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Solid Or Engineered Wood Flooring?

Oak is a durable, attractive flooring option – but which type of oak should you go for, solid or engineered?

Oak is one of the most popular types ofwood species that is used as wood for flooring. When homeowners are researchingprices and availability they suddenly discover that oakflooring includes two options and the decision to prefer one to the otheris sometimes confusing as there are more similarities to dissimilarities. There are two types of floors that areconsidered ‘oak flooring’. The firstis a type of floor called solid oak flooring and the second a type of floor is calledengineered oak flooring. Here are the differences between the two.

Solid oak flooring

Solid oak floorboards
Solid oak floorboards

These floorboards are made from one piece of oak timber. Oak is one of the strongestwood species and it is available in many parts of theworld. Its durability and availability makes Oak a prize wood in flooring. Inthe case of solid flooring, complete oak wood is used from the oak tree familythat includes over 600 subspecies. The two drawbacks of solid oak flooring areits limited size in terms of length and width as it is based on 100% naturalmaterial and its susceptibility to contract in cold conditions and to expand inhot conditions, a natural reaction that any natural wood species poses. Itmight present a problem in some properties when temperatures fluctuate, howeverin most homes the reaction goes by almost unnoticeably.

Engineered oak flooring

Solid oak floorboards
Engineered oak floorboards

These floorboards are made from oak, however to a smaller extent. Each floorboard ismade from a top layer of real oak wood supported by three or four syntactic layersof MDF, Plywood and Softwood that are glued together. The result is afloorboard that looks precisely like real oak flooring, however it is slightlycheaper compared to solid wood due to the lesser use of oak and the addition ofsyntactic materials. Furthermore, engineered floorboards are not limited insizes and won’t react to cold or hot conditions. In terms of drawback,engineered oak flooring will not rival the durability of solid wood, though dependingon the thickness of the top oak layer you are still looking at about 15 to 25years of service life. Duration of service that is considered far bettercompared to other flooring solutions.

Either solid or engineeredoak flooring will suit most residential homes. If you are unsure it issafer to ask your flooring supplier before deciding on one particular option. Durabilityis often heavily dependent on the quality of fitting rather than the type oftechnology. There are several methods to fit wood flooring and the chosenmethod is based on the type of floor technology and preexisting subfloor.

The most common methods are nail-down,glue-down and floating. The last method of floating is only available in thecase of engineered wood flooring. When you look to hirea flooring fitter they will be able to recommend the most suitable fittingmethod based on their experience, the location of the floor, your budget and technologytype.