When planning a renovation project, whether remodelling the living room or undertaking a commercial fit out, the tremendous choice of flooring to consider can be overwhelming. No more so than when it comes to Wooden Flooring.
We are often asked by customers for “wood flooring”, not realising that the phrase encompasses a wide range of flooring types including laminate, parquet, solid or engineered boards and now also Bamboo.
In this post, we look at the different types of wooden flooring available, explain how they differ and highlight the pros and cons of each. You can’t go far wrong in remembering that wood is a species, not a colour and for that reason, we embrace its uniqueness.
Solid Wood Flooring
Solid hardwood flooring is exactly as it sounds, flooring made from one single piece of wood. It can be made from a number of different species of trees, with Oak and Walnut being some of the most common.
Advantages of Solid Wood Flooring
A solid wood floor is incredibly strong and durable but when, due to natural wear and tear, they are starting to look worn they can be brought back to their former glory by sanding. Having a millimetre sanded from the top of the wood can effectively create a new floor.
Clean Lines and Natural Patterns
As a totally natural product, each wooden floor will look different with its own distinctive colour and grain pattern giving a truly unique floor every time.
As a natural product, solid wood flooring is the most environmentally friendly option as there are no man-made components or plastics used in the floor.
Disadvantages of Solid Wood Flooring
Watch out for changes in heat, humidity or water
Whilst solid wood flooring is suitable for most rooms in homes and commercial premises there are limitations. The bathroom, for example, isn’t one of them. The humidity and potential for water spillages in a bathroom increase the risk of the floorboards twisting or warping and so solid wood flooring is not recommended. As a living product, it will also react to changes to humidity or temperature and can shrink and expand accordingly. It is not suitable therefore for underfloor heating.
Not so pet-friendly
If you’re looking for a pet-friendly option, then it’s important to know solid wood flooring can be easily scratched and the only way to remove the scratches it to sand down a layer of the floor.
Quality comes at a price
If you’ve been shopping around, then you will have realised that a solid wood floor is more expensive than other types of wooden flooring on offer. The fact that it is a totally natural product means it has a higher price point than man-made alternatives, but the end results can make it worthwhile if you are in the market for a luxury wooden floor.
At the other end of the spectrum is laminate flooring. Man-made floorboards that simulate wood flooring by using a photographic layer of a wood design held under a clear top layer to protect it. Giving the appearance of a wooden floor with a much lower price point.
Advantages of Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring is often easier to maintain than the other types of wood flooring as there’s less risk of damage.
This synthetic floor provides a stain and scratch resistant finish so it’s the ideal option if you have pets, children, or heavy footfall. There is also no risk of movement or fading that you can get with natural alternatives.
As a man-made product, it is at the lower end of the wooden flooring scale but there are still different grades of laminate flooring you can select. Our advice – go for the better-quality laminates like the ones we supply for the best results.
Underfloor heating is becoming more widely used and works well with most laminate flooring. If you have or are installing underfloor heating, then just let us know and we will be happy to advise on which floors can accommodate it.
Disadvantages of Laminate Flooring
The final finish
As the most artificial of the different types of wood flooring, it doesn’t have the natural feel and look of real wood alternatives and some of the cheaper designs can look somewhat fake. That being said, the manufacturing process is constantly advancing and improving, and our experts are on hand to help you choose one that suits your needs.
Engineered flooring is the ideal sweet spot between the laminate and solid wood options. Whilst built like laminate flooring, giving it all of the practical advantages, the final top layer is made from solid wood so you also benefit from the more natural look and feel.
Advantages of Engineered Flooring
Whilst you can easily tell the difference between laminate and engineered wood boards it can be trickier to tell the difference between engineered and solid wood. This is due to the natural top layer which means you get the aesthetic benefits of the more expensive option.
You CAN have underfloor heating
It’s a common misconception that you can’t have underfloor heating under an engineered wood floor. This is wrong. As long as the floor is fitted by properly trained fitters, you can use underfloor heating with engineered boards. Give us a call on 0117 963 7979 to discuss this in more detail.
Disadvantages of Engineered Flooring
As with solid wood flooring, because the top layer is natural, an engineered floor is also susceptible to fading and drying out when exposed to sunlight. If you have a large piece of furniture or rug on the floor, this could make things worse as the colour will only fade on the exposed areas. We recommend oiling the floor every year to prolong its lifespan and keep it looking great.
Engineered wood isn’t the best option for rooms like kitchens and bathrooms as the moisture can get in and cause issues.
Engineered floors can be scratched and marked so again not always best for pets, however, unlike laminate you can have a millimetre sanded from the top to bring it back new. Although you should be aware that this should be done more sparingly than with a hardwood floor.
So What’s Parquet Flooring?
We often get asked about Parquet flooring and where it sits in the range of options available. Well, in fact, it isn’t a type of wood floor in the sense of the others but more an alternative style of wood flooring. Rather than having floor boards, parquet flooring uses wooden pieces and can be made from either solid or engineered wood.
The pieces are slotted together to make a geometric or mosaic pattern. The pieces are often angular, and the style ‘herringbone’ is widely used and very much the most popular.
The colours and patterns of parquet flooring are very versatile and can be used to match any colour scheme, taste and look you desire. Because of the flexibility, this offers, it can work with most budgets and is very much overlooked in our opinion.
Still not Sure?
We understand that choosing flooring for your home or commercial premises can be a difficult task with so many different options available. We always recommend speaking to flooring specialists before choosing your floor type to ensure you’re getting the best product for your money and lifestyle.
We work closely with high-quality brands including Woodpecker offering a 25-year guarantee and Kaindl to name a few so you will always have a wide choice to look through. Give our team a call on 0117 963 7979 for some no obligation advice or arrange a home visit.
This post was written by Binks