At Shropshire Oak Wood Flooring Sales we have a comprehensive range of hardwood flooring types for you to choose from and below is a brief guide:
The concept of engineered flooring is that a hardwood veneer layer is bonded to a stable substrate such as pine or ply, resulting in an ultra-stable flooring type.Engineered flooring is now the most common floor type used today in all types of applications and is usually specified for installations over under-heated floors due to its exceptional stability. Engineered hardwood floors also have the advantage in that wider boards can be fitted in situations where a solid of equal width would be far too risky to do.
Solid wood flooring is the traditional form of hardwood flooring. It comes in all formats - plank type, parquet block and mosaic or finger type flooring. It is a denser type of flooring due to its solid construction compared to engineered flooring and so is usually more impact resistant. There are many downsides with solid wood flooring as it is much more affected by site conditions both through moisture and heat.
Specific fitting methods apply depending on the type and width. Wider boards need to be glued and nailed - floating methods are not generally recommended by us. Gaping may be more likely to occur with solid wood floors even on a seasonal basis. Acclimatisation is of greater importance with this type of flooring.
Hardwood floors of all types are available in both engineered flooring and solid flooring, the most common being oak but also available in ash, walnut, maple, hickory, acacia, cherry, birch plus many more.
Brushing is a process where the flooring is brushed with wire strands to remove the softer fabric of the flooring. The benefits of this are that the harder fabric of the flooring left behind leaves the flooring more durable and scratch resistant and also results in a textured finish.
What is the benefit of having an engineered floor over a conventional solid type?
The main advantage of having an engineered floor is stability. Originally developed for use over under heated floors it offers greater reliability in all aspects with greatly reduced failure rates compared with solid wood flooring.
A key thing to consider when purchasing an engineered floor is the thickness of the wear layer. The wear layer is the hardwood face layer that is seen from the top, it can be a very thin veneer or of a thickness up to 6 mm obviously the thicker the better as this denotes the amount of times you can sand the floor before the floor becomes spent. A 6mm board could be classed as a life board and a 2mm to last between 10-15 years.
What's the difference between lacquered and oiled finished floors?
A lacquered finish is a tough finish that is very easy to maintain and it keeps it's original look for a very long time. This tough finish can be an advantage in high wear areas such as kitchens. Scratches cannot be sanded out as it is difficult to re-apply lacquer on top without the repair being visible. Other than regular cleaning there is little you can do to prolong the life of this type of finish mid term until the finish has deteriorated to the point where in needs re-finishing.
Oil is a natural finish which is not as tough as lacquer but you can easily repair scratches by sanding and then re-applying oil which usually blends in well. You can top up the coat of this type of floor without having to sand it all off when it begins to look tired.
Oiled floors tend to age more quickly than lacquered floors and develop more of a patina over time. You need to use only cleaners recommended for oiled floors as cleaners which are too strong can strip the finish off an oiled floor. There is more maintenance required for this type of floor but it is a finish you can work with.
What's the best fitting method? What wear layer should I have?
These two questions have been linked because their applications overlap. The reason for this is it all depends what you want the floor for.
Glued down as the name says is directly glueing the wood floor to the sub-floor. Floating is where the wood floor is laid on to an underlay and so is not permanently fixed.
Glued down installations are more for permanent installations as it would be difficult to take up at a later date should you wish to. It could be a mistake to glue down a flooring type with a really thin wear layer as it may need to be taken up again in maybe 10-15 years whereas a board with a 6mm wear layer could last 40 years or more and so might be more suitable for this type of installation.
Floated floors although can be classed as permanent installation especially when a thicker wear layer is used. However If you want a floor to last a shorter period of time and want to take advantage of the fact that a floor can be taken up more easily you might want to consider floating it and a thinner wear layer may be more suitable and perhaps benefiting from their often cheaper costs.