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Published at Thursday, August 03rd 2017. by in Flooring.

Working in the flooring industry we often have customers calling us because they are interested in a solid oak floor. More often than not we end up suggesting they go down the engineered route and then being asked the same thing, `why choose an engineered wood floor over a solid oak floor and does it really feel and look as beautiful?` We are writing this article to briefly outline the main advantages of our engineered wood flooring and why now so many people are choosing the engineered over the traditional solid oak flooring. Throughout this article I will write in reference to a top quality engineered oak flooring with multiple layers of ply wood under core and a thick, long lasting wear layer. I can not speak on behalf of all engineered wood floors as they differ massively in quality and price. In all cases you need to check thoroughly the specifications of the product on offer.

Strip floors, were once the most popular type of sub-floor installed. But with the introduction of manufactured sheathing products, it has become less utilized. Strip floors consist of 1" by 6" or 8" boards, placed diagonally over the floor joist framing system. It is slightly more expensive to install, and requires experienced tradesmen. To install such floors properly, the lumber should be non-kiln dried, with a relatively high moisture content. This may seem odd, but in reality, as the wood dries out, it will shrink.

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This shrinking action pulls the floor together, adding strength to the overall system. The advantages of this type of sub-floor are its strength and durability. One important note, homeowners are often disturbed by the small 1/4" wide gaps, generally left between the individual planks after the wood dries out. Although disturbing to see during construction, upon completion, the spaces are not noticeable, and really have no impact on the sub-floor components at all. Strip floors are designed to be interlocking, through lapping or spacing of joints.

All joists must extend at least 1-1/2" on to a bearing assembly, of either a beam or full height wall, unless metal hangers are installed to provide proper bearing support against other structural components. Beams, which support the floor joists over greater spans, are constructed in the form of laminated joists often referred to as built up beams, or one piece solid load bearing beams, cut from logs or manufactured. Electricians and plumber may often cut or drill into the joist work to install utilities, and this is accepted, so long as they do not remove more material than what is required by codes. This type of floor system is usually the cheapest to install.

Another good flooring for wet areas is the vinyl tile. Typically it is manufactured in much the same way as sheet vinyl, but is much more rigid and comes as 12"x12" square units. They are installed in the much the same way, but require skilled tradesmen, familiar with proper installation. A good installer will start from the middle of the room to ensure that all cut tiles are equal in width at opposing walls. One advantage to this type of flooring, over sheet vinyl, is that it is can be installed, without danger of joint separation, over large areas. For this reason, it is often used in commercial buildings where large rooms are the norm. Vinyl tile can also be easily installed directly to concrete floors. Like vinyl sheets, it too is resistant to water, and tends to be installed in the areas of a building, prone to water accumulations. Tile, can be easily cleaned, is relatively maintenance free, and one of the cheaper finished floors to install.

If your price-point is not even in the same zip code, maybe it is in a different state, start shopping other options. For example if you are in the $1-2/sf range look at the deep discounters or laminate options. The FSC certified 12mm exterior birch plywood that we use to manufacturer the engineered flooring costs us that much alone, not counting all the other labor and materials.

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