“You get what you pay for” is an old wise tale, which is important in all walks of life. This is none more so true than in the engineered oak flooring market. Time and time again we hear stories of people buying what appears to be “cheap” engineered oak flooring, only for it all to go wrong. This story once again came to head in a recent hotel fit in London.
A couple of years ago we were approached by a hotel to supply and fit some of our engineered oak flooring for some of their “premier suites”. Sadly the hotel decided to opt for an alternative company citing price as a critical factor. This company was offering their “engineered oak flooring” at a cheaper cost. This flooring was therefore supplied and fitted by said company…
Two years later we return to the scene…
We received a call from the hotel – the floor had gone wrong. The engineered oak boards have cupped, warped, moved and the finish is simply not hard wearing enough! Upon visual inspection from ourselves we could not believe our eyes for such a high quality establishment, the engineered oak flooring was simply not good enough.
We were asked to remove the flooring and replace it with some our own engineered oak flooring.
So what was wrong with the original flooring?
Thickness Of Board
The first point of note is the thickness of board. These boards only had an overall thickness of 15mm. This equated to only 11mm of plyboard and a 4mm wear layer. An engineered boards soul purpose is to provide more stability than solid boards. By opting for a thinner engineered board, you are compromising on this stability.
This brings us onto our next point, warped boards. This was the main reason for the hotel wishing for these boards to be removed. Engineered boards are designed to be much more stable and less prone to these problems.
Some of these boards were cupped, which is where the centre of a board is lower is lower than its edges. This gives a concave appearance across the board. On the other hand some boards appeared to had suffered from crowning. This is where the boards edges are lower than its centre to give a convex appearance across the board.
Quality Of Plyboard
The quality of this plyboard was the next point we noticed. In some areas the plyboard could quite literally be broken away by hand. This is of course does not provide much peace of mind when laying engineered oak flooring. We also noted how there was jointed ply. This is where areas of plyboard have been stuck together across the length of boards, instead of consisting of a single stretch of ply along the board.
Finish Of Boards
The finish of the boards was perhaps the most obvious point we noticed with these boards. If you intend to spend your money on oak flooring, you want your oak flooring to actually look like oak. We found that this finish took away from the look of oak, and gave an almost laminated look to the boards.
Perhaps the most disturbing factor of the finish was the colour variation. Supplied in sealed packs, these boards varied massively in colour. Some boards were very light and others very dark. This resulted in some boards looking completely out of place in the room.
So what was the original flooring replaced with?
European Engineered Oak Flooring
As mentioned previously, we came in and replaced the boards with our Unfinished European Engineered Oak Flooring in the Prime Grade.
Thickness Of Board / Quality Of Plyboard
The overall thickness of our boards was 20mm. This equates to 6mm of solid oak and 14mm of Siberian birch ply. This ensures that you have a strong, engineered oak board which offers much greater stability. Unlike the previous engineered boards, these boards do not use jointed ply.
Length Of Board
As with all of our oak flooring, our lengths of board were all long lengths. These boards were all 2 metre or over, with no unsightly short lengths.
Grade Of Timber
“Prime is Prime” is one of our main motto’s here at Peak Oak. Our boards are hand selected, to ensure when you ask for Prime grade, you get Prime grade. These boards are uniform in colour and completely free from the knots and cracks which are seen in the other grades.
Finish Of Boards
Supplied unfinished, the Prime grade can be stained, oiled or waxed however you require. The hotel again requested a darker finish, to match the rest of the room. For this a hard wearing hard wax oil was used, with a dark stain to provide the colour. Hard wax oils such as the Blanchon and the Osmo, provide a hard wearing natural look to oak flooring.
If you would like to discuss any of the points discussed in this post further, please give us a call on 01538 304584.