Oak is one of the most popular types of
wood species that is used as wood for flooring. When homeowners are researching
prices and availability they suddenly discover that oak
flooring includes two options and the decision to prefer one to the other
is sometimes confusing as there are more similarities to dissimilarities. There are two types of floors that are
considered ‘oak flooring’. The first
is a type of floor called solid oak flooring and the second a type of floor is called
engineered oak flooring. Here are the differences between the two.
Solid oak flooring
These floorboards are made from one piece of oak timber. Oak is one of the strongest wood species and it is available in many parts of the world. Its durability and availability makes Oak a prize wood in flooring. In the case of solid flooring, complete oak wood is used from the oak tree family that includes over 600 subspecies. The two drawbacks of solid oak flooring are its limited size in terms of length and width as it is based on 100% natural material and its susceptibility to contract in cold conditions and to expand in hot conditions, a natural reaction that any natural wood species poses. It might present a problem in some properties when temperatures fluctuate, however in most homes the reaction goes by almost unnoticeably.
Engineered oak flooring
These floorboards are made from oak, however to a smaller extent. Each floorboard is made from a top layer of real oak wood supported by three or four syntactic layers of MDF, Plywood and Softwood that are glued together. The result is a floorboard that looks precisely like real oak flooring, however it is slightly cheaper compared to solid wood due to the lesser use of oak and the addition of syntactic materials. Furthermore, engineered floorboards are not limited in sizes and won’t react to cold or hot conditions. In terms of drawback, engineered oak flooring will not rival the durability of solid wood, though depending on the thickness of the top oak layer you are still looking at about 15 to 25 years of service life. Duration of service that is considered far better compared to other flooring solutions.
Either solid or engineered oak flooring will suit most residential homes. If you are unsure it is safer to ask your flooring supplier before deciding on one particular option. Durability is often heavily dependent on the quality of fitting rather than the type of technology. There are several methods to fit wood flooring and the chosen method is based on the type of floor technology and preexisting subfloor.
The most common methods are nail-down, glue-down and floating. The last method of floating is only available in the case of engineered wood flooring. When you look to hire a flooring fitter they will be able to recommend the most suitable fitting method based on their experience, the location of the floor, your budget and technology type.