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Solid wood timber flooring is made from a strip of solid wood milled directly from the tree, usually between 15mm and 20mm thick. Solid timber floorboards can be finished with oil or lacquer for both aesthetic reasons and durability depending on the traffic you expect on the boards. As timber is a natural product, solid wood floors can expand and contract with changes in the relative humidity, therefore an expansion gap between the floor and the wall is required (usually covered by the skirting board). You can fix solid timber floors by nailing or screwing them down onto existing floorboards, joists, battens or chipboard. If fixing on solid subfloors such as concrete, you can glue the boards down or use a suitable underlay (which will have the added benefit of extra comfort and soundproofing). Solid timber is probably the most durable choice when it comes to wood flooring, but they need to be fitted with the correct preparation and professional advice, with special care taken where any moisture is present. But fitted properly, a solid timber floor can offer warmth and charm in your home or office for many years. Popular solid wood flooring hardwood species include European Oak, American Oak, Ash, Maple, Black Walnut and Cherry.
Engineered wood flooring is a cheaper alternative to solid timber and has the same look as solid wood, but it is made of a top layer of solid hardwood 3 to 5mm thick, bonded onto a base layer of plywood or medium-high density fibreboard. This flooring is more tolerant to changes in temperature and relative humidity, displaying very little expansion/contraction when compared to solid timber flooring. You can fit engineered wood flooring in the same way you would fit a solid timber floor, you can even apply the oil or lacquer finish of your choice. Engineered Wood Flooring is a relative newcomer to the UK but there are several manufacturers launching in recent years offering flooring ranges using only the best quality of timber materials for construction.
Solid wood flooring is the most expensive type of wooden flooring and should be installed by professionals for long lasting results. Solid wood planks 150mm wide will cost you from £30 to £50 per square metre oiled and lacquered. The installation cost will in addition cost from £15 to £80 per metre for solid timber flooring. However, professional tradesman will usually give a 10 to 15 year guarantee on their work and the price normally include a sealer for the timber. The reason for the variation in installation cost is due to the different woods and also the shape of the room (unusual shaped rooms will be more labour intensive and some woods are more difficult to work with than others).
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