If you’re considering a new floor then you’ll be aware that there are a lot of different options available, but how do you decide which is the best for you and what are the difference between them all? This post should give you the information that you need to help you choose the best one for your home!
Solid Wood Flooring
Solid wood flooring has been an incredibly popular choice for many years, but what is it and how is it different from other counterparts on the market? As the name suggests solid wood flooring is made using single planks of solid timber, for example if it was solid oak flooring then it would be timber milled from an oak tree. This means that the flooring is a ‘natural product’ and with that comes different properties for the wood; if the flooring is installed in a room that is exposed to different temperatures and humidity levels then it will expand and contract in accordance with it, this is why most retailers and manufacturers do not recommend installing solid wood flooring in kitchens or bathrooms. There are various installation methods that can be used for solid wood flooring but the most common tends to be nailing or screwing the floor to existing floorboards or joists/plywood or even gluing it down to more solid subfloors such as concrete (although a proper underlay must be used in this instance).
. Appearance – It’s no hidden fact that solid wood flooring renowned for its stunning looks, but due to the way that they are manufactured each plank offers a unique combination of species, colour and different grain that all culminate together to give you the perfect floor. Solid wood flooring can really help you to make a statement and quite the difference in your home.
. Durability – Solid wood floors are certainly built to last, in fact they can often outlive a house if they’re installed and maintained properly. One of the main reasons for their long lifespan is that they can be sanded and refinished multiple times, which means if they do suffer from scratches or dents then there’s no need to worry about having to replace a full floor. This is also good if you’re a fan of switching things up every couple of years too!
. Not waterproof – As mentioned above solid wood flooring is not compatible in areas with high humidity and water levels, which means it should never be used in the bathroom. The reason for this is because wood will naturally expand when it comes into contact with excess moisture, this means that your floor will become warped in shape and as a result will create gaps and an uneven surface.
. Not suitable with underfloor heating – If you were intending on fitting solid wood flooring over your underfloor heating system then think again! The changes in the temperature can have the same effect on the wood as moisture, meaning that if you were to fit it then this would cause the same warping and adverse effects as mentioned above.
Engineered Wood Flooring
Engineered wood flooring is a great alternative to solid wood and has seen a massive rise in popularity over recent years, it has very similar aesthetics to its solid counterpart but is made up of different compositions. Where solid wood floors are made of one single piece of timber, engineered floors are actually made up of layers or man-made woods that are then topped with a layer of solid wood. This means that although engineered wood has a similar appearance to solid wood it has different properties that make it much more tolerant to things like changes in temperature, humidity and moisture. Engineered flooring can be installed just the same as solid flooring but one of the most popular methods that is used is fitting it above a ‘floating floor’.
. Cost – Engineered wood flooring costs significantly less than solid wood despite being incredibly similar in both looks and feel. It’s great for those who crave the luxurious appearance of solid wood flooring but perhaps don’t have the funds available to purchase it.
. Stability – Due to the way that engineered wood is constructed it offers more stability than solid wood, this means that it can be installed in areas like the kitchen because it is less likely to expand and contract if temperatures and humidity fluctuates.
. Underfloor Heating – Unlike solid wood, engineered wood is compatible with underfloor heating.
. Materials – A lot of people are initially reluctant to purchase engineered wood because it isn’t made from ‘real’ wood and although the top layer is made of real wood, it depends on the thickness of the layer itself as to how many times it can be sanded and refinished. This means that once you choose a finish and colour it’s likely that this will be your final product until it is replaced, although this isn’t much of a problem for most.
Laminate is probably the cheapest of the three on this list, however it is by no means the least. This has been an incredibly popular option for homeowners since it’s arrival in the 1980s, laminate has come on leaps and bounds within this time frame and is now available in a huge array of designs and colours to suit any home. So how is laminate flooring made? Well, laminate is also another layered product that is then topped with a photographic image of a certain finish and then sealed with another protective wear layer.
. Cost-Effective – Laminate is one of the most budget-friendly flooring options on the market, it offers the look of real wood for a fraction of the price.
. Easy to clean – Probably one of the main reasons why laminate is so popular, especially in homes with young families. Laminate only needs a simple sweep and perhaps a quick mop for a deeper clean to remove all traces of dirt/dust.
. Versatile – As mentioned previously, laminate flooring is available in a number of different designs and styles which means it can fit with the decor of any room.
. Easy Installation – Laminate is probably one of the easiest floors to install, this is due to the fact that each plank simply clicks together, no nails or glue is needed!
. Harder to repair – If your flooring does receive any damage then unlike solid or engineered wood where you can repair single planks or sand out the scratch, you would have to replace the entire laminate floor.
. Looks cheap – This is not always the case, there are some amazing brands of laminate flooring available but you do get what you pay for and if you’re not prepared to pay a lot then common sense tells you that the quality of the floor will suffer.
So there they are, just a few choices and the differences between them when it comes to choosing a brand new floor.