaps veneer shrinkage off the core. We also discussed telegraphing concerns. What else? Brainstorm, folks!

If you could have YOUR floor tested against others, what do you think would be a meaningful statistic to show?

What stresses would you want to put on the floor? What categories would you want to see explored? If you could have YOUR floor tested against others, what do you think would be a meaningful statistic to show? What issues would you want to see researched? This could be a major project and benefit to the industry, and more on how it will be developed later, but first, can folks suggest other stressors to apply to the floor or other considerations that are important? Post ideas please, because showing enthusiasm for the study will motivate Scott to get his students on the research!

Elizabeth Baldwin has over 20 years of international wood sourcing experience. Very widely traveled, her résumé's "Special Skills" section includes "the ability to eat anything from raw horse to deep-fried scorpion." She serves as Metropolitan Hardwood Flooring's (metrofloors.com) ECO (Environmental Compliance Officer) and deals daily with the "green alphabet soup" of today's industry: FSC, CARB, LEED, and much more. She blogs for Hardwood Floors on all things green (and, as she says, " 'grey' and 'blue' and almost every color except 'black and white.' Nothing in this world is black and white, particularly not 'green issues.'")