Oak flooring is a valuable enhancement to any development, regardless of style. Traditionally, solid boards have proven popular given the look and durability they provide. Of late, however, engineered alternatives are increasingly in demand at the top end of the market. Engineered boards should not be confused with far inferior laminates. They are far more durable, attractive, authentic and indeterminable from solid boards once fitted, given that they consist of a chunky wear layer of oak. This is supported by a thick multi-ply backing that is cross bonded for added stability, helping to reduce the board’s tendency to shrink and expand, even in environments with a high degree of temperature variance. Whilst its innovation arose out of the need for a quality oak board suitable for use with underfloor heating, engineered flooring is now fitted in an increasing number of situations. It can be laid in damp prone environments where traditional flooring would not have been appropriate and, as it requires no time to adjust to room temperature, can be used straight out of the box for late notice projects. It is also easy to fit.
Engineered boards can be floated directly over an underlay, without the need for bonding or nailing. This doesn’t sacrifice durability and still provides that solid underfoot feel, particularly when a 21mm thick board is used. Given these factors, it is no surprise that engineered boards are increasingly specified, even when solid is a viable option. The majority of engineered flooring is supplied pre-oiled. This is the wise choice as it permits small areas to be treated at a time for damage, unlike a lacquer which can require an entire floor to be re-finished. Engineered floors also allow for multiple sandings, with wear layers that typically vary between 3mm and 6mm depending on price. Widths of a board vary widely to accommodate a wide range of tastes. The narrowest board we offer is 148mm, the widest 260mm. Whilst there is no hard and fast rule as to the appropriate choice, the commonly held belief is that the wider the room, the wider the board that should be used. In practice, however, personal preference is the best guide.