Bringing the calmness of nature indoors throughout the seasons, oak floors are an ideal way of introducing warmth, pattern and character – in a sustainable way. However, not all wood flooring is suitable for every room in the home. Solid flooring, for example, has historically been the primary choice for interiors but is not suitable for environments with high humidity and can’t be used with underfloor heating. Engineered oak boards, on the other hand, can be fitted in most rooms in the house and creates a high-end finish that is surprisingly simple to care for and extremely durable.
An engineered board has up to 11 layers of hardwood backing, with each layer glued at a 90° angle to the adjoining layer. The surface layer of precious hardwood, such as oak, is then glued on top, resulting in a much more stable floor with robust construction. For installers, it’s important to note that all wood flooring must have an expansion gap of a minimum of 10mm around the perimeter of the floor; this is normally hidden under the skirting and allows space for the wood floor to expand and contract when there is a rise in humidity levels or when the heating is turned off.
Engineered floors can tolerate this continual movement as the cross plying of the various layers make it more ridged and stable.
On style with wood
When it comes to choosing flooring for your home, it’s important to go with a style that doesn’t just suit your space in terms of function but also style. One of the many good things about oak flooring is the variety available in pattern options. From straight boards to parquet, there is an option to suit any setting.
Injecting personality and character into large and small spaces alike, the trend for real wood flooring means parquet has never been so popular, bringing a timeless elegance to any area of the home. Creating an elegant and sophisticated look, the combination of colour, wood detailing and pattern that is possible with parquet makes this a real statement floor, whether your home is traditional or contemporary in style.
Parquet blocks have been back in fashion for a while and, despite being a huge trend, are quite classic in style, offering the best of both worlds. The combination of colour, wood detailing and pattern make this a real statement floor. For an up-to-date look, go large with 600mm-sized blocks. Alternatively, aged designs are great for adding extra character, as they look like reclaimed blocks. Ultimately, the style of laying pattern may depend on the size of the board, the species and grade of wood or the finish.
Away from patterns, extra-long and extra-wide boards are now in vogue too. This look is beneficial in small and large spaces, creating a streamlined impression with fewer seams for a clean and cohesive look.
Shades of oak
Just as when choosing a colour for your walls, choosing the right shade of wood flooring should be based on how large the room is, how much natural light it enjoys and the overall decor. Smaller rooms benefit from lighter woods, while larger spaces can more comfortably accommodate darker tones such as walnut.
Once laid, keeping engineered wood flooring looking as good as new is straightforward, too; a combination of dry cleaning to remove dirt and dust particles and damp cleaning to protect it against scratches is all that is needed for lacquered or oiled floors. With just a little care, oak is a flooring choice that will last a lifetime.