Oak flooring is a beautiful addition to any home and is increasingly becoming one of the top sought-after features for new purchasers. However, to choose the right oak flooring can be quite a task in itself. With oak flooring, you have the flexibility of being able to change your other furnishings as often as you like without having to also change the flooring, which is often not the case when you have carpets installed and are limited in choice to make sure that everything matches.
Before you consider the wide variety of finishes and looks that are available for your oak floor, you first need to decide what type of floor boards are best suited for your home. You will need to choose from solid oak boards and engineered oak boards. Each type of board has its own benefits and features that will make one type particularly well suited to your home, depending on the environmental conditions and your own personal preference.
Whichever type of oak floor you choose, the finished look will be the same.
If you are considering having underfloor heating installed in any room of your home, you will also need to make sure that the type of flooring you select is suitable to be installed over an underfloor heating system.
Knowing the key differences between each type of floor board available will help you to be more confident in your decision making process and you may even find that a specific type is the best for your home or that you can mix and match, depending on preference and your requirements of the floor.
One key piece of advice, as DIY Doctor observes is that as a general rule, the thicker and wider the wood, the better quality you are receiving. We agree with this wholeheartedly and this is why all of our engineered oak floor boards have a minimum wear layer of 4mm and we offer a variety of widths across our range.
What’s the difference between solid oak and engineered oak flooring?
Solid oak flooring is exactly as it sounds – your floor board is machined from a single piece of oak. These boards are cut and gauged from a log, which is then dried and machined. When you look at the end of any solid piece of wood, you’ll see the direction of the grain, and this normally determines how that piece will respond when subjected to heat or moisture.
It is important to remember that solid wood is a natural product and is susceptible to dimensional changes when installed in rooms with varying levels of heat, humidity, and moisture. If the environment in your home is constantly varying, you might want to consider choosing engineered oak flooring as it “behaves” itself better than solid oak after installation; when there are varying levels of humidity, or in a room that has temperature fluctuations, for example.
The look and feel of solid oak is the same after installation, however some people prefer to have solid oak in their home as standard. With the correct care and maintenance, solid oak floor boards will offer years of hard-wearing flooring that will last well with wear and tear.
Engineered oak flooring boards undergo more processes during manufacture than solid boards. Their wear layer of oak is cut, dried and machined and it is then bonded under pressure to a plywood backing. The structure of engineered floor boards makes it possible for this type of board to be manufactured much wider than a solid oak board, without the risk of cupping or dimensional movement that occurs in most installation situations.
The extra stability provided by engineered oak flooring compared to solid oak allows it to be fitted in situations where solid boards may not be suitable.
When installed, the engineered oak looks exactly like a solid oak floor but requires much less dimensional movement allowance. It can be much faster and cheaper to fit engineered oak flooring than solid oak because this type of board can be ‘edge-glued’ and floated, whereas the solid board requires ‘fixing’ down to the subfloor.
You might be surprised to learn that engineered oak flooring usually costs more than solid oak flooring; this is because it requires more preparation and goes through more production processes than solid oak. Whilst the initial investment may be slightly higher, the benefit of a quicker installation time and cheaper fit can be the deciding factor for many people.
As mentioned earlier, if you want to have underfloor heating installed in your home, you need to make sure that the floor boards that you select to be installed over the heating system are suitable and will not have any negative effect from the heating system. All of our engineered oak flooring is suitable for underfloor heating and we are also the innovators of ThruFlow technology. ThruFlow is more efficient than standard underfloor heating systems and can save you money on the cost of your electricity bills. You can even gain some additional floor space with our ThruFlow heating system by removing the need for traditional wall mounted radiators, which can give you up to 10% more usable space.
Not sure on style?
There are a variety of different finishes available across solid oak and engineered oak flooring, many of which are available in both types, so you are not limited by which type of flooring you choose. If you want a little inspiration for your room after you have your new floor, check out some of the great makeovers that can be found on Design Sponge – we especially like the apartment that has had a white lacquer finish applied to reflect light and give the illusion of more space .
You may decide that you want to have engineered oak flooring installed in particular rooms and solid oak flooring installed in other rooms, depending on your own preference and if you are looking for a little luxury with the added benefit of underfloor heating.
Whichever flooring type you choose, it is important to get an idea of what your floor will look like before it is installed and whilst samples of oak flooring are of course, significantly smaller than a board, they are a great way to see how light will catch the floor at different times of the day and also to compare against the existing interior décor that you have in your home. We offer free samples of our oak flooring, you can order your free samples by clicking here.