How to choose the best engineered wood flooring

If you are looking for a durable, long lasting and realistic alternative to solid wood, engineered wood flooring could be the ideal choice for your project

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While there are many flooring options to choose from, nothing beats the charm of a stylish wooden floor. This said, authentic wooden flooring can succumb to wear and tear and requires a certain level of maintenance.

Hard wearing and easy to maintain, engineered wood flooring makes a lovely addition to a contemporary living room, hallway or bedroom. Once installed, it can be almost indistinguishable from solid wood flooring. 

Intarsia range from Devon&Devon

Some designs cost more than £300 per m², like the Intarsia Laser Cut Oak from Devon & Devon 

How much does engineered wood flooring cost?

Compared to other wood effect flooring, particularly laminate, engineered wood can seem expensive. However, it's important to consider that, on account of many engineered wood products coming with a manufactures guarantee ranging anywhere from 10 years to a lifetime, its durability does increase cost effectiveness. You can typically expect prices start from £30 per m² and go up £100 per m². 

Kahrs Chevron Engineered Oak Wood

Kahrs Chevron Engineered Oak Wood by Carpetright. 95.99 per m2

(Image: © Carpetright)

Can engineered wood be laid over underfloor heating?

Most engineered flooring works well with underfloor heating, although it will need to be acclimatised before fixing. 

Coastline Engineered Oak Range in Washed Plank, £74.94 m², by Fired Earth

Where can you lay engineered wood flooring?

Engineered wood flooring is suitable for virtually any room. In addition to being perfect for high traffic areas, such as hallways and living spaces, some engineered wood floors can also be safely used in places where solid wood boards aren’t recommended, such as basements and bathrooms. This is because engineered wood can handle higher than normal moisture levels, rooms prone to high humidity or fluctuations in temperature.

If you are considering an engineered floor in a bathroom, confirm with your supplier that your chosen flooring is appropriate. Some examples aren’t designed for rooms with high moisture, and could become damaged over time.

White Washed Brushed And Oiled Engineered European Oak Wood Flooring

Oak White Engineered Flooring by the Natural Wood Flooring Co. £61.67 per m²

(Image: © Natural Wood Flooring Company )

How is engineered wood flooring made?

Unlike other alternatives to solid wood flooring, engineered wood flooring is usually made entirely of timber. The floorboards are constructed of three or four core layers, usually plywood, which are stacked in a cross-grain configuration and bonded together under heat and pressure for stability and durability. Some options have an environmentally friendly core made from recycled wood fibre. The planks are usually 1cm to 2cm thick, with a top layer of solid wood veneer.

Boulevarde Engineered oak flooring

The Boulevarde engineered oak flooring from Indigenous is perfect for creating a Scandi look, retaining paler tones while revealing the natural graining within the oak. White oiled, with a bevelled finish, it costs from £70.80 per m²

(Image: © Indigineous )

How to lay engineered wood flooring

Many manufacturers recommend professional fitting for a perfect finish, but as most of the ranges now come as a floating floor with a click-lock system, competent DIYers will be able to install it themselves. The advantage of this type of flooring is that if you make a mistake, with most systems, you can simply ‘unclick’ the planks and re-lay them.

As with most flooring, it is often the cutting out around door frames, corners and awkward spaces that shows the difference between a professional installation and a floor laid by the homeowner, so consider the professional option if you have invested a lot in the planks.

The choice of underlay is another important factor, as it not only protects the floor but provides thermal and sound insulation. Always use the type recommended by the manufacturer.

Maintaining and cleaning engineered wood flooring

Generally, engineered wood flooring is supplied pre-treated and finished, so there is no need for sanding, oiling or varnishing, and you can walk on it straight away.

Once laid, it should be treated as solid wood flooring and swept regularly or vacuumed using a brush setting. Mop up any spills immediately. Clean engineered wood flooring with a damp mop but don’t saturate the surface or allow it to become too wet, as this can cause damage. 

Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions as to whether the boards require regular lacquering or oiling. As with most natural products, sunlight can affect the wood’s colour over time.

Oak Smoked Brushed and UV Oiled Engineered Range, £70 m², from Kersaint Cobb

To prevent scratches and damage, fit felt pads or castors to items of furniture that might be moved across the floor and bear in mind that heeled shoes will dent wooden flooring. If the boards do become scratched or lightly damaged, all is not lost, as most engineered wood flooring can be sanded a couple of times during its life. It is recommended that you use a professional for this job, though, as the veneered top layers are thin.

Where to find a reputable fitter for engineered wood?

The best route is to get a personal recommendation, but if friends and family can’t help, then most engineered wood flooring retailers will either offer a fitting service or recommend local installers. 

Otherwise, use websites such as Check a trade or Rated people for information and comments from other homeowners in the local area. The National Institute of Carpet & Floorlayers can also give you a list of its members near you.

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