Should I Buy Solid Or Engineered Wood Flooring?
Should I Buy Solid or Engineered Wood Flooring?
Once you have installed your chosen real wood floor, it is almost impossible to tell if the product beneath your feet is, in fact, a solid or engineered floor. However, what is the difference, and which is better? The main difference between a solid and engineered wood floor is the construction of the product and how it is made during the manufacturing process. A solid oak floor consists of one single cut piece of lumber from the tree, which has been processed and finished. Whereas an engineered board will consist of a plyboard construction with a thinner oak veneer as the surface layer, typically 2.5-6mm thick, giving a traditional-looking flooring feel to your room. However, the main factor for the product you buy should be how you plan to install and use your flooring.
Where is the floor going?
Depending on the chosen room(s) you are looking to install your new flooring in, should be a primary factor affecting your purchasing decision. The following are a few key questions you should consider before making your decision.
How heavy is the flow of traffic in the chosen area?
Will you be using underfloor heating?
What are the temperature and relative humidity in the chosen area?
Considering the amount of wear and tear the product is going to face during its time underfoot should always be considered before purchasing any flooring. If you are going to have the floor in a low traffic area, you can certainly get away with a thinner oak veneer on an engineered board. If, however you want the oak flooring to be in a central part of the house, you should consider purchasing a solid floor or an engineered floor with a thicker veneer. Should you wish to restore the flooring to its former glory, after many thousands of footsteps have walked the surface. You would be in a fantastic position to be able to get the floor sanded down to a prefinished state, before applying a new protective coating. This is an excellent option if you want to restore the flooring to a "good as new" look, or prehab's fancy a colour change to compliment your recently decorated interior.
With wood being a natural hygroscopic material, the wood will adjust slightly in size due to both moisture and temperature change. Imagine a sponge! You add water, it becomes denser and can get slightly larger. If you were to then place this in a warm place for 24 hours, it would dry out losing density and shrinking down in size. Timber behaves in the same way. Adjusting according to the temperature and the relative humidity in the room. This is why we always recommend leaving your floor to acclimatise in the place of installation by following manufacturers standards. You should ensure your floor is installed at the optimum conditions which it's going to be subject to while the floor is installed. Engineered floors generally are more stable compared to solid real wood flooring in areas subject to more volatile heat, moisture and light changes. This is due to the cross layering off the individual layers of timber to structurally make the product stronger and reducing the impact of potential movement. Areas such as conservatories or with high amounts of glass would be such areas where engineered wood flooring would be more suitable than its solid counterpart.
Similarly, if you are planning on using underfloor heating, then a thinner engineered flooring is more suitable for your needs. Engineered flooring allows for the transfer of heat through the board much better than a solid board. Therefore allowing the flooring to be able to remain more dimensionally stable while being subject to heat passing through the layers. Also, bear in mind that would is an insulator of heat; therefore, the thicker depth of flooring you buy the longer it will take for the heat to radiate through. For a product suitable for underfloor heating we would highly recommend looking at a 14mm engineered board.
How Much Will It Cost?
As always, you can find some unbeatable real wood prices on the Interio Flooring website due to our close working relationships directly with the manufacturers. However, a generic rule of thumb is that Engineered Flooring usually is considerably cheaper than its solid equivalent in specification. This is due to Oak being a costlier material than the wood used in the core construction. The highest quality Oak Trees have grown for hundreds of years as a slower growing hardwood. Whereas, the Poplar, Birch or Eucalyptus used as the main timbers found in the plyboard construction. Due to manufacturers being able to get many more m2 of engineered flooring out of the same volume of Oak, it reduces the total cost of production. Typically generating 4 times as many m2 in engineered flooring compared to solid Oak, using just the same amount of material.
Do you feel as though we have missed any crucial points? If so, please feel free to contact one of our product experts who will happily answer any queries you might be having.