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    Pros and cons of the three types of wood flooring

    Summary: Comparing the advantages and disadvantages of solid wood flooring, engineered wood flooring and laminate flooring.

    If you‘re new to wood flooring and are thinking of using it in your home, you may get slightly overwhelmed at the vast array of choice out there. The first choice you'll need to make however is between the three main types: solid or engineered hardwood flooring, both made of real wood; or laminate flooring which imitates real wood. To help you on your way, we've listed the pros and cons for each type:

    Solid wood flooring

    The most expensive but most authentic option of all, solid wood flooring is completely made up of hardwood timber which means it is very long-lasting as it can be sanded and refinished many times over. These floors come in a variety of thicknesses and widths, pre-finished or unfinished with tongue and groove edges and are usually glued or nailed onto the sub-floor.

    While solid wood floors create a feeling of quality and a warm ambience, they do react to seasonal moisture changes by contracting and expanding. This means they should only be installed by a highly qualified fitter who will leave margins between planks to allow for this movement, which in turn will have an effect on cost. Soild wood floors add value to a home so can be considered as an investment. If you can afford to spend a bit more and are looking for a very durable floor, or have a period property which will be complemented by seasonal changes in the floor, a solid wood floor may be right for you.

    Engineered wood flooring

    Usually cheaper, engineered wood flooring is partially made up of hardwood timber with a softwood core, while still maintaining a very natural feel and look. The amount of hardwood layers varies from one to three, which has an effect on durability and price.

    The advantage of the layered construction of engineered wood flooring is that it allows the floor to move more during seasonal moisture changes, making it more stable. These floors also come with tongue and groove edges and some types have been designed with edges that click together, creating glue-less floor joints which make the floor much easier to lay. An example of this is Kahrs flooring with Woodloc joints.

    As engineered wood flooring usually comes pre-finished, the choice of styles and finishes is much greater than with solid wood floors. Engineered flooring is ideal for those who don't have a huge budget, but are still looking for a quality floor that can be just as realistic as solid wood flooring.

    Kahrs Engineered Wood Flooring - lets-do-diy.com

    Laminate flooring

    If you can't afford the real thing, laminate flooring may be the way to go. These floors do not contain any real wood, but instead are made up of a wood-effect printed pattern set within a resin or plastic layer, mounted on top of MDF or HDF with a balancing backing underneath. This layered construction means these floors also move easily with seasonal changes and they are easy to maintain and highly durable, although cheaper laminates may only last 5-15 years. You get what you pay for here.

    The fact that laminate floors simply click into place over a layer of foam makes them easy to lay and a DIY favourite. Laminate floors are colder to the touch and don't look exactly like the real thing, but they are great for those on a budget who still want to create a modern and warm look in a room.

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