Is "Cheap" Engineered Oak Flooring Really "Cheap"?
The oak flooring market can be a minefield. Solid or engineered, unfinished or pre-finished, thin or thick, wide or narrow, it can be difficult to know what is good and what is bad. One of the most important aspects of oak flooring is the materials sourced and how they are constructed.
Due to its construction of oak and ply, many are led to believe that engineered oak flooring should be cheaper than solid oak flooring. This however is not the case. When comparing a like for like solid and engineered board, the engineered oak board will be more costly. This is because of the cost of machining and the extra materials which are used to make up an engineered board. Engineered oak flooring also brings added stability and the ability to be used in a broader range of areas.
When looking at engineered oak flooring, one of the first points you should look out for is how thick the solid oak wear layer is. A wear layer that is insufficiently thick will only have a limited lifespan. A good thick wear layer will ensure a longer lifespan.
The next point to look at is the how many layers of ply there are are underneath the solid oak wear layer. The more layers, the more stable the board is likely to be. The image above shows our standard engineered oak flooring consisting of 11 layers of ply compared with a board consisting of only 8 layers.
The quality of the ply used, and the bonding process, is a further critical point of engineered oak flooring. Poor quality ply that has been poorly bonded together is much more likely to break apart and in some cases can literally be pulled apart by hand (see image below). When these types of boards are actually laid as a floor, they are much more prone to problems than a engineered board constructed with high quality ply-board.
With the construction of the board established, the final point to look at is what lengths of boards are available. Many oak flooring suppliers will sell packs containing very short lengths. Once laid, these short pieces will look unsightly. Therefore the longer the lengths are, the better your floor will look.
To really see the difference qualities of oak flooring, we always suggest you take a look at the boards in person. If you would however like to discuss engineered oak flooring with us further, please give us a call on 01538 304584.