Can you Install my Engineered Hardwood Floor?

This is a question i hear everyday and you are certainly not the only person thinking about this very issue. In fact Hardwood Flooring as a whole is currently undergoing a massive growth trend worldwide, much due to the advent of Engineered Flooring. As an Specialist installer i am not involved in the initial sale of the flooring material, which in many cases is the main focus of the selection process. Once a prospective client has chosen their preferred flooring options, they are referred to an installer; this is where i step in.

Now in the trade, we are referred to as Floor Mechanics; that is to say we are not the sales men of the industry, but rather are focused on making Hardwood Floors work (and stay working!). Needless to say, things can get rather technical and chaotic on this side of the fence so to speak, and everyone needs their Floor Mechanic to be trust worthy and effective. I have thus sat down to punch out a basic guideline as to what you, as the client and ultimate user, need to be aware of; a voice from the other side of the fence if you wish.

There are 3 components to any Hardwood Floor: a) the floor material (your “wood”); b) the installation method and c) the finish used to protect it. Each one of these 3 aspects need to be matched to your requirements to ensure you get your dream floor. They are each as important, to your complete Hardwood Floor and you need to understand each aspect in order to be sure the combination will work for your specific requirements. As we specialise in delivering high quality Hardwood Floors, fully fitted and finish, this job of finding the right mix, falls squarely in my lap. So lets look at what all these options are.

Flooring material and especially Engineered Floors are well marketed and pretty easy to find for most clients. This is certainly the most important aspect of your floor and also the easiest to decide on. I won’t go into the various timbers now, but it is notable that by far the most popular flooring timber is Oak. Engineered Floors are composite products with a upper “Wear Layer” of Hardwood and a lower “Substrate” from a plywood or core base. This type of construction yields a very stable floor plank which allows Engineered floor planks to be thinner and wider than solid timber floor planks. As Engineered Flooring is man-made, it is very important to purchase from a reputable importer, as you needs to be sure this product will last it’s full lifetime.

Once you have chosen you flooring material, you will need to consider the Installation. This is possibly the most difficult aspect, as it is very technical and also very costly if it goes wrong. There are a number of different ways in which your Engineered Hardwood Floor can be installed; this will depend on many various aspects, including site restrictions, budget, required lifestyle/usage, etc. The 2 most popular options are Floating and Glue-down. In both cases the Engineered Floor will be laid above a cement screed; the Floating Installation as a loose lay and Glue-down is glued to the screed with specialist glues. Here you will also need to acquire the services of a Specialist Installer, who can guide you through all these technical aspects. Such a Specialist will be able to inspect your site to ensure climatic conditions, subfloors, etc. are all acceptable for the installation of your Hardwood Floor and provide quality advise on the best methods.

Your Specialist will also be able to guide you through the final component of your Hardwood Floor: the Finish. With Hardwood Floors the most regularly mentioned finishes are: Varnish & Oil. Varnishes are by far the most popular due to their low maintenance and easy cleaning. Nowadays most varnishes are available as water-based, which is generally healthier and more environmental. It always makes sense to spend as much on your finish product as possible, as this will ensure ease of use and good lifetime. An expensive varnish will also require top quality sanding equipment, so be sure your Specialist is correctly equipped. Your finish is what is seen and what must handle all the wear & tear, so I cannot stress the importance of this enough.

Well now that we have covered all the important components of a Hardwood Floor, you should be better placed to ask the right sort of questions of your potential contractors. Any Hardwood Flooring Client will be making a large investment with the expectation that it will last a very long time. If your Specialist is not able to provide meaningful input on the various technicalities of your project, then you must find further input. The loss of value and massive inconvenience of a failed floor is certain not worth the risk otherwise.

Despite all the technicalities and the massive cost, the returns are great; there is simply no equal to a Hardwood Floor. Not only the lifestyle, but also the assurance that you will recoup this cost when selling, make it very good value all round – even if it does stretch your budget somewhat. It is always very special to see how quickly a new Hardwood Floor can turn a slightly tired house into a truly natural and balanced home.

Jo Brom
“passionately creating excellence”