Solid or engineered oak flooring?
Solid oak flooring is milled from a single piece of real oak timber.
Engineered oak flooring is manufactured and consists of three or more layers. Each layer is stacked in a cross-grain configuration and bonded together under the heat and pressure. The top layer is a real, solid oak veneer. Its thickness can vary between 2 to 7mm.
Solid oak flooring is much prized for its durability and hardwearing. Flooring made from solid oak is a 100% natural product that responds to air humidity. It expands and contracts depending on the moisture in the air. Humid air in summer can cause the wood to expand. On other hand, the wood can contract during winter when the heating is on. It might present a problem in some properties when temperatures fluctuate, however in most homes the reaction goes by almost unnoticeably.
Engineered oak flooring, because of the cross-layers of plywood and/or real wood used for middle and bottom layers, engineered hardwood flooring has enhanced internal balance and reduced possibility of twisting or warping. Seasonal movement is minimal, while dimensional stability through seasonal humidity and temperature fluctuations is superb. This is why engineered oak flooring is preferable over solid oak in interiors, where fluctuations in humidity and temperature may be significant (cottages, basements, very large areas etc). Made from several layers of bonded hardboard, it’s ideal for combining with underfloor heating. In terms of drawback, engineered oak flooring is not as durable and hardwearing as solid oak.
Either solid or engineered oak flooring will suit most residential homes. If you are unsure which type of oak you should go for, it is better to ask your flooring supplier before deciding on one particular option. There are several methods to fit oak flooring and the chosen method is based on the type of flooring and preexisting subfloor.
Fitting methods and cost of fitting:
Solid oak flooring needs to be always nailed down to original floorboards or plywood or glued down to the concrete slab. Because of its movement, due to the air temperature, we don’t recommend to fit it as a floating floor. Because of the extra primer and quality adhesive used for this type of fitting the cost of fitting solid oak flooring on concrete is higher, than to fit engineered oak flooring as a floating floor where you need to use only underlay.
Engineered oak flooring can be fitted as floating floor, nail down to wooden sub-floors or glued to concrete sub-floors. When there is an under-floor heating installed in the concrete sub-floor, engineered oak is also recommended to be fitted by gluing it down. This will minimize the air pocket under the flooring and it will lower heat loss.
The fitting cost depends from the materials used and labor involved. The more laborious the fitting the more expensive it is. The cheapest fitting method is floating floor method, where the flooring is fitted by gluing the floorboards together. Flooring is not fixed to sub-floor and the drawback is that the floor doesn’t feel that solid under the feet, it does move (flex) under the feet.
Next is fitting oak flooring by secret nailing method. This is nail down method. Flooring is fixed down to the sub-floor with nails and after some time with the movement of the flooring nails can loosen and floor can squeak in places.
The most expensive fitting method is fully bonded one. Floorboards are glued to sub-floor. The floor feels solid under the feet and because the adhesive used for this method is very elastic it silence the impact noise of the floor. Floorboards are not squeaking after few years.
Cross section of engineered oak flooring and solid oak flooring. Top sample is a Multiplank option. Middle sample is Try-ply engineered oak. Bottom sample is solid oak.
Solid oak flooring, top and the bottom.
Engineered oak flooring.
Fitting solid oak flooring on concrete by gluing the boards down to sub-floor. There are two method of gluing oak flooring to concrete sub-floor. For an uneven concrete we use so-called liquid batten method. For a newly laid concrete with smooth and levelled surface we use fully bonded method.
Fitting engineered oak flooring on original floorboards. Floating floor method is the quickest and cheapest installation method.
Take a look at our installation services. For more information on fitting different types of oak flooring and feel free to contact us with any further questions.