For most of our clients whether they need a ‘solid’ or ‘engineered’ wood floor is one of the first question they ask. So, what is the difference and why is it important?
In short, engineered wood flooring is made of multiple layers of timber rather than a single piece of timber like solid wood flooring. These are set at right angles to one another and the idea is that this adds stability to the boards so that they can be installed in ways or in places that traditional solid boards cannot.
The top layer of an engineered wood floor is made from the timber that will be seen – Oak, Walnut etc - and is normally 3mm - 6mm thick (products with thinner top layers than this are known as laminates). The lower layer is most commonly made from plywood or softwood as this is cheaper and quality can vary considerably.
New generation engineered floors, of which Broadleaf Strata Oak was the first, have lower layers made from the same timber as the top layer so that they have the same insulation and acoustic properties as solid boards and are also even more stable than conventional engineered floors.
Broadleaf Strata Oak boards are made entirely from Oak – effectively a solid oak engineered floor - and are available in all Broadleaf finishes.
Whether you need engineered wood or not will depend largely on how / where you are planning to fit your floor and whether the additional stability is necessary.
The most common reasons in the case of Broadleaf floors are:
- If you need to float your floor (fix each plank to itself rather than the subfloor beneath) as solid wood floors cannot be floated
- If you want to install a wide board (200mm +) and cannot face fix it
- If you want glue fix boards over 105mm over under-floor heating
There is a common myth that you automatically need to use an engineered wood floor if you are fitting it over under-floor heating. This is not true – it will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer – and crucially not all engineered floors are suitable for this purpose and many solid floors are, so always check with the suppliers.
For more information on fitting methods for Broadleaf wood floors, see our installation guide.