Engineered Wood Flooring is constructed with a thin layer of hardwood fixed to the top of a plywood base. This construction uses adhesive to bind each layer of plywood together and the hardwood surface with the plywood base. In contrast, Sound-Tec flooring is made with a Stone Polymer Composite (SPC) core. The core materials are pre-mixed in powder form then super heated to be fuzed together in a finely tuned extrusion machine. In this way, the Sound-Tec core combines the density of limestone with the flexibility of PVC.
Engineered wood floors have a layer of real hardwood on their surface. The quality of the product is dependent on the thickness of the wood veneer. The thicker the veneer, the higher the cost of the product. The veneer’s wood species will also affect the product cost. Some wood species are sourced from limited forestry stock in protected environments (scarcity) or are imported from forests of countries far from the manufacturing facilities thus producing high shipping costs for manufacturers. By contrast, Sound-Tec is predominantly limestone and PVC. While there are other inputs into the final product such as a high quality print film, protective wear layer sheets, Polyurethane coatings and foam underlayment padding; these materials are produced in high quantities and require minimal human labor once at the factory due to factory automation. Engineered wood flooring requires many hands-on craftsmen to create plywood sheets, inspect wood veneers for clarity and knotting, to apply surface textures such as hand scraped finishes piece by piece, and many other processes. While a beautiful finished product, engineered wood flooring is beyond many construction budgets.
When exposed to surface water Engineered Wood Floors may buckle, swell, blister, discolor, etc. Sound-Tec floors are made from a blend of limestone and PVC and have been demonstrated to be submerged in neutral pHwater without deformation, discoloration, etc. Feedback gained from customers who have once lived on an Engineered Wood Floor and then upgraded to a Sound-Tec floor is that everyday living is much simpler and worry-free.
While Urban Surfaces’ materials will not be damaged by everyday spills and messes, they are not guaranteed to endure extended periods of standing water. This is not due to the water itself, as the floors are waterproof, but rather the pollutants and contaminants mixed with the flood water which cause harm. Urban Surfaces floors require a neutral pH level of 5-9 – they are not “pH proof”. When water is introduced into a cured concrete slab from a flood event from above, the pH in the concrete has a tendency to change. This change in pH is often the specific cause of floor failure. An environment that is too acidic (pH level 1-4) or too base (pH level 10-14) will destroy the floor over time. If an Urban Surfaces floor is deformed by water damage, it is more likely the extreme pH levels that were the specific cause that led to the failure.