Both of these flooring types are fine and could work for you no matter what you need. With that said, if you want to get the best long-term value out of your flooring, you should understand what you are dealing with.
Solid wood products are made of a single piece of wood. In contrast, engineered wood is made up of a top layer of real wood (often called the wear layer or veneer) and a backboard of multiple layers of wood, often multi-ply.
Because solid wood planks are manufactured from a single piece of wood, solid floors are going to have a number of distinct advantages and disadvantages – more below.
Solid wood is generally associated with quality and durability. You can find high-quality engineered wood on the market, but as a general rule, solid wood is considered more premium and higher-quality.
Engineered wood can be manufactured to have superior quality to solid wood. However, on average if you are paying £40 or less per square metre then it’s likely to be a subpar quality and have a lower durability than solid wood flooring.
With that, if you want a more premium feel and class, then solid wood most likely will tick the boxes for you. But do keep in mind that quality and longevity vary from wood to wood as it’s a natural product, so it’s entirely possible that an engineered floor will do just as well as a solid one.
An advantage of solid wood over many engineered woods is that you can sand it down multiple times throughout its lifetime.
You see, engineered wood is composed of several layers of boards. When sanding, you are limited to the outer veneer layer – once you sand through the veneer, you’ll be exposing the ply base and have to replace the floor.
The general rule is that you can sand down a 4mm wear layer 2 to 3 times over its lifetime.
Often with solid wood this isn’t much of an issue however you are still limited to sanding down to the tongue of plank. You can’t sand further than the tongue as this will create instability. Most solid floors can be sanded down 3-4 times.
Note: A 6mm wear layer on an engineered wood floor performs the same or in most cases better than a solid floor because you can technically sand the same amount of wood. This is because solid wood can only be sanded to the tongue which usually works out to be around 4-6mm.
Solid wood is not perfect, and its main downside is the steep pricing.
Generally, solid wood flooring is much more expensive than engineered wood. On average, solid wood flooring tends to cost about £60 per square metre, though the cost generally ranges from £50 to £80 per square metre.
Another drawback of solid wood is that it’s prone to warping from moisture and heat because it acts as a sponge. It’s important to make sure the floor has safe moisture levels and the room has good ventilation with no damp.
If the solid wood flooring warps, the floorboards will start looking uneven and you may have to replace part or all of the floor.
It’s generally advised not to use solid wood in humid areas like shower rooms but this can be made possible by applying some sort of protective coating to the wood to prevent moisture from seeping in.
Next, we have engineered wood. Engineered wood consists of a thin outer layer of hardwood called the wear layer or veneer and often several layers of plywood (multi-ply makes improves structural integrity).
The top veneer surface is typically 3 to 6mm thick and is made of the real hardwood. We usually recommend atleast a 4mm wear layer.
The inner layers of engineered wood increase the stability of the wood, as well as help the wood resist expansion and contraction. What’s also nice about engineered woods is that they typically come prefinished.
Resistance to moisture and temperature
The first pro of engineered wood flooring is its resistance to warping usually caused by moisture and temperature. Although engineered wood is not completely moisture- and heat-proof, it’s less susceptible to warping thanks to the board base (usually ply).
In areas with humid and hot air, engineered wood is a much better choice than solid wood.
As mentioned earlier, engineered wood flooring is often cheaper than solid wood flooring, usually costing from £40-£70 per square metre.
There are some cheaper options but the quality tends to reduce quickly at prices lower than £40.
Solid flooring typically uses the tongue-and-groove system and is usually glued or nailed to the subfloor. This is often messier and more expensive than the floating method.
As mentioned, engineered hardwood can be floated with underlay which is quicker, easier and saves money. It can also be glued or nailed straight to the subfloor for a more stable finish.
Engineered wood is generally associated with poor quality, although we believe this is a false belief and think engineered flooring is often equal or better than many solid floors.
Paying £20-£30 per square metre for an engineered floor will often result in a poor quality, mass produced, unsustainable product however it is possible to get good deals!
Engineered wood can be made up of components of different density and quality, so whether you are looking for super-cheap flooring or want quality, engineered wood can work for various needs.
Finally, when it comes to sanding, engineered woods limit you to the upper veneer layer. Often, engineered wood allows sanding only once, though thicker woods may have 2 or 3 times in them. Compared to solid wood, this reduces the potential for long-term repair and refinishing.
With that, solid wood and engineered wood flooring both are distinct in their pros and cons.
All in all, we recommend engineered wood flooring with at least a 4mm wear layer from one of our trusted brands.
Before deciding you may have some more questions for us. Feel free to contact us on 01296 631208.
Wooden floors are beautiful and in general, require minimal time investment for maintenance.
If you want to both keep your wood flooring clean and retain its appearance throughout the years, you should follow proper cleaning and maintenance procedures. To help you with prolonging the life of your flooring, we’ll give you a couple of tips below.
Before reading the below steps we also recommended checking the maintenance guide from the floor manufacturer.
First up, place doormats at entryways – this will allow you to reduce the amount of dirt and dust that gets onto your wood flooring from footwear.
Needless to say, you should at least place a doormat near your front door.
Next, also consider covering your wood floors with a rug. Rugs will perform two functions – decorate your space and protect the floor.
Now, if you do decide to use a rug on your wooden floor, you will also need to be ready to clean it. And arguably, washing a rug can be a bigger headache than maintaining a wooden floor.
With that in mind, you could limit the number of rugs to areas that have heavy traffic, like hallways. This way, you’d minimise the number of rugs while protecting key areas.
Shoes can bring a lot of dirt from outside, so it’s a great idea to take your shoes off after coming in. Ask your guests to do the same – this will allow you to minimise contamination and make cleaning up easier.
Don’t be barefoot through – wear socks or slippers to protect your feet from dirt. But do make sure to keep them clean too.
Stick felt protectors to the bottoms of your furniture legs. This will allow you to prevent scratches, especially from furniture that is moved around often.
Through use, regularly check the condition of the felt protectors as well. With stationary furniture, you probably won’t ever have to replace the protectors. As for furniture that is moved around a lot (like chairs), you may want to replace the felt protectors monthly.
Try not to slide objects on your wooden floor. Even if the bottom of your furniture is protected with felt, scratches and scuffs are still possible.
Rather than slide furniture on the floor, lift it and move it to the new location. And while relocating furniture, be sure not to drop it – otherwise, you’ll have to deal with much more serious damage than scratches.
One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is not wiping spills immediately. If you allow spills to dry or soak into the wood, they will be much more difficult to remove. Not only that, but dried spills may leave permanent stain marks on your floor.
Use a soft and slightly dampened cloth to remove fresh spills. You don’t need any cleaning products like vinegar – new spills can be removed easily with just a damp cloth.
Daily sweeping and/or hoovering serves two purposes:
Regarding scratching – dust and dirt can scratch your flooring as you walk around your home.
Tip: Use the brush mode on the hoover nozzle! If you have a Henry (or other similar models) then you can flick the switch to use the soft brush function that will save your floor from scratches.
This tip somewhat ties back to the previous one.
You should always dust the floors before mopping. If you mop your wooden flooring without any dusting, you will be moving the abrasive dust particles around its surface. And we already know that dust and dirt can scratch the floor.
NEVER use a wet mop to clean your flooring. Your mop should be damp, never wet. If you leave pools of water on your wooden flooring after mopping, the wood will absorb the moisture. This can lead to swelling and staining, significantly worsening the aesthetics of your flooring and shortening its lifetime.
After dipping the mop into the water, wring it out until it’s damp. And after mopping, make sure that no water remains on the surface of the wood.
Finally, you should be very careful when picking cleaning products for wood cleaning.
Avoid household cleaners. Typically, the pH value of household cleaners is too high for wood flooring. Using a household cleaner on wood flooring may strip the protective finish or discolour the wood.
Use specialised wood cleaners instead, such as the manufacturer of the floor. If you aren't sure then Woca or the Ted Todd brand are high quality products to consider. Products like these will not only clean your floor but also protect its finish. Please feel free to ask us for more information if you require help.
If your wood flooring has a protective finish, then also read the cleaning label and make sure that it is intended to work with your particular finish.
Consistency is key to prolonging the life of your floors. It’s important to remember that a few scratches, marks, and scuffs can add character to wood floors so if you aren’t bothered by these things then it means less maintenance time whereas if you want to maintain a perfect floor it will take more time investment on the steps mentioned throughout this article.
For worn wood floors, you could consider buffing or sanding & sealing (also called renovation or restoration).
Please enquire using our contact form to find out more about our services.