Interior Designer Roz Hamilton shares her thoughts on wooden flooring in our first 'Design Corner' article. Every month we will be bringing you regular articles from professionals in the design industry. Our Design Corner series aim to inspire you with new ideas, as well as inform you on smart and affordable choices.
Solid Timber flooring involves just that - milled lengths of 100% real wood. Engineered wooden floors have a real wood surface. The thicker the surface, the higher the quality. They are manufactured into planks with supporting woods underneath (such as ply or coreboard). Laminate floors have a decorative laminate to give them the appearance of real wood. This laminate sits over a supporting wooden structure, and underneath a hardened veneer.
I often get asked about the difference between engineered and solid timber floor. To dispel the myths, here are some important things to note when making your decision on which floor is best for your project……
Solid timber floors expand and contract dramatically depending on environment they are installed in.
Engineered timber floors are more stable with less movement.
With a solid timber floor you can sand and restain to your hearts content over the floors life time.
Engineered floors can be sanded up to 3-4 times over their life time (a min 6mm timber surface is required).
Engineered timber floors are designed for underfloor heating- their stability allows the fluctuations in temperature.
Solid timber floors are unsuitable for underfloor heating.
Both Engineered and solid timber floors are naturally warm regardless of underfloor heating, especially in comparison to a concrete or tiled surface.
Both floors will fade and discolour when exposed to sun.
Solid timber floors are around twice the price of engineered and also more labour intensive to install.
There are specialist coatings you can apply to harden timber floors – Bona Systems are the best - so if you love your high heels then consider this on top of the standard finishing system you will choose to use.
Natural tannins in timbers will always appear over time as they are exposed to sunlight- expect to see Oak floors particularly ‘yellow up’ in time.
Solid timber floors come from specialist timber floor suppliers such as CTC Flooring and Just Hardwood Floors.
Engineered all the way! Just watch the thickness of the topping (min 6mm) and also the thickness of the ply substrate (12-18mm). The substrate is important for stability, heat transfer and also in dulling the sound so you don’t hear the clip clop of those high heels! (or cowboy boots in my house..) - Roz
If you are on a tight budget, then laminate flooring is a third option to consider. In comparison to engineered wooden floors, laminate floors are much thinner, usually 8-10mm total. A thin layer of melamine on the surface means that good quality laminates are hard wearing and a good option for first homes and rentals. - Ed
Build me. Directory Links:
Floorwise - For a range of engineered and laminate flooring options. Their website also has a handy flooring calculator.
Haro - For imported quality German flooring, both engineered and laminate.