The most important factors affecting the price of engineered flooring are the species and thickness of the top layer or lamella. According to many importers, the lamellae are not thick enough, but the total thickness of the floor is always adequate. This is because it’s easy to measure the precise total flooring thickness with a caliper, but the top layer can only be measured approximately by eye, leading to heated controversy and incredible errors!

The author can reveal in all honesty that, in most cases, the lamella is indeed thinner than it says on the label. What’s more, within the flooring industry, the under-thickness phenomenon has been an unspoken rule. So why does it happen? And how on earth can we measure the thickness of the lamella accurately?


Cost—–In the Chinese timber market, lamella is priced by square meter. Lamellae produced by a frame saw with a negative tolerance are cheaper than those with a positive tolerance. When certain blocks of lumber are cut on the frame saw into pieces that are 0.2mm to 0.4mm thinner, there is an extra lamella. For example, the difference between 3.2mm and 2.8mm thick lamellae can hardly be distinguished by eye. This difference brings down the price of the lamella. The inadequacy of thinner lamella can be compensated for by making the plywood base a little thicker. Thus, for flooring, the thickness is always OK.

Manufacturing Request—–Thick lamellae must be sanded smooth to a given thickness before they can be bonded and pressed. As shrinkage in thickness is not always uniform in a piece of lamella after oven drying, the thinner parts will not be sanded. These lamellae must be entirely re-sanded to the minimum thickness to ensure they are completely flat. Otherwise, the thinner parts will not glue together soundly, the bonding between layers will be weaker, and delamination is likely to occur at the weakest points. However, the Chinese National Standard GB/T 18103-2013 Engineered flooring only specifies the allowable tolerance of the thickness of the entire floor and the allowable tolerance of the length and width of the top layer. The deviation between the nominal thickness and the actual average thickness is not specified.

Reprocessed Product—–There will always be some defects in the floor production process. Some cannot be recovered, while others, such as wrong paint color, finishing lacquer, small defects on the top layer, etc., can be reprocessed after sanding and polishing. After restoration, the Lamella is thinner, as is the total thickness of the flooring. As long as it is within the standard thickness tolerance range of 0.5mm, it will not affect the overall quality.

Measurement Method—–This is the most accurate method of measuring the thickness of lamella: Cut the floor from the middle with a sharp saw, making sure that the section is flat. Then use a scaled magnifier (such as Peak Scales Lupe 15x, minimum graduation value of 0.1mm) to observe the section. The thickness of the top layer or lamella obtained is precise and clear, and indisputable.


The lower deviation within a certain range of panel thickness in engineered floorings is inevitable, and importers can formulate tolerance standards for different lamella thicknesses based on their own needs. If you really need the lamella or top layer to be as thick as it says on the label, it is best to speak with the manufacturer in advance to ensure the upper deviation. And, of course, it may raise the price.

Author—John Ge Mobile: +86 13817612767 Wechat: John_Ge_Golink Email: john@guolianflooring.com

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