Keep reading to learn about structure, width, finishes, and several other important topics – our flooring guide covers them all!
Where do you start?
The most important thing at the end of the day is that you like your wood floor, so we always advise that you to begin by thinking about how you want your floor to look and feel once it's fitted. You will obviously need to think about installation requirements and budget as well, but once you have a clear idea of the finished look that you want, we should be able to help you find a solution that will adapt to these.
Solid v Engineered
There is a lot of conflicting and confusing information available about the difference between solid and engineered wood flooring. In simple terms, solid boards are made from a single piece of timber and engineered boards are made from multiple layers of wood.
In the case of planks the multiple layers, this adds additional stablity, which can mean that you can install them in ways, or places, that solid wood flooring of the same dimension might not suit.
In the case of parquet, each piece is typically much smaller, and inherently more stable than a plank, so there shouldn't be any difference between how and where you can fit solid parquet flooring, and how and where you can fit engineered parquet flooring - as long as the timber is properly dried and machined. So, if you are considering a parquet floor, you really don't need to worry about the solid or engineered question at all.
If you choose a plank, whether you need a solid or an engineered board will depend on how and where you are looking to fit your floor. As our plank floors are all available in engineered options this won't limit your choice, so you don't need to worry about it upfront. Just find the floor you like, and then use our Flooring Selector or ask our staff to confirm which board type will work best for your project.
If engineered flooring is the best solution, you don't need to worry about this an being a compromise in quality either. We don't use an engineered construction as an excuse to use less good quality, less reliable or less sustainable materials. Our award winning Strata boards are made from 3 layers of oak so that they feel and wear just like solid oak flooring and the base of our Essentials boards is made from premium, sustainably sourced hardwood ply, with no formaldehyde. And most importantly, the top layers for all of our engineered oak floors are made from the same carefully selected and graded European Oak as our solid oak flooring, so that visually, they are just as beautiful.
The width of board used can make a big difference to the look of a finished floor. Wider boards can balance or add intimacy to larger spaces, whilst narrower ones can optically expand smaller rooms. Use of a single board width will generally create a more modern feel, whilst a mixture of widths creates a more traditional look. Most of our plank floors are available in a choice of widths and where this is the case, these can be used together to create a mixed width floor in traditional style (more easily though, as our widths are regular not random).
A simple table on each product page shows which board structures and widths are available. Further dimensions and installation options can be found in our flooring selector.
It is a common myth that real wood cannot be laid over underfloor heating. This simply is not true. We have been successfully supplying real wood floors for this purpose for years - indeed we are recommended by Nu Heat, the UK's largest underfloor heating supplier, to do just that. So, do not be deterred. Most of our flooring can be prepared for underfloor heating in one form or another; these are marked and details of exactly which widths and board structures can be found in our flooring selector. Please note that some may need re-kilning.
What will my floor look like?
Natural variation is part of what makes a real wood floor special, and although no description, sample or image can be exhaustive, it is possible to give a good idea of how it will look overall.
Our product swatches and descriptions are designed to do just that and we are confident that they are illustrative. All swatch images are of traditional boards. Coloured finishes on Strata boards may vary slightly in tone. Samples are available in both formats to help you make your choice.
Where knots are a feature of a floor, these are described as small or large. Smaller knots create a natural, warm looking floor and will be up to approx 25mm across their width. Knots in excess of this are defined as large and will create a floor with a more rustic character. Some knots will have cracks or holes which will be made good with specialist filler in all but 'unfinished' floors (see below).
Most of our plank flooring features a small bevel along the edge of the boards. We think that this is a pretty detail and it also helps accommodate slight imperfections in subfloor levels. There is no bevel on the ends of the boards, so that they run into each other creating the impression of an almost continuous line.
All wood floors need to be sealed with a suitable finishing product before use. The majority of our floors are supplied pre-sealed, ready to walk on the day they are fitted. Most others have the option to be supplied this way, negating the need to sand in situ and any drying time, or to be sealed in situ if you prefer. These boards are machine sanded or textured so need little or no sanding before sealing. A few products are completely unfinished and must be filled, sanded and sealed after installation.