If you are looking to renovate your property and maybe replace an old flooring solution in the process, there are a considerable amount of options to choose from. In particular, real wood is a popular choice in residential and commercial projects, but in choosing so it is important to bear in mind that wood has natural limitations that might make it unsuitable in certain circumstances. Your flooring solution should always combine looks and practicality to ensure long service life. Using an industry professional such as Waller Associates will help ensure that these goals as well as others are met in full. Here are just a few of your options when it comes to wood flooring.

Wood Floorboard Construction

The category of ‘real wood flooring’ includes two closely related variants. One is made from complete wood and has the name ‘solid wood’, while its alternative is made from wood and synthetic materials which resulted in the descriptive name of engineered wood.The two options cost about the same, look the same when fitted and required the precise care procedures. Therefore the difference between the two takes a more practical direction.

The category of ‘real wood flooring’ includes two closely related variants. One is made from complete wood and has the name ‘solid wood’, while its alternative is made from wood and synthetic materials which resulted in the descriptive name of engineered wood.  The two options cost about the same, look the same when fitted and required the precise care procedures. Therefore the difference between the two takes a more practical direction.

Solid Wood Floorboard – Each floorboard contains 100{5649ae563538d4e4143b9a1c2946af7df32b9f4b4d437e9732645a466ec43c51} natural wood such as Oak, Walnut and other common hardwoods. This solid construction equals extensive service life, which explains why wood is often seen in period and historical homes.

Engineered Wood Floorboard – Each floorboard contains natural wood as well, however this time around, only as a top layer. Manufactured layers of MDF, Plywood and Softwood support the 3mm to 6mm thick natural wood layer. The result is a floorboard that looks the same as the previous solid wood type, but is immune to some of the natural limitations of wood.

Deciding Solid or Engineered Floorboards

There are plenty of differences between the two types and these are easier to explain based on common everyday situations.

When under floor heating is present – Natural wood reacts to atmospheric changes by expanding when the temperature climbs and contracting when the temperature drops. Fitting solid floorboards over under floor heating will create precisely this reaction and lead to gaps between the floorboards and possible damage from over expansion. Engineered floorboards will not react in such manner due to the varied materials that makeup each floorboard.

Sanding and recoating – Sanding is a process that removes 1mm layer of top wood to expose new wood. The new wood surface is often in pristine condition as old scuffs, stains and other imperfections from years of use were removed in the sanding process. Commercial properties that often experience high levels of foot traffic will benefit from sanding every so often (as opposed to replacing the entire floor). In addition, residential properties that are ‘buy to let’ often benefit from sanding between occupancies. Solid floorboards can be sanded many times over, but on the other hand engineered floorboards only a handful of times depending on the thickness of the top layer (typically 3mm to 6mm thick).

Bathroom, Kitchen and Basement Areas – Humid and wet conditions are likely to occur in these areas over time. Natural wood does not react well to humidity and the floorboard will damage after a short while. It means that solid floorboards are completely unsuitable in these areas, however engineered floorboards that have been coated in a waterproof coating (lacquered based) will stand the test of time in these challenging conditions for wood.

All other situations – If the natural limitations of wood do not apply in your project, solid floorboards due to their longer service life are often the choice of many. However, as the cost of wood flooring often includes the cost of fitting, coating and grade of wood, it is often a question of value for money at the time.

These are just a few of the considerations when choosing wood flooring for your project. Contact Waller Associates to discuss your project today.

Written by Jonathan Sapir managing director of wood flooring supplier Wood and Beyond. UK based ethical vendor of engineered walnut flooring and solid walnut flooring from managed forests (Holder of ‘FSC Forest Management Certification’).

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