wood flooring – solid wood, engineered, laminates
Wood flooring comes in a huge range of species, grades, colour stains, textures and finishes, and is available in solid wood (or real wood), engineered wood or laminate construction. Each has their pros, cons, uses, cleaning and maintenance issues. Euro-Pean Flooring in Horsham have written this article to help those interested in wood flooring.
solid wood or real wood flooring
Solid wood flooring is made from single pieces of natural hardwood timber. The thickness of each board is generally greater than engineered or laminate flooring, ranging between 18mm and 25mm thick, and is usually fitted using tongue-and-groove.
After both manufacture and installation, solid wood will naturally react to subfloor moisture levels, humidity and seasonal temperature changes by expanding or contracting, so care needs to be taken during installation.
The two main types of solid wood flooring are plank flooring and parquet flooring.
Plank flooring, as the name suggests, is when the wood comes in the form of a plank. The lengths of these planks normally range from around 1200mm to 2200mm and widths from 100mm to 200mm although exceptions to this can be found. Plank wood flooring can be supplied in many species of wood with either a pre-finished surface or unfinished ready to receive a stain/lacquer. The texture of the surface is also down to personal preference, with smooth or textured/weathered finishes available. This is the most common type of solid wood installed today.
Parquet floors or wood block flooring have a very different look from typical hardwood plank floors. They are made up of geometrical patterns composed of individual wood blocks held in place by mechanical fastening or an adhesive. This type of flooring is more often found in older buildings such as schools where patterns such as herringbone designs are used to break up the appearance of the floor. Generally more expensive than plank flooring, parquet flooring is a dying art that is rarely installed. Euro-Pean Flooring has access to some of the countries leading suppliers of parquet flooring.
Installation presents two choices. Fully glue the wood floor down to for example a concrete subfloor, or more preferably secret nail it down if for example the subfloor is a plywood base. Note that if you are thinking of gluing, check the moisture content of the subfloor to make sure it is less than 4%. Euro-Pean Flooring Solutions in Horsham provide a free under-floor survey for all of our customers, detecting any subfloor problems and advising solutions in advance of fitting. And we always use leading adhesives as standard in all flooring installations.
If looked after, wood flooring can last generations. And depending on how deep the tongue is set, can be sanded and then re-finished a number of times to bring it back to its original glory.
People love solid wood floors. They are not only stunning in appearance in any domestic flooring or commercial flooring environment, they also add value, are easy to maintain and are also hyper-allergenic.
Prices of solid wood flooring depend on the type of wood used and its cost in raw form, and range from £20 up to £100 per square metre for rare tropical hardwoods.
engineered wood flooring
Engineered wood flooring is usually made up of three separate layers stuck together under high pressure, and should not be confused with laminate flooring. The top layer is a hardwood or real wood layer ranging in thickness from 0.7mm up to 6mm, and provides the looks. The core middle section can be made from HDF, soft wood or plywood, and provides stability and strength. The bottom section is usually softwood.
This three tier construction with grains running in different directions makes engineered wood flooring more dimensionally stable then solid wood flooring, with similar great looks. It is also much easier to install, as it can be laid over any type of subfloor as a floating click installation, or stuck down using the correct adhesive. It is less prone to expanding and contracting problems that solid wood flooring may have.
Prices of engineered wood flooring range from £11 to more than £70 per square metre for the really expensive woods like maple, teak and walnut. It is slightly cheaper than comparable solid wood pieces.
Laminate flooring should not be confused with engineered wood flooring. It is a hybrid, a compressed fibreboard plank, covered with a wood photograph, in turn covered with a strong protective film. Laminate is a cheap alternative to solid wood flooring installed using a simple click-lock method and is available in a wide range of natural material imitations.
The disadvantages of laminate flooring are never feeling quite like the real thing and a susceptibility to joint wear and irreparable damage over time. House buyers tend not to be fans of laminate flooring.
Prices of laminate flooring range between £6 and £30 per square metre.