Solid wood flooring is exactly that, a single piece of wood from top to bottom.
Engineered wood flooring is also known as real wood flooring, as the whole board is made of different types of wood. The top layer is solid wood, with a layer of wood pieces beneath, laid at 90 degrees to the top layer to create stability. The bottom layer is laid the same as the top layer.
Laminate flooring is made up of a high-density base, with a photograph of wood on top, coated with an acrylic lacquer. There is no real wood in a laminate board.
The structural differences are detailed above. Due to its increased stability, an engineered wood floor reduces the risk of movement due to humidity. This makes it particularly useful in rooms where the temperature and moisture levels can change dramatically, such as bathrooms and conservatories. This stability also makes engineered wood floors better suited for use with underfloor heating systems.
Engineered floors can be laid as a floating floor, as opposed to most solid floors which need to be fixed to the sub-floor. This is particularly useful if you have a concrete sub-floor and cannot raise the height of your floor. In this situation, if you would like to use a wide solid board you would have to fix battens to the concrete to nail the solid flooring to. This would raise the floor by at least 50mm. Instead, an engineered board can be laid as a floating floor using an underlay on top of concrete, removing the height problem.
Most building materials suppliers have a concrete levelling product. We suggest levelling any areas that are more than 3mm across 3 metres in variation. Good preparation of the sub-floor can make a very big difference to the stability of the floor.
We do not advise the use of a carpet underlay, as this is not suitable for wooden flooring. The correct underlay must be used to comply with warranties and our wooden flooring underlays have a built in damp proof membrane.
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