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Which Wear Layer is Right for My Engineered Floor?

The evolution of processing trees into flooring has changed through the years. Because of technology advances and environmental concerns, we have new ways to craft beautiful, resilient, and affordable wood flooring.

Traditional methods cut lumber into solid hardwood floors with three basic cuts: plain sawn, rift and quartered, and live sawn. Each cut creates a unique look between swirling patterns, shimmering flecks, and straight uniform lines.

Manufacturers cut engineered flooring with these methods along with others that are unique to engineered, like rotary and sliced. These methods produce wear layers that range in appearance, width, and thickness.

A wear layer is the top layer of wood adhered to the plywood core of an engineered floor. The wear layer is an important part of the floor because it affects:

  • The look of the floor
  • Whether it can be re-sanded or not
  • The overall thickness of the floor
  • The price tag

We call these wear layer types Heirloom Cut™, Eco Cut™, and Classic Cut™.

Let’s dive into each of these to learn their unique advantages and which one is right for your project.

Heirloom Cut™

Saw Marks

Circular grain pattern

Some knots and character

Cathedral Grain

Note: Not all Heirloom Cut floors look exactly like this. This is a representation of an Heirloom Cut™ Euro White Oak floor. The amount of texture, knots, grain pattern, and other features will vary.

Featured Floor: Sonoma Napa

The Heirloom Cut™ Wear Layer is the most luxurious cut with a thick wear layer and beautiful wood grain. Many Heirloom Cut™ floors also have more texture. Wire-brushing, hand scraping, and saw marks are often used to mimic a vintage “worn-in” look. Heirloom wear layers retain the same look of a solid wood plank floor.

This cut is a true sawn cut veneer produced by sawing planks of lumber into various size veneers. When a project needs a thicker wear layer, the Heirloom Cut™ makes it possible!

Since it is thicker than others, it can also last a lifetime. You can re-sand an Heirloom Cut™ floor to refresh the floor or change the look.

Eco Cut™

Swirled Grain

Vertical Grain

Note: This is a representation of an Eco Cut™ hickory floor. The grain pattern, color, and other features will vary depending on the collection and the species of the floor.

Featured Floor: Canyonlands Moab

Eco Cut™ is a forest friendly process known as rotary peel. This method cuts the flooring by peeling it, similar to unrolling a roll of paper towels.

This produces a consistent wear layer that maximizes the amount of usable material. By using more material than other cuts, it is the most economical choice for real hardwood floors.

Eco Cut™ is ideal for producing wide plank flooring in thicknesses between 3/8” and 1/2″. For budget-conscious homeowners who don’t want to live without hardwood floors, Eco Cut™ is the answer.

Classic Cut™

Cathedral Grain

Some character (will vary by species and collection)

Vertical Grain

Expect some color variation betweeen boards in most floors. It’s natural, not bad manufacturing!

Note: This is a representation of a Classic Cut™ white oak floor. The grain pattern, knots, and color variation varies depending on the collection and species of the floor.

Featured Floor: Adelaide Millbrook

Many engineered floors feature this wear layer because it has the look of sawn cut without the cost.

By slicing rather than sawing the lumber, Classic Cut™ has a classic wood look like the Heirloom Cut™. This method uses more of a tree than the Heirloom cut, which reduces the overall price.

Because of the slicing method, boards will vary in appearance with flecking, swirling patterns, and straight lines. Classic wear layers are typically 2-3mm in thickness and usually made into 1/2” flooring of varying widths.

Compare the 3 Wear Layers

Heirloom Cut™

  • Classic wood grain
  • Layered textures are possible
  • Thickest wear layer available
  • Can be re-sanded
  • $$-$$$

Classic Cut™

  • Classic wood look with varied grain patterns
  • Many Texture Options
  • 2-3mm Wear Layer
  • Typically 1/2″ Total Thickness
  • $-$$

Eco Cut™

  • Most eco-friendly option
  • Swirled grain look
  • Some texture options
  • Thinnest floor available
  • $

These three wear layers offer a variety of looks, textures, and color to give options for entry level to high-end projects.

Find the right floor for your project – browse our product gallery here.

Find the Perfect Floor

Finding the right floor for your project shouldn’t be hard. Start by browsing our products – you can filter based on color, width, and more features.


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