Whether you are looking for gorgeous real hardwood floors or hoping to save money and get a realistic imitation with other good qualities like laminate or hybrid flooring there are so many different types and products out there it can be hard to decide what is best. Here we will look at some of the most popular choices and give you a few tips on installation to help you on your way to the best new floor you can get.
What floorboards are best?
To begin with, we will check out which out of laminate, hardwood and engineered floorboards are your best bet. Remember though, that the best floorboard for you is the one that you want to see on your floor, that is the right price and suits your requirements – so this does vary from person to person. In general here are some of the top pros and cons of each to help you see at a glance what might be the ideal floorboard for you.
- Laminate – made of compressed fibreboard with a decorative layer and protective coating, it is the cheapest of these three materials although the price does vary somewhat depending on the quality. You can get laminate that looks incredibly realistic and in a wide range of species, patterns and colours to suit every taste. It is easy to install, hard-wearing, and cost-effective, but it does have some downsides.
Laminate can also look pretty cheap and fake if you don’t go with the right kind, and water can cause the joints to warp and swell. This can quickly make your new floor into a ruined mess if you aren’t careful and use it in rooms like the bathroom where it is sure to get wet.
- Engineered wood – made of layers of wood products with a real wood layer on the top, engineered wood looks even more realistic than laminate because it is. It can be cheap too, though again there is a large gap between the lowest and highest costing floorboards based on quality and materials involved. It is still likely to leave you less out of pocket than solid wood and is less prone to warping and swelling though it is still not always the best choice for moisture-rich environments.
- Solid wood – real solid wood floors are of course made of real solid wood. With a higher starting price than either of the other options, there is again a huge variety of species, colours, thicknesses, and the all-important hardness for you to choose from to suit your ideal home. The level of hardness tells you how much wear and tear they can take, and wood can still be prone to warping and swelling in different temperatures and conditions. It can also be a bit of a noisy choice and less easy to install. However, solid wood is a classic, luxurious and excellent choice for many homes, adding appeal and value to future buyers, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere and they never go out of style.
Each of these and the myriad other flooring options out there have many positive features and negatives that make them more suited to some homes than others, so when you buy floorboards online take your time deciding which is really right for your house and your wallet as well as which matches the vision you have for your home.
Is it easy to install floorboards?
Depending on which kind of floorboards you go for it can be really easy or pretty tricky, so installation is another criterion to consider when choosing your material especially if you are planning on installing it yourself. There are a couple of different mechanisms and methods to use from click and lock for most laminates and some engineered wood to tongue and groove and even gluing and sticking with hardwood which is more difficult and correspondingly more expensive if you want to hire a professional to do it for you. The most important thing is that your final floor is laid right – a poorly laid floor will cause no end of irritations and problems and can put off those potential future buys in an instant. Here we will look at the most common ways of installing floorboards.
- Click and lock – exactly as it says, this simple and quick style found on laminate, engineered, hybrid, and even some vinyl plank flooring is a DIY enthusiast’s dream. Instead of being fastened to the subfloor, the planks are literally clicked and locked into place with each other forming your nice new floor. Simple.
- Tongue and groove – this also uses a method where the planks fit together putting the tongue into the groove so that they slide in next to each other, but in this case, the boards are most often glued or stuck in some way to the floor beneath. It is harder to replace and install but will stay in place.
If you are unsure about how to properly install your floor always take the time to research and ask questions as if poorly installed your floor can have a reduced life, look and feel bad.
Can you lay floorboards on top of floorboards?
Another common question is whether you can lay floorboards onto other floorboards or if you have to take the old lot up first. In general, this will depend on the quality of your existing floor. If you have any chips, imperfections, or unevenness in your old floor this will be reflected in your new floor, a terrible waste when you have just chosen and invested in it so you don’t want to take the chance if you are unsure. An underlay is essential in most cases to help support and stabilise your new laminate or other floors on the old one and will give you a nice springy step too.
The decision of which is the best type of floorboard is really a matter of taste, how much you are willing to spend and what you want from your end product. If you are hoping to get great value for money and easy installation, you can’t go far wrong with laminate, but for class, an investment in the future and that warm welcoming feel solid wood is always a great choice.