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Vulcano by Mafi, the Newest Superhero in Engineered Wood Flooring

Joseph Starr was the first 3ringer to write about engineered wood floors (don’t quote me but I think this is correct since Starr reviewed EcoTimber in September 2008). Since then, I have been adequately confused by the term. If you, like I, have been mystified, allow me to define the beast: an engineered wood floor is real wood, not laminate, that is layered. Engineered wood floors use less wood in manufacturing, and hence are more eco-friendly/sustainable. It is composed of finish wood on top with non-finish plywood underneath—completely, totally natural wood, just packaged differently, if you will.

Vulcano Collection. Designed by Mafi.

The plywood base is usually laid in the opposite direction as the finish layer, which strengthens the flooring. Engineered wood floors are also pre-finished—less work for you! Austrian company Mafi makes engineered wood floors in all varieties, using a wide spectrum of woods, from birch to tiger oak. They have a special finish, however, that differentiates their product: their walking surface is lacquer-free and environmentaly-treated with “oils that have been especially developed for the treatment of wooden floors.” Although Mafi flooring withstands everything that lacquered floors do, they feel better, “warmer to the touch.” And they look good too. Vulcano, with its “artistically integrated cracks,” is one of Mafi’s most alluring designs; it also has the benefit of a 4mm backing in the same wood and a middle layer confier (basically, it’s more than the standard engineered wood floor sandwich).







The distressed Vulcano comes in acacia, ash, beech, chestnut, fir, larch, maple, oak, pine, spruce, and tiger eiche. Colors range from white to dark brown; Mafi uses special heating, not chemicals, to achieve some of their finishes. The US branch is located in Avon, Colorado, close to the notable town of Aspen, which seems a suitably bucolic landscape for a particularly artistic company. Mafi’s tagline is a complex metaphor: “Nature composes itself in layers. The foundation builds the base, the surface reveals its essence, the middle provides strength.” A wood sandwich never sounded so good!

Posted October 12th, 2009 by Alicita Rodriguez


  • Herbertus Bigend says:

    I’ll help you with your definition of engineered wood flooring (below, from wikipedia). As for the environmental side: engineered wood floors can be less friendly than solid wood. The most important factor is the finish (lacquer is bad, natural oils are good) and the adhesives used to bond the layers (E1 should be the bare minimum standard used). Engineered wood has existed for over 100 years and has been used in flooring for at least 60.


    Engineered wood flooring is comprised of two or more layers of wood in the form of a plank. The top layer (lamella) is the wood that is visible when the flooring is installed, and is adhered to the core (or sub-strait) which provides the stability.
    Laminate, vinyl and veneer floors are often confused with engineered wood floors - laminate uses an image of wood on its surface, vinyl is plastic formed to look like wood, and veneer uses a thin layer of wood with a core that could be one of a number of different composite wood products (most commonly, high density fibreboard).
    There are two different approaches to engineered wood flooring manufacturing:
    1) Wood ply construction (“sandwich core”): Uses multiple thin plies of wood adhered together. The wood grain of each ply runs perpendicular to the ply below it. Stability is attained from using thin layers of wood that have little to no reaction to climatic change. The wood is further stabilized due to equal pressure being exerted lengthwise and widthwise from the plies running perpendicular to each other.
    2) Finger core construction: Finger core engineered wood floors are made of small pieces of milled timber that run perpendicular to the top layer (lamella) of wood. They can be 2-ply or 3-ply, depending on their intended use. If it is three ply, the third ply is often plywood that runs parallel to the lamella. Stability is gained through the grains running perpendicular to each other, and the expansion and contraction of wood is reduced and relegated to the middle ply, stopping the floor from gapping or cupping.

    Engineered wood is the most common type of wood flooring used globally.

  • […] difficulty of installation). Thus far, we’ve seen this philosophy at work in both EcoTimber and Mafi’s wood flooring products—systems that use real wood as a veneer atop manufactured ply. […]

  • […] of installation). Thus far, we’ve seen this philosophy at work in both EcoTimber and Mafi’s wood flooring products—systems that use real wood as a veneer atop manufactured […]

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