What Are The Pros and Cons Of Engineered Oak Flooring?

16th Oct 2014 @ 16:05

With solid oak flooring being used inside homes down the ages, comes a understanding and well tested product. Therefore it comes as no surprise how some are wary of fitting, what is a effectively a relatively new idea, engineered oak flooring.

For those who are unaware, engineered oak flooring is a combination of a top layer of solid oak, which is bonded to a ply-board base. From above an engineered oak board is designed to look exactly the same as a solid oak board. So what are the pros and cons of engineered oak flooring?

Engineered Oak Flooring Room


Lets begin with the pro’s, as there are so many!

The first advantage is the stability of engineered oak flooring. The construction of these boards mean they are much less prone to movement when compared to solid oak flooring. Changes in humidity will cause solid oak flooring to move, whereas variable humidity levels are less likely to cause an engineered board to move.

This stability opens the door for engineered boards to be used in areas where a solid oak board would simply not be suitable. One such area is over the top of an underfloor heating system. Engineered boards are able to cope with the temperature changes of such systems. This also makes engineered oak flooring the preferred choice for the likes of bathrooms and conservatories as well as over concrete subfloors. With solid oak flooring, only thinner boards should be glued to a concrete subfloor. With engineered oak boards wider boards can be glued.

As mentioned previously, from above a good quality engineered oak board will look exactly the same as an equal quality solid oak board. With solid and engineered flooring, a number of grades are available. So whether you want the cleanness of the Prime grade, or something with a bit more character, this is available. You can enjoy all of the advantages of an engineered oak board, with the same look and feel of a solid oak board.

One of the issues many believe to be true regarding engineered oak flooring is that it will not last as long as a solid oak board and not have as many "sandings" available. This however is not the case as equivalent solid and engineered boards will have equal sandings. This is due to the positioning of the tongue on solid oak boards. The thickness from the top of the board to the top of the tongue is equal to the thickness of the wear layer of an equivalent engineered oak board.

Engineered Oak Flooring Room


With so many advantages to engineered oak flooring, what, if any, are the disadvantages?

The only real disadvantage that some see to engineered bards is the perception that "its not traditional solid oak flooring". As we mentioned earlier, from above engineered will look the same as solid oak flooring.

The cost element of engineered oak flooring is the only other downside. Despite perception, engineered boards are more costly than solid boards, due to the added machining costs.


so engineered oak and solid oak can be used in different rooms but hold the same visual? I.e. Solid oak in the dining room and engineered oak in the attached conservatory?

By implication above you can't use solid oak in a conservatory?

Jason Barker October 24, 2014 at 8:40am

Hi Jason,

Yes, from above, engineered oak flooring and solid oak flooring of the same grade will look the same visually. It is only from the side where the differences can be seen.

As for the conservatory environment, generally these areas will have variable humidity levels and changes in temperature. Engineered oak flooring is much less prone to movement caused by these changes, so is therefore often more suitable.

Hope this helps

Peak Oak October 24, 2014 at 2:50pm

We are building a modern house with a lot of glass. Will the sun cause colour fade and will sanding reinstate the colour. How often will this be necessary. Will the sun cause shrinking and gaps to appear?

Robin John Balmain September 30, 2021 at 4:53pm

Hi Robin,

Whether fading occurs and to what extent is dependent on the type of wood flooring finish chosen and the colour. Naturally the flooring finish will mellow over time. As for shrinking, this is dependent on how excessive the temperature and humidity changes are. Engineered oak flooring is designed to be less prone to movement than solid oak flooring.

Hope this helps.

Peak Oak October 4, 2021 at 4:30pm

Add a comment

(will not be published)

* required field