Wood Flooring Types – A Quick Summary

Wood flooring types in the market generally come in the form of solid boards, “engineered” plankwood or as veneered boards. I’ve also included a discussion on bamboo flooring since this is a relatively new and unique flooring material used to replace wood flooring. See below for more details.

Wood Flooring Types - Solid Wood

Solid wood floor is the most expensive, but also most durable. It comes in widths ranging from normal sizes of 3/8" to 3/4". For custom orders you may also get boards of 8 inches (200 mm) or more. Certain species of solid wood are ideal for installation over radiant heat.

Amongst wood flooring types, solid wood has the most advantages in creating unique flooring since it can be customized to your home e.g. adding painted hardwood flooring or accents. There’s a wide selection of species, stains and finish to choose from.

It’s suitable for all rooms from the ground floor up. When solid wood shows signs of wear and tear, it can be sanded and refinished.

Plankwood Flooring

Plankwood floor is composed of 3 layers. The top one, which varies in thickness depending on the maker, forms the surface of the finished floor; the centre core consists of wood strips or blocks laid at right angles to this; and the lower layer runs in the same direction as the top.

This type of floor is less expensive than solid wood and is most suitable for areas of the home where solid wood flooring is not used, e.g. basement. They’re also used in areas with high moisture content e.g. kitchen, utility rooms and powder rooms. Plankwood flooring is extremely stable and can be made from wood prone to warping.

Wood Veneer Flooring as an Affordable Option

The cheapest of all real wood options is wood veneer flooring (sometimes known as ‘acrylic impregnated wood flooring’). This consists of a thin layer of wood glued to a manufactured board and are supplied ready finished with a plasticized protective coating.

It’s often used in commercial installations like restaurants and malls and is most suitable for high traffic areas at home like the kitchen and adjoining family areas. If they become worn or damaged, they cannot be refinished.

Bamboo Flooring

For those into unusual flooring, bamboo seems to be an alternative to wood flooring. However, there are mixed views about bamboo flooring. Some experts say bamboo is not that hardy; the core material is sensitive to humidity like laminates.

This means bamboo flooring should be confined to dry areas and it’s a definite ‘no no’ for the bathroom. The humidity from steam and wet towels will cause you problems in no time.

As with laminates, when the moisture penetrates the material, it will swell and warp the parquet. Even in temperate countries where the climate is dry, most suppliers will not give a warranty if the parquet is laid in wet areas like bathroom.

Given these issues, you may prefer to confine bamboo flooring to a dry, low humidity area such as the bedroom. For an air-conditioned room, this is even better since the rooms are kept dry.

Go to home decor flooring guide for other flooring selection

or get more information on wood flooring which covers the following:

  • Wood flooring selection tips

  • Wood flooring species

  • Wood flooring FAQ

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