We hope that this blog will be useful in understanding the differences between Solid Wood Flooring, Engineered Wood Flooring and Laminate Flooring. We really just want to make sure that if you are considering installing wooden floors but unsure what to choose, that this will help guide you through to make a more informed decision.
Solid Wood Flooring
As suggested in the name, solid wood flooring is made from a strip of solid wood milled directly from the tree. The thickness will range from 15mm to 20mm, with the benefit of sanding and refinishing the floorboards over several generations of use. The floorboards can be finished with oil or lacquer that varies in durability depending on the traffic you receive on the boards. Solid wood flooring can also be used to form steps and other features where the edge is displayed.
As timber is a natural product, solid wood floors will expand and contract with changes to the relative humidity of where it’s installed. To accommodate for the floors’ seasonal changes, an expansion gap between the floor and the wall is required. This is usually covered by the skirting board or matching bead.
Solid wood flooring can be nailed or screwed down onto existing floorboards, joists, battens and chipboard/plywood. If you have a solid subfloor such as concrete, you can glue your floorboards down or ‘float’ your floor by using a suitable underlay, like our X-Pro Tack and Envoy-Multi adhesive wood floor underlay that have thermal, sound-proof and damp-proof properties.
Solid wood is arguably the most durable choice when it comes to installing wood flooring, although care must be taken when fitting your floors as the timber will absorb any moisture present in the subfloors. So with the correct preparation and professional advice, you will be able to achieve and enjoy the warmth and charm of installing solid wood flooring in your home or office.
We manufacture our own solid wood flooring in a beautiful range of hardwood species from European Oak, American Oak, Ash, Maple, Black Walnut and Cherry. We know the choice can be overwhelming, so that’s why we offer free samples of our flooring range.
Engineered Wood Flooring
Engineered wood flooring has the same aesthetic benefits as solid wood, although it is designed with structural integrity in mind. Our engineered flooring is made of a top layer of solid hardwood 3-5mm thick, bonded with high quality moisture-resistant D4 adhesive (in line with British and European standards) onto a base layer of plywood or medium-high density fibreboard. This construction results in a moisture-resistant hybrid wood flooring that is more tolerant to changes in temperature and relative humidity, displaying very little to no expansion/contraction due to the cross bonding of layers. Note that flooring bonded with MDF is non-structural.
Unlike sold wood, sanding engineered flooring is governed by the thickness of the wear layer. Although our own engineered hardwood flooring has a top layer of 5mm that is comparable to the wear layer of solid wood floor.
You can fit engineered wood flooring just the same way you would fit a solid wood floor, but one of the most popular fitting methods on smaller domestic areas (no more than 30m2) is to ‘float’ the floors using an appropriate flooring underlay (see ‘Solid Wood Flooring’ section above regarding the fitting methods).
Again, as the top layer of engineered flooring boards share the same properties as solid wood, you can apply an oil or lacquer finish of your choice.
Not only will you achieve the same look and feel of solid wood flooring with an engineered floor, but you also get the benefit of strength and stability throughout the floorboards. Also, due to its’ structural properties, engineered wood flooring is suitable to lay on top of under-floor heating systems, which is a more common trend consumers are now turning to.
We are one of the very few, if only a handful, who manufacture engineered wood flooring in the UK. Our engineered flooring range launched in February 2012 with such a success, which we feel is due to the methodical process of hand selecting each board whilst using only the best quality of timber materials for construction. We can manufacture any type of engineered floor in the timber of your choice within reason.
We welcome you to order free samples of our engineered oak flooring in wide boards of 185mm in either 15mm or 20mm thick.
The cheapest of the lot, and by no means should it be classified as ‘wood’ flooring. Laminate flooring is basically a piece of plastic with a photographic image of a wood grain section, which is then repeated throughout the entire floor and stuck on top of MDF. It’s known to be scratch resistant, but non-repairable once damaged. It can be fitted on to wood or chipboard subfloors or floated.
So the appearance of the wood grain is achieved in laminate but is repeated throughout the floor, making it look very unnatural and very cheap. As we are a timber merchant who manufactures wood flooring, trying to be as unbiased in our view of this choice can be a little difficult, so we do apologise!
We hope this blog will help you make that decision in choosing the most suitable flooring in your next project. Feel free to drop us comments or questions you might have on this blog or email, telephone, tweet, facebook, Google Plus, Skype, fax, Royal Mail or come in and see us!