Wood Flooring FAQs

What is an 'engineered' wood floor?  Is it real wood?

An engineered wood floor refers to the construction of the floor, it is still made entirely from wood - there are no plastic or resin layers as there are in laminate.  Engineered or cross-ply wooden floors are made up of usually 3 to 5 layers, all laid perpendicular to each other to improve the stability of the floor.  One of the drawbacks of a solid wooden floor is their susceptibility to moisture - over time, the floor may shrink, or the boards may cup.  Engineered floors solve this problem with their layered construction: the top layer is hardwood, followed by intermediate layers of usually plantation timbers such as pine or hevea, plywood may also be used.  The bottom layer is generally pine or spruce.  


Is solid wood flooring better than prefinished engineered wood flooring?

Solid and prefinished wood flooring are equally good; your choice will depend on your individual building and design requirements. Prefinished engineered wood flooring has the following advantages over solid wood flooring:

  • A wider choice of wood species and finishes (brushing, distressing etc)
  • The multi-layer construction is stronger and more dimensionally stable than solid wood, so you can easily use a wider board
  • The factory finished UV-hardened lacquer provides a flawless finish out of the box
  • The floor can be sanded and resurfaced 4-5 times if necessary
  • Quick and easy no mess installation; solid wood requires additional sanding and lacquering
  • Prefinished wood flooring helps to conserve forests by consuming less slow growing timber


What is the difference between plank and 3-strip formats?

Plank is made using a 1820mm or 2200mm long continuous strip of 145mm, 190mm or 220mm wide wood veneer and offers an elegant, clean and more uniform look. 3-strip is made using random short lengths of timber laminated together three wide to form a 190mm wide board. 3-strip has more character because of the variation in colour. It is more affordable and has the advantage of hiding marks especially in the

darker timbers.


What does the grade mean?

Prefinished wood flooring often comes in more than one grade to signify the amount of variation in grain and colour and the number and size of knots. The different grades only describe the appearance of the wood face, not the overall quality of the product For more information on grade, read the article on choosing a wood floor.


The installed wood floor doesn't look like the sample piece I have?

Wood flooring is a natural product, so no two planks are alike.  Before selecting a floor we recommend viewing a few samples (ask your sales representative to show you samples specifically showing the colour and grain variation), and viewing any installation photos that are available.  Remember that a Rustic floor will have more board to board colour variation than a Prime floor, but in a large area this colour variation looks natural.  A skilled installer will work from several packs, blending the floor as it's installed. Planks that don't work in the space - eg are too light or too dark may be used somewhere inconspicuous.  


As well as this the wood changes colour over time, so a newly installed floor will look different from the sample, and then will look different a month after installation, and six months later etc. This isn't noticeable - the change is gradual. The floor will look more uniform the more it ages. 


If the idea of a floor that's going to change over time, or the possibility of colour variation is an issue, then we would suggest a laminate flooring may be more suitable - many now are almost indistinguishable (once installed) from real wood, they are easy to maintain and as a print they don't change colour.


Are wood floors suitable for bathrooms?

We do not recommend wood flooring in bathrooms. Their high levels of moisture and humidity and standing puddles of water can damage wood floors.


Do you recommend under floor heating under wood flooring?

Under floor heating works well with most wood flooring provided it is on a thermostat and limited to a maximum setting of 27°C. The heating system must be a water-borne or self-limiting electrical heating system that provides an even heat over the whole area of the floor. It must be switched off 48 hours before and after the installation of your wood flooring then brought up to temperature gradually over several days.


If my floor gets damaged by an accident, how can it be repaired?

Individual boards can be cut out and replaced provided that spare planks have been saved for such occurrences. Unfortunately we cannot guarantee the ongoing availability of the same size planks as trends in board width and locking systems change regularly, so we always recommend an extra box is purchased.


What is the best cleaning and maintenance programme?  Can I use a steam mop?

A steam mop should definitely NOT be used and any use of one will void your warranty.  This is because wood floors do not like excess moisture.  Wood floors should be swept, vacuumed or dry mopped regularly.  They can be damp mopped as required, with minimal water and a neutral cleaner such as Tarkoclean.  Periodically we recommend Refresher to revive the lacquer on the surface - this is a wipe on, wipe off product that reduces the appearance of micro scratches and restores the floor to its original sheen in worn areas. Review our Maintenance guidelines for detailed information.


Further reading

See each Collection in the Wood Flooring range for more information on the colours available, plus installation and maintenance guidelines.