talk to me about…. wooden/laminate flooring

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  • talk to me about…. wooden/laminate flooring
  • Premier Icon tor5

    Hoping the STW hive mind can point me in the right direction here.

    Looks like we’ll be decorating the living areas of the house in the new year and a wood/laminate floor seems to be on the agenda, which means I need to get up to speed quickly…

    So: real wood, engineered wood (what is engineered wood?) or laminate? how much should I expect to pay for materials and fitting and where do I source those things.

    Was looking at real wood a few years ago and joiner told me to look at laminate as I have a dog and real wood would look distressed very quickly so I went for laminate (cheapest option ) and it has been the best option IMO.

    Premier Icon tthew

    Engineered wood is, (how to describe it) like a really ace ply-wood. Good quality, but not pretty base wood, covered with a really thick veneer. Generally thick enough to sand down a couple of times.

    It’s a little less prone to warping, (from wet cleaning/weather) and more resistant to damage from heels and such and a bit cheaper I believe, though I’m no expert.

    Looked great in our hall for a good few years now. Ours was from Wickes and a good price at the time.

    Premier Icon jairaj

    laminate is basically MDF planks with a wood effect on the top. Its usually the cheapest and requires very little maintenance. £10 – 25 sq metre.

    Real wood as the name implies is simply planks of real wood. Requires annual maintenance in the form of oiling or varnishing. Unless you get a very hard wood it can be liable to marking by pointed objects like stiletto heels. usually the most expensive option. £30 – £80 sq metre

    Engineered wood is laminate flooring with a thin later of real wood on top. mid priced option but usually requires same maintenance as real wood. £20 – £50 sq metre.

    No idea on fitting costs I laid my laminate flooring my self.


    We have engineered oak with osmo polyx oil finish (recommended on here) its been down a couple of years and looks as good as new. We have a very big bouncy dogs and 2 small boys so it takes a pounding.

    If it does get damaged then a rubdown of the effected area with a scotchpad and a wipe over with fresh oil is all that’s needed (only ever needed to do that when the dog left a particularly acidic poo on it over night which reacted with the oil)

    Engineered oak is a thin (or quite thick) layer of wood on a laminated backing of ply. Makes it more stable than solid wood so less likely to split or warp. Can usually be sanded if it gets damaged but we’ve had no cause to.

    Wasn’t much more expensive than decent laminate either.

    I laid oak boards in most rooms 2006/7. Osmo oiled at the time with two coats since. Dogs, Kids & wife & still waring well. The odd joint has opened a tad but hell its wood. I deal with loads of knackered laminate flooring damaged by water leaks. Much prefer wood over engineered but I have seen some decent engineered wood floors.

    Premier Icon flap_jack

    Got floating floors of both. Real wood looks better but has opened a mm or so on some of the joints. The engineered has a click-fit system so hasn’t moved but looks a tiny bit more artificial. Would recommend either, and even a clumsy oaf like me can fit them…


    We have b and g real oak . It has stood up really well to about 5 years daily wear 2 of which with a toddler.

    Easy to lay but LEAVE AN EXPANSION GAP round the walls as per the fitting instructions. If I did it again I would remove the skirting boards first then refit them on top of the floor so the skirting board conceals the expansion gap rather than using trim.


    We have used laminate in our last two homes, based on the low maintanance aspect. Its surviving young kids quite well. Would prefer real wood but accept this compromise. Suggest you consider the colour….last house we had a light coloured laminate, this house we have dark which makes scratches/damage more visible. This house also got a lot of natural light (1970 design with BiG windows whereas last house was early 2000’s new build which I guess may highlight the blemishes).

    Premier Icon coolhandluke

    Engineered wood here, nice because the laminate we used to have had repeat patterns in it which did my head in even though it was only me who noticed.

    It feels warmer too but probably isn’t.

    Premier Icon Kryton57

    Engineered wood recently layed by STW’s resident expert and loving it. We had laminate in our old house and now I’ve experience the difference I wouldn’t go back.

    I appreciate there is a cost issue, but if you can avoid laminate try to IMO.


    Engineered wood here, old victorian house so real wood is not an option as it isn’t stable enough with moisture/temp changes we have from summer to winter.

    Not in any way inferior to real wood if you buy some decent stuff, and ours was actually more expensive than real oak boards.

    As above, get one with click fit or similar which doesn’t need glue and it’s as easy as laminate to fit, will require a circ saw and mitre saw though (will save hours of labour!).

    Inlaws have real oak down, looked great for the 1st year, then they fitted a wood burner in the room and the floor really doesn’t like it, lots of gaps opening and floor now starting to warp too…

    One important thing to keep in mind is the height difference, engineered and real wood are pretty thick in comparisson to laminate, and ensure you remember to add the height (and cost) of decent underlay.

    Good luck

    Premier Icon tor5

    Thanks gents. Our place was built around 1900 so I guess the temp/moisture thing mentioned by wideboy applies here too… I hadn’t thought of that so valuable advice!


    We have a dampish house and a woodburner hence the bold fit an expansion gap . Our solid oak expanded and bulged in the third year and I had to retro fit an expansion gap using a power drill chisels and a router held free hand. Our floor is on the sticky back plastic underlay and so floats as a unit . Despite significant moisture variation it has stayed tightly together.


    We’ve had Pergo laminate in two newer houses, including a hallway. It is expensive, hard-wearing and not too hard to lay. On the continent they take it with them when they move. I preferred the lower maintenance. But proper laminate isn’t any cheaper than lower spec real wood.

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