Why Does Solid Wood Flooring Get a Bad Press?
A lot of people come to us and ask "Why does solid wood flooring get such a bad press?". And it's true, if you search the internet, you will find a plethora of articles and reports highlighting the negative aspects of solid wood flooring, particularly when compared to engineered wood flooring. Some of the negative aspects you will read about are as follows:
The negative aspects of solid wood flooring
- It cannot be used in conjunction with underfloor heating systems
- It cannot be used in wet or damp areas such as bathrooms and basements
- It cannot be installed using the floating floor installation method and thus:
- It requires a professional floor fitter to install and should not be attempted by DIY enthusiasts
- Due to the above, it is expensive to install
- It is expensive to buy
- It can be prone to expanding, contracting, bowing, cupping and generally moving necessitating expensive repairs
Reading through the above list you would be forgiven for thinking "Why would anyone ever even think of buying a solid wood floor?" Now, whilst some of the above points may have some truth in them, it is worth discussing these issues point by point in order to dispel any myths and reafirm those that may need to be considered before buying a solid wood floor before moving onto the actual advantages of solid wood flooring.
There are some companies that will say you can use solid wood flooring with underfloor heating systems provided that the boards have a width that is no greater than a certain width (though this information will vary) and that the temperature and humidity stays within a certain range. What they will not mention is that this is not only impractical but virtually impossible to achieve and that any warranty or guarantee will be void if these stringent conditions are not met. So at Floorsave, we do not recommend laying solid wood flooring over an underfloor heating system. However, if you are not planning to do this, it's a non-issue.
Again, like the above point, we do not recommend laying solid wood flooring in wet or damp areas like bathrooms and basements due to its propensity to expand and contract as it absorbs and loses moisture causing problems such as bowing and cupping but again, if this is not what you're planning to do, it is a non-issue.
Solid wood flooring needs to be fully bonded to the subfloor using either the nail/staple down method if the subfloor is wooden or using the glue down method if the subfloor is concrete. The latter will also necessitate a 2 part, liquid damp proof membrane to cover the subfloor first. Yes, this is a job that should be done by a professional floor fitter and will incur the cost that that involves. However, this cost will be offset by advantages that we will come to shortly.
Solid wood flooring is more expensive than laminate flooring which is a much cheaper option though nothing like as beautiful or long lasting but it is a myth that it is more expensive than engineered wood flooring, in fact, it can often be cheaper than some engineered flooring options.
With regard to the potential problems of bowing, gapping and movement associated with solid wood floors, these can all be avoided when installed correctly and manufacturer's guidelines are followed. So, what are the advantages of solid wood flooring?
The advantages of solid wood flooring
The advantage of solid wood flooring is really quite simple. It will last a lifetime. This is because it can be re-sanded and refinished many many times. Whereas an engineered floor such as engineered oak flooring has a solid wood, top wear layer of between 3 mm and 8 mm meaning that it can only be re-sanded and finished 2 or 3 times, a solid wood floor is solid wood from top to bottom. The only thing that places any limit on how many times it can be re-sanded is the tongue and groove that fits the boards together. It should not be sanded beyond this but this is far deeper in the board than any wear layer of an engineered floor.
So if you are looking for a floor that will last nigh on forever and particularly if the area is likely to experience high foot traffic and wear you should choose a solid wood floor. In domestic situations these might include kitchens or other rooms if you have pets and/or children. But solid wood flooring really comes into its own in commercial situations and public spaces like pubs, clubs, bars, shops and other work spaces.
So before heeding the advice of the nay sayers, take into consideration the above points and ask yourself this. "Why is it that solid wood floors have been in existence for centuries?". Get the picture?