It is incredibly popular nowadays to invest time and money into various projects of home renovation and interior design. Some homeowners do it to create a more spacious living space others to make their property standout in a competitive rental or selling market. If you ever considered fitting wood flooring in an attempt to inject an element of luxury onto your interior, you must have come across many options and considerations. Often the choice and complexity that goes onto wood flooring seems overwhelming to many homeowners. In this guide we aim to simplify your options.

Building Permits

Wood flooring does not require special building permits provided you replace like for like. Assuming you already have a flooring solution in place, no other permits are required. However, if the property was build after 2003, your flooring solution must comply with the  ‘The Building Regulations Approved Document E’ of 2003 in relation to ‘sound pollution’. All flooring produce sound when you step on the floor as well as due to the passage of sound between the floors to the downstairs property via the celling. To comply with ‘The Building Regulations Approved Document E’ you must fit an underlay with acoustic noise reduction features measured in dB and reduction of passing noise measured in percentage.

Suitability Around The Property

Wood flooring can fit almost any area within the property provided the correct type is selected. Most homeowners are unaware that ‘wood flooring’ comprises of two types of floorboard construction with significant differences between the two. In some cases, fitting an incorrect type will dramatically reduce the expected service life of the floor from many years to a matter of months. The two floorboard construction types are ‘solid wood flooring’ and its alternative ‘engineered wood flooring’.

  • Solid Wood Flooring – Solids are the traditional wood floorboards that most homeowners associate as wood flooring. Each floorboard is made from complete hardwood without any other material added.
  • Engineered Wood Flooring – Engineered floorboard construction is made from layers of wood and artificial materials glued together. The top layer (the one visible to the eye) is made from hardwood, while the layers below are made from MDF, Plywood and other artificial materials.

Choosing Solid or Engineered Wood Flooring  

The decision of choosing one construction type over the other is often based on particular constrains in terms of area around the property. Traditionally, wood does not cope well in humid conditions which makes areas such as the bathroom and kitchen out of the question, however with the introduction of engineered wood flooring, it is possible to fit wood flooring across the entire property. Here are a few common scenarios in residential properties.

Fitting Wood Flooring Outdoors – Neither solid nor engineered wood flooring are suitable for the outdoors. Homeowners who are looking to fit wood flooring outdoors should look instead for hardwood decking, a type of wood which can cope with the weather and won’t damage from the elements. Typical hardwoods that make suitable decking boards are IPE, Iroko and Teak.

Bathroom, Kitchen and Basement Areas – These areas as well as certain conservatories are likely to consist of humid, damp and wet conditions. These conditions will damage natural wood which makes fitting solid wood flooring in these conditions a big and costly mistake. However, engineered wood flooring with a suitable waterproof coating can fit the bathroom, kitchen and basement areas well.

Interiors With UFH – Under Floor Heating (UFH) are becoming more common in residential properties. The heat from the heating body will cause wood to expand and contract when the temperature goes down again. It will eventually damage the wood which makes solid wood flooring unsuitable to fit over UFH. On the other hand, engineered wood flooring due to the mixture of materials in their core will prove impervious to heat and can therefore be fitted over under floor heating.

Other Areas – If the above conditions do not apply in your property, solid wood flooring is often the preferred choice due to its superior lifespan. Natural wood is far stronger than artificial material which equals long service life. Solid wood flooring can exceed 100 years of loyal service, compared to half in the case of engineered wood flooring.

If you have any questions, please leave your comment below.

Written for Dawn Sandoval Residential by Wood and Beyond are ethical vendors of timber and hardwood products.