When choosing new flooring, it is important to think about the long term pros and cons for each of your options. The idea that more expensive choices are better in every way is hugely misleading when it comes to flooring, with choices like hardwood offering more than their fair share of disadvantages.
An option that is becoming increasingly popular is ‘engineered wood flooring’. While years ago it was seen as an unconvincing copy of hardwood, nowadays it can mimic most wood colours and species almost flawlessly. It is also extremely hard wearing, resistant to fluctuations in temperature and moisture levels and can even be as cheap as laminate flooring in some cases.Naturally, before making a decision like this it is important to take all of your options into account. It can be a good idea to book a consultation with an interior designer if you are struggling, though there is also a wealth of free information online. Typically a wood flooring installation job would be done by a flooring specialist. While this is still recommended, engineered wood flooring tends to be quite easy to install, to the extent that it could be done by a local carpenter or handyman with the right experience.
Engineered wood flooring is most often compared to laminate and hardwood, respectively seen as the least and most luxurious options on the market. The truth is that engineered wood shares many of their advantages but very few of their weaknesses.
First of all, engineered wood flooring is highly resistant to fluctuations in moisture and temperature. What this means in practice is that the flooring will not expand or shrink, even in humid environments, so unlike solid wood it can be an excellent choice for bathrooms and kitchens. This advantage also means that engineered wood flooring is perfectly suitable to install over an underfloor heating system.
Engineered wood flooring also comes in a huge range of colours, textures and finishes. It can mimic hardwood far more convincingly than it used to, with the added advantage that it can be made in larger boards than natural materials can offer. This capacity for customisation also means that engineered wood flooring can offer parquet and chevron designs.
One of the most common misconceptions about engineered wood flooring is that it is more expensive than laminate flooring. In fact, engineered wood can start at around £20 per square meter, which is quite close to many laminate flooring brands. It is also worth noting that many people who buy laminate flooring tend to forget about the added costs of underlays. Even if most laminate flooring is cheaper, engineered wood is still much less expensive than most hardwood options.
The biggest con of engineered wood flooring is how often it can be sanded and refinished. With the right amount of care, wooden flooring can last centuries. However, engineered wood can only be treated so many times, depending on the thickness of the lamella layer. That said, it is still a highly durable option and will usually last several decades.
Another advantage that people enjoy with engineered wood floor is how easy it is to install. Most boards are made with a simple groove and joint design, making them easy to fit together even as a DIY project.
One thing that you will need to make sure of is that your subfloor is level, dry and clean. Most materials will be suitable, aside from carpeting of course. That said, if there are any major imperfections you may need to consider purchasing a subfloor specifically designed for engineered wood.
Before you get started on installing your floor, keep in mind that this kind of work requires careful measurements and a good deal of physical labour. The best guarantee of a fantastic finished job will be to book a wood floor installation service with a local flooring specialist or carpenter, though a handyman with the right experience may also be able to do the job.