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Buying Guide For Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Wood flooring is a beloved choice for homes across Ireland, bringing warmth, comfort, character, and added value to living spaces. However, with a plethora of options available, it's crucial to carefully consider which type of wood flooring will best suit your home. Making an informed choice that aligns with your preferences, lifestyle, and the unique needs of each room is key.


Whether you're drawn to the timeless elegance of solid hardwood, the versatility of engineered wood, or the intricate patterns of parquet flooring, there's a wood flooring option to complement any style and space. Factors such as durability, maintenance requirements, and compatibility with underfloor heating systems should also be taken into account when making your decision.


By exploring the various wood flooring options available and understanding their characteristics, you can confidently select the perfect flooring solution that will enhance the beauty and functionality of your home for years to come.



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What to Look For in Top-Quality Engineered Hardwood Flooring.

Selecting high-quality engineered oak flooring is essential for creating enduring and visually stunning wood flooring in any interior space. But what exactly should you look for in a floorboard, and how can you identify top-quality wood flooring? Here are some key considerations to guide you on your purchase of quality hardwood flooring:


1.Wear Layer

The wear layer thickness is a crucial aspect to consider when choosing wood flooring, as it directly impacts the durability and longevity of the floor. Here's why wear layer thickness is important:


Protection Against Wear and Tear:

  • The wear layer is the top surface of the engineered wood plank that is exposed to daily foot traffic, furniture movement, and other forms of wear and tear. A thicker wear layer provides greater protection against scratches, dents, and other damage, prolonging the lifespan of the flooring.

  • A 2mm wear layer may not provide the same durability and lifespan as a 4mm wear layer. Over time, the thinner wear layer may wear down more quickly, requiring more frequent refinishing or even replacement. Additionally, removing a glued-down floor with a thin wear layer can be more labor-intensive and costly due to the delicate nature of the process. Thicker wear layers offer more material to work with during refinishing, allowing for multiple sanding and refinishing cycles without compromising the structural integrity of the flooring.

Ability to Refinish:

  • A thicker wear layer allows for multiple rounds of sanding and refinishing over the years. This is especially important for maintaining the appearance of the floor and addressing any surface imperfections or damage that may occur over time. With a thicker wear layer, you have the flexibility to refresh the flooring and extend its lifespan without compromising its structural integrity.

Long-Term Investment:

  • Investing in wood flooring with a thicker wear layer is a wise long-term investment. While it may require a higher upfront cost, the durability and ability to refinish the floor multiple times can save you money in the long run by delaying the need for replacement and ensuring the floor maintains its beauty and functionality for many years.

Stability and Structural Integrity:

  • A thicker wear layer adds to the overall stability and structural integrity of the engineered wood flooring. It provides a solid foundation that helps prevent warping, cupping, and other forms of dimensional instability that can occur over time, especially in environments with fluctuating humidity levels.

In summary, the wear layer thickness plays a crucial role in determining the durability, maintenance requirements, and long-term performance of engineered wood flooring. By choosing a flooring product with an appropriate wear layer thickness, you can ensure your investment retains its beauty and functionality for years to come.



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2.Grain Patterns

The intricate grain patterns of wood flooring, particularly oak, contribute significantly to its visual appeal. Oak's straight grain, while generally uniform, still offers a captivating array of natural variation on each board, akin to the unique fingerprint of a tree.


The diversity of grain patterns in oak flooring stems from the natural arrangement, size, and direction of wood fibers, as well as the sawing process after the tree is felled. This combination results in a rich tapestry of grain patterns that adds depth and character to each plank.


While beauty is subjective, high-quality floorboards should exhibit well-defined, flowing grain patterns with a clear direction and natural variation. These patterns create captivating organic shapes that enhance the overall aesthetic of the flooring, elevating the ambiance of any interior space.



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3.Grading

When selecting oak flooring, it's essential to consider the grading, as it directly influences the overall appearance and character of the wood. Here's why grading matters:


Different Grades, Different Looks:

  • Oak flooring is available in various grades, each offering a distinct aesthetic. Prime grade oak flooring is characterized by a sleek and uniform appearance, with minimal knots and color variation. In contrast, character grade oak flooring boasts a more rustic charm, featuring natural variations, knots, and imperfections that add character and depth to the wood.


Suits Your Aesthetic Preferences:

  • Choosing the right grade of oak flooring allows you to align the look of your floors with your aesthetic preferences and interior design style. If you prefer a clean and contemporary look, prime grade oak flooring may be the ideal choice. On the other hand, if you're drawn to a more rustic or traditional ambiance, character grade oak flooring offers warmth and character that complements various design schemes.


Enhances Interior Design:

  • The grade of oak flooring you select can significantly impact the overall design of your space. Prime grade oak flooring lends a sense of sophistication and modernity to interiors, making it suitable for minimalist or contemporary settings. Character grade oak flooring, with its natural variations and imperfections, adds warmth and authenticity, enhancing the charm of traditional, farmhouse, or eclectic interiors.


By considering the grading of oak flooring and understanding how it influences the appearance and feel of the wood, you can make an informed decision that brings out the best in your space and reflects your personal style preferences.


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4.Ply Construction

The construction of engineered wood flooring is a critical factor in determining its structural stability and long-term performance. Here's why it matters:


Engineered Base:

  • The engineered base provides the foundation for the solid hardwood top layer. It's essential to choose a high-grade, water-resistant material like birch plywood to ensure durability and structural stability. Our Bristol Tectonic® oak planks utilize this high-quality base, offering versatile flooring suitable for underfloor heating systems.

Dimensional Stability:

  • The number of layers in the base contributes to the dimensional stability of the flooring. Premium engineered planks typically have multiple layers of high-quality plywood, arranged perpendicular to each other. This construction minimizes the risk of warping, cupping, or shrinking, even in fluctuating humidity levels.

Strength and Endurance:

  • The bonding process is crucial for ensuring the strength and endurance of the engineered wood planks. Meticulously dried and acclimatized materials, along with top-quality adhesives, are used to create our planks. Cold press bonding under high pressure ensures a secure and durable bond between the layers, enhancing the overall integrity of the flooring.

Suitability for Underfloor Heating:

  • The engineered base, combined with the solid hardwood top layer, makes our planks suitable for installation onto underfloor heating systems. The stable construction of the flooring ensures efficient heat distribution and minimizes the risk of damage from temperature changes.


By understanding the importance of construction in engineered wood flooring, you can confidently choose a product that offers superior quality, stability, and longevity for your space.


Tongue & Groove

When selecting engineered wood flooring, pay close attention to the tongue and groove joints. These joints should exhibit clean, precise milling, allowing them to fit together securely with minimal effort.

Our producers utilize state-of-the-art diamond tooling to cut precise tongue and groove joints. These high-quality joints are essential for creating exquisite, long-lasting flooring. Additionally, they make installation easier, saving you time and hassle during the fitting process.


It's important to note that click flooring, while convenient, may not offer the same structural support as tongue and groove joints. Therefore, opting for tongue and groove joints ensures superior stability and durability for your wood flooring.


5.Width & Length Options

Achieving a premium wood flooring aesthetic involves considering width and length options for your planks. Look for a variety of width specifications and ensure a good average board length.


Board length significantly impacts the overall appearance of the floor, particularly in larger rooms where numerous joints from shorter planks could appear overly busy. Likewise, selecting a board width that complements the dimensions of your room is crucial for achieving balanced aesthetics.

Our hardwood flooring planks offer versatility with mixed lengths ranging from 0.6m to 3.6m, boasting an average board length of 2m. Additionally, our engineered oak boards are available in a range of widths, starting from 130mm wide and extending up to our 300mm wide planks. This diverse selection allows you to tailor your flooring to suit your space perfectly.


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