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Which is the best type of wood flooring for me? Solid Wood, Laminate or Engineered?

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A brand new high quality wooden floor can represent an investment that will last for years and years, with some products guaranteed up to 30 years its important to get your choice right at the first instance.

So what factors should you consider when buying a wood or laminate floor? 

Which flooring is right for you? And which type of wood flooring is best? 

To start with its important to consider several factors, what does your dream floor look like? seems like a strange question but its important to select a floor that you are happy with right from the start as a compromise will often result in the floor being replaced prematurely, after all there is no point is investing in a high quality wooden floor that will last for 30 years plus only to be fed up with the look of the floor after 1 year, for this reason alone its better to spend an extra £5 or £10 per m2 to get the product that you really love right form the start, as the cost saving will be short lived if the floor has to be replaced early, is also important to forget the cost per m2 and concentrate on the overall budget as often customers will rule out products that are slightly more expensive when they are only shopping for 20m2, bear in mind that the additional £5 per m2 will only represent and additional spend of £100.00 over 30 years thats £3.33 per year to get the floor that you love, money well spent! 

How long are you planning on staying at the property? some consider this to be a factor and look for a cheaper more cost effective floor when they are planning to move within a short period of time, However be aware that potential purchasers are well educated and they can identify the value in a high quality wooden floor when purchasing your home, repaying any investment made by you at the start, giving you the opportunity to have the floor you love and get your investment back when selling the property as the value can be included in the sale price. You can also include the product warranties as part of your property sale.

Engineered, Solid Or Laminate? Lets start from the bottom up! normally the best place to start is with the sub floor construction, for example if you are looking for a structural floor that can be laid over battens or joists to form the structure and decorative surface Laminate and Engineered Boards under 18mm in thickness will be ruled out leaving you with an option of a high quality Solid Wood, Or Engineered wood floor 18mm in thickness or thicker. (providing there is no underfloor heating installed, if so the Solid Wood would be ruled out at this stage) The choice between the Solid & Engineered wood floors for this purpose (Laying over joists or battens) is negligible for this type of installation providing the floors are well installed by an experienced competent installer, this type of installation would normally require specialist equipment (a Porta-Nailer or Secret Nailer) and would not be recommended for the DIY type installer.

If your base is of a concrete, screed or timber construction any of the products will be suitable, providing the sub floor (or base) meets the following criteria, the floor must be sound, dry, level & even.  If you have underfloor heating solid wood floors would normally be ruled out at this stage. The more budget conscious customer may at this stage select the laminate floor option as it will offer the cheapest solution, however one should bear in mind that laminate floors are only decorative products with a photographic print of a wood effect at the surface (covered by a clear plastic layer) they will also have pattern repetition, and will not feature the unique grain patterns and natural features offered by a solid wood or engineered wood floor. 

For clients wishing to have the largest selection of real wood options with the opportunity of a DIY installation the 14 or 15mm Engineered Wood Floors offered by such brands as Norske, Kahrs, Elka & Boen with a high quality click loc type joint system will offer great value for money long term wear guarantees & great looks all at an affordable cost. These products are also only around 17mm in thickness when installed over a 2mm underlay, a similar thickness to a carpet & underlay giving customers a good solution at door thresholds and intersections with existing floor-coverings. 

Solid Oak & Solid Wood Floors, these floors require specialist installation by an experienced installer and should be fully adhered with a suitable adhesive over screed and concrete bases, or secret nailed to timber bases providing again that the base meets the same requirements the floor must be sound, dry, level & even. Or now can also be installed using our excellent Elka 3 in 1 Solid Wood Flooring Underlay. Solid Oak and Solid wood floors require acclimatising on site for up to 2 weeks (normally 1 week) prior to installation (in good conditions, with heat and ambient temperatures etc..) Solid wood floors cannot normally be installed over underfloor heating.

18-20mm Thick Engineered Wood Floors such as our best selling product OFD Oak Carolina offer the ultimate in flexibility when it comes to installation, they can be secret nailed to joists, battens or directly to chipboard or other timber bases, laid as a floating floor (glued at the joints) over a suitable underlay over any base (note; underlay is not used when secret nailing or in conjunction with nails) or fully adhered to screed or concrete bases again providing that the base is sound, dry, level & even. This genre of thicker engineered wood floor often offers an increased thickness of solid oak as a wear layer typically 6mm thick compared to the 4mm layer on a 14 or 15mm engineered wood floor. Of course consideration has to be given to the fact that the thicker engineered boards will be 22mm thick when installed over a 2mm underlay this can sometimes present issues when joining into existing finishes, suitable threshold strips are available to overcome these issues

In summary the modern engineered wood floors have the edge over solid and laminate products in terms of stability, value for money, wear guarantees, long term performance, and affordability, engineered boards in general are often available in better widths and lengths due to the production techniques used, and can be easily installed by a competent DIY enthusiast saving the purchaser more money that can spent on their new dream floor, 

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