Are There Any Disadvantages To Choosing Engineered Oak Flooring?

23rd Sep 2016

As suppliers of both solid and engineered oak flooring we often get asked what are the advantages of choosing one type over the other. For the more "complicated" areas engineered oak flooring is often the preferred option. However on a day to day basis we often hear what some believe to be disadvantages when choosing engineered oak flooring, but are these beliefs true? Are there any disadvantages?

"It’s Not Real Oak"

Probably the most common statement we hear is "but its not real oak". Whilst strictly engineered oak boards are not 100% oak, this is still a common misconception. Engineered oak flooring is a combination of a solid oak top layer, which is bonded to a ply-board under layer. This means that from above equal quality engineered oak flooring and solid oak flooring will look no different whatsoever.

With both solid oak flooring and engineered oak flooring, the same choice of grades are available. Whether you require a board with a range of knots (such as the character) or a completely clean, minimalist grade (such as the prime grade) this can be achieved with both solid and engineered oak flooring. Equally the same choice of colours are also often available with engineered oak flooring, whether you decide to opt for an unfinished board to finish yourself, or whether you opt for a prefinished option.

Classic Grade Engineered Oak Flooring

"So Engineered Oak Flooring Is Like Laminate?"

No, in fact engineered flooring and laminate flooring couldn't be more different. Laminate flooring is a synthetic product which consists of a ply or fibreboard back with a printed plastic top. This printed image top layer is to give the impression of a real wood floor. Engineered oak flooring is a combination of real wood and a plyboard base.

"But Surely The Wear Layer Won’t Last?"

Many believe that because of the wear layer of an engineered oak board, that eventually through sanding you will reach the plyboard base - making the engineered oak board no longer usable. Like before, this is a common misconception. Equal quality solid oak flooring and engineered oak flooring will in fact last just as long as each other.

The reason for this can be explained through our 20mm solid oak flooring and engineered oak flooring. The thickness between the top of the solid oak board and its tongue is the same as the thickness of the wear layer of our engineered oak flooring. This means both can be sanded just as many times and last for just as long. In reality, when using a hard wearing finish, your oak floor will not need to be sanded for many, many years. When sanding only a small amount of oak will be removed, meaning that good quality solid oak flooring and good quality engineered oak flooring will last a lifetime.

Solid & Engineered Oak Floor Comparison

"Does Engineered Oak Flooring Need To Be Fitted Differently?"

Like our solid oak flooring, our engineered oak boards are tongue and grooved around all four sides. This allows them to be fitted in the same methods as a solid oak flooring; such as secret screwing or secret nailing through the boards tongue into the joists or wooden subfloor. The great advantage of engineered oak boards means they can also be laid in ways solid cannot; such as using the glueing method or the floating method. The glueing method involves using a flexible flooring adhesive to glue the engineered oak boards to the subfloor. The floating method entails running a bead of glue along the tongue of the board - which then sticks to the groove of the next board. Solid oak flooring should not be fitted in this manner.

"What About Width And Lengths?"

Our engineered oak flooring is available in the same long lengths and widths as the solid oak flooring. Furthermore, with the added stability of an engineered board, we are able to offer much wider boards up to 300mm.

If you have any questions regarding engineered oak flooring, please give us a call on 01538 304584.


Very helpful information. Once installed, an engineered wood floor can be difficult to distinguish from a solid plank floor. Thanks for sharing.

Jazmine Patton September 29, 2016 at 9:35am

The 20 mm thickness of your engineered flooring is an improvement over what is commonly sold in the US. 20 millimeters is about 7/8 of an inch.
One issue I see with engineered wood flooring - I don't know of a hardness testing system particular to engineered wood flooring, such as the janka system that is used on solid hardwoods. So consumers are left only with the option of comparing solid hardwood janka tests of the top layer, which I don't think is valid. The top layer might be very hard but if the underlying layers are softer or less dense, a janka hardness test isn't sufficient.

Paul December 2, 2016 at 9:50am

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