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How to choose between solid and engineered wood flooring

A common dilemma for wood floor buyers is whether to go for solid hardwood or engineered hardwood flooring. You may think your choice only comes down to cost, but there are other factors to consider.

To choose between these two flooring options, ask yourself the following questions.

What type of subfloor do I have, and do I have/want underfloor heating?

The combination of sub-floor material and a heat source such as underfloor heating may affect the flooring material you eventually choose, as some combinations simply won’t work.

If you have a concrete or a wood sub-floor and you do want underfloor heating, the best choice is engineered wood floors. If you don’t want underfloor heating, and have a wood sub floor you can choose either solid or engineered wood flooring options. With concrete or screed sub floors we would recommend engineered flooring unless you are having a parquet floor fitted, which can be fully bonded to the concrete / screed sub floor.

If you would like solid planks and have a concrete or screed sub floor we would suggest a minimum of 22mm battens are laid first and then the solid planks can be secret nailed to the battens, there is a new school of thought about sticking solid floors directly to the screed, but we feel this is very risky due to the movement characteristics of solid hardwood flooring and do not recommend this method.

What installation method will I use to fit my wood floors?

If you would prefer to use adhesive to stick down your wood floors, the best choice is an engineered wood floor. If you want a floating floor, the most suitable option for you may also be engineered wood flooring.

Those who prefer to nail down their floors will want to go for solid wood flooring, as this is the best installation method for this type of floor material; you could also go for a structural grade engineered floor if it’s a minimum thickness of 18mm which can also be nailed down as well as floated or stuckdown.

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