There are many flooring options out there, but nothing beats the warmth and charm of a wooden floor. If you are thinking about laying one, but are put off by the potential wear and tear and high maintenance, then consider using engineered wood flooring. Once installed, it can be almost indistinguishable from solid wood flooring.
How much does engineered wood flooring cost?
Compared to other wood effect flooring, particularly laminate, engineered wood can seem expensive. Most engineered wood products do come with a manufacturer’s guarantee, from 10 years up to a lifetime, which is a reflection of its durability. When this is taken into account, engineered flooring becomes a cost-effective solution. Prices start from £30 per m² and go up £100 per m².
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.
Where can you lay engineered wood flooring?
Engineered wood flooring is suitable for virtually any room. 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, which can have higher than normal moisture levels, or 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.
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.
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.
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.