If you are planning on upgrading your flooring, engineered oak is an excellent choice. It is affordable, durable and looks stunning in any home. You might be asking yourself, “What is engineered oak flooring?” Essentially, it is a plank consisting of a thin layer of real oak bonded to a stable core made of high-density fiberboard or plywood. This construction technique provides better water resistance and durability compared to solid hardwood. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to choose and install engineered oak flooring:
Choosing the Right Engineered Oak Flooring
The quality of engineered oak flooring varies greatly depending on the manufacturer. Therefore, it’s important to do your research before making a purchase. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the right engineered oak flooring for your space:
Thickness and Wear Layer
The thickness of the wear layer is important because it determines how often the floor can be sanded and refinished. A thicker wear layer allows more room for future refinishing, so it’s worth investing in a product with a wear layer thickness of at least 4mm. The total thickness of the plank can vary from one manufacturer to another, but popular options range from 10mm to 20mm.
Grading and Finish
Another crucial factor to consider is the grading of the oak and the finish of the planks. Oak planks come in different grades, which refer to the natural defects, knots, grains, and patterns present in the wood. Higher-grade oak planks are more expensive, but they have fewer imperfections, providing a cleaner and more elegant look. The finish plays an important role in the durability of the floor. Choose a product that has a high-quality lacquer or oil filling, as this will increase the floor’s resistance to scratches, spills, and fading.
Style and Color
Engineered oak flooring is available in a variety of styles and colors, from rustic and distressed to smooth and modern. It’s essential to choose a color and style that will complement the rest of your home’s decor. For example, if you have a lot of natural light in your space, consider a lighter shade of oak that will make the room feel brighter and more spacious. If you have a modern home, a darker shade of oak with a smooth finish might suit your tastes better.
Installing Engineered Oak Flooring
Now that you’ve selected the perfect product for your space, it’s time to install it. While it’s always best to hire a professional, installing engineered oak flooring is a straightforward process, especially if you have some experience with DIY projects. Here are the steps to follow:
Step 1: Prepping the Subfloor
Before you begin the installation process, you need to prepare the subfloor. Ensure it is clean, smooth, and dry. Remove all existing flooring and check for any uneven surfaces. If you have a concrete subfloor, it’s best to install a damp-proof membrane before laying the planks down.
Step 2: Laying the Underlay
Next, lay the underlay and secure the edges using duct tape. An underlay is essential because it helps absorb sound and creates a barrier between the subfloor and the planks.
Step 3: Measuring and Cutting Planks
Measure the length and width of the room and lay out the planks to get an idea of the number of planks you need to cut. Start laying the planks from the furthest corner of the room, with the tongue facing the wall. Cut the planks to size using a saw or a knife. Remember to leave a small gap between the wall and the planks, as it allows the floor to expand and contract with changes in humidity.
Step 4: Installing the Planks
Interlock the tongue and groove of each plank and press down firmly to secure it in place. Place spacers between the wall and the planks to maintain an even gap. Work your way across the room, ensuring the planks are tightly joined together.
Step 5: Finishing the Floor
Once you’ve laid down all the planks, remove the spacers, and install any finishing trims or moldings. Ensure a snug fit. Allow the adhesive or glue to dry for at least 24 hours before placing furniture or walking on the floor.
With the right materials and a little bit of patience, installing engineered oak flooring is an easy and satisfying DIY project. Remember to take your time when selecting the perfect product and follow the installation steps carefully. You will end up with a beautiful and long-lasting floor that adds value to your home and provides a comfortable and stylish space to live in.