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Wooden flooring is a truly timeless option to have around your home. It works as a superb canvas to dress and manufacturers are able to create stunning and lasting products. Getting right into it - there are two types of wooden flooring... Solid and engineered. They both look and feel the same but they do have their differences.
Solid planks are wooden boards made out of one single, 'solid' piece of wood.
Engineered boards are constructed of three layers. A solid layer of wood on top with a middle layer of ply, blockboard or HDF and a bottom board to provide a stable foundation.
Whilst both types of wooden floors have the same top layer, there are a handful of ways that skilled worker are able to alter the look of the wood. There are four main techniques that manufactures use to change to physical appearance of a wooden floor.
A brushed effect defines the natural grain patterns as the softer fibres are 'brushed' off the wood.
A handscraped effect produces a slightly warped but smooth feel after the plank has been scraped.
A planed effect produces a perfectly smooth and uniform plank. Ideal for contemporary homes.
A sawn effect produces a truly rustic wooden floor with distinctive features and exposed marks.
Once a board has been constructed and finished, the last step is to apply a protective layer. A protective layer ensures your floor is prepared for the general wear of shoes and paws it will encounter over its long lifetime. There are two main types of protective finishes that are applied to wooden floors.
An oiled finish tends to provide the most natural looking protective finish. Layers of nourishing oil are absorbed by the wood allowing the natural grains and knots to stand out.
A lacquered finish provides the most hardwearing protective finish. Unlike an oil that seeps into the wood, a lacquer will sit on top in a transparent layer.
A common question is, 'Will this work with my underfloor heating?'. There is an easy answer to this question. Engineered boards are nearly always compatible with underfloor heating, solid planks are not.
This is because a solid plank is still a natural product, like the tree it came from, and will expand as the heat intensifies. This will lead to warping an eventual damage of your floor. As an engineered plank is made up of multiple thin layers and a stable core, the heat will not effect the solid top layer as it would do to a solid plank.
It is often believed that oak and walnut are the strongest woods.
Did you know that BAMBOO has a greater tensile strength than STEEL and withstands compression better than CONCRETE!
So Which Is Best?
There are pro's and con's to both solid and engineered wooden floors. Solid planks are more likely to warp with temperature fluctuations. However, because they are a thick 'solid' plank of wood, they are more robust and can be sanded down and treated multiple times. Engineered boards are less likely to be effected by temperature fluctuations and there are more products widely available at range of price points. Yet, because they have a thinner layer of solid wood, they cannot be restored as many times.
Many people have the misconception that solid flooring is much more expensive than engineered flooring.
Unlike other types of flooring such as carpets and LVT, the price of wooden flooring is often varied throughout the same range. This will be due to the protective finishes, effects and woods applied throughout the manufacturing processes. However, with engineered planks in particular, there is a handful of reasons why some ranges are more premium than others.
The thickness of a plank is a good indication of its price. This is for two reasons. Firstly, a thick 21mm plank will have more raw materials used in its construction, as opposed to a thinner 12mm plank. Secondly, a thicker plank will generally carry a thicker wear layer on top.
The wear layer refers to the top layer of solid wood. This is the part of the plank that puts up with the usage of a busy home and commonly varies from 2.5mm all the way up to 8mm. The thicker the wear layer means the more times you can sand down and restore the surface.
As mentioned earlier, the core is the centre part of an engineered board that makes up the middle layer. Just like the wood used on the top layer, the core will also vary in thickness and quality. For example, when ply is used in the construction it may be from softer pine ply to the more sturdy birch.