in a recent post, we touched on high quality plywood used both for our engineered floors and the equipment of athletes in the winter olympics, which are just wrapping up in sochi, russia. as it turns out, the best plywood in the world comes out of russia, and it is a key component to our engineered wide plank flooring.
russian birch, known in the industry as baltic birch, is prized for its strength and consistency, and is the first choice for the world’s finest cabinet makers. it is also in high demand for making the highest-quality guitars and percussion instruments. this is not the plywood we are more typically familiar with, found in lumber yards and big box stores. the baltic birch we use as the core for our 2-ply and 3-ply engineered floors is cross-laminated with virtually none of the gaps or hollow spots throughout that plague other, cheaper plywoods used to make flooring that can often cause planks to defect.
baltic birch is also sustainable, growing to maturity more quickly than many of our native, north american species. by engineering our floors we use about 2/3 less of that material, making it a much “greener” option. it’s also a much safer material than the cheap plywoods that flood the market from china and other countries, which are unregulated and, more often than not, glued together with toxic glues you would never want in your home or business.
there’s no doubt it’s worth it. we already use the best material for our solid floors and the wear layers of all our engineered flooring. to glue that down to a cheap, potentially toxic core is a short cut we just were not willing to make.