If you’re considering installing hardwood flooring in your home, there are many things you will have to consider to make sure that you are installing it properly. One of these is deciding how thick you want your flooring to be. The thickness you choose will have an impact on the flooring as a whole, as it usually determines how long the flooring will last for.
Here is everything you need to know about hardwood flooring, as well as engineered flooring so you can see the benefits and drawbacks of the two.
How Thick Is Hardwood Flooring?
Solid hardwood flooring boards come in three levels of thickness, 15.88mm, 19mm, and 22.23mm on average. The most common type of hardwood flooring you will find in homes is 19mm wood.
This is a nice middle ground between the other thickness levels, as it will last you a very long time, but is still cheaper than the thickest version of this wood.
When it comes to choosing the thickness of hardwood flooring, all you really need to know is that the thicker the wood the longer the flooring will last, but it will also be more expensive to install.
If you want your flooring to last for longer than a lifetime, then you should get the thickest wood available. This is the most durable and strong wood available and will make your flooring a statement piece in your home for decades.
Hardwood flooring is also a very sought-after feature for many people, so if you are planning to sell your home in the future, installing this type of flooring will probably raise the value of your property.
If you instead only plan on flipping the home for a quick profit, then you can get away with installing a thinner engineered flooring with a hardwood veneer to achieve e the same effect.
Depending on where you live, you might be able to pass off this flooring as genuine hardwood, but make sure you check before you start telling prospective buyers this.
What Are Solid Hardwood Floors?
Solid hardwood flooring is made out of boards cut straight from a tree. They can be either narrow strips or wide planks and are cut into three standard levels of thickness. The widths and lengths of the planks will vary depending on the tree, as one tree can only produce a limited amount of lumber.
One of the main issues with hardwood flooring is that it can shrink and expand depending on your home’s temperature, meaning that squeaky flooring can be a huge problem, especially in winter when the boards shrink.
In warmer weather, this is less likely to be a problem, as humidity and moisture in the air makes hardwood flooring expand.
This is why installing hardwood floors can be very difficult for inexperienced builders. The person installing the flooring needs to make sure that they leave enough space in between the boards for the expansion and contractions of the wood.
If the boards are too tightly placed together, then the flooring will buckle when the wood expands. But if the planks are too far apart, then you will be left with massive gaps in your flooring when the wood shrinks in the winter.
There is a way to combat this issue, and that is by using a clip method instead of glue and nails to hold the boards together. The clip used has a silicone beard that allows the wood to expand and contract without the floor buckling. This is still not a common method used in homes though, so you will probably have boards held together by nails or glue in your home.
Hardwood flooring does come with several advantages though. Like we said earlier it is a very sought-after feature in homes, so your property value may go up if you have this type of flooring.
It will also most likely last longer than a lifetime if it has been installed properly, and especially if thicker panels have been used.
Finally, hardwood flooring can be sanded and varnished multiple times, meaning that the upkeep of the floor is pretty easy, and you can change the look of the flooring as many times as you want. Our article on sanding painted floorboards might be of interest to you.
What Is Engineered Flooring?
Engineered hardwood flooring is made by laminating a hardwood veneer over a plywood base plank, or any similar material. The veneer is usually a thin slice of wood (around 3mm thick) that is glued to the plywood base.
For engineered wood, the planks usually come in a thickness of 12mm and 18.88mm. This thickness is made up of the base layer like the plywood, and the veneer top layer.
This wood is very useful if you want a specific look for your flooring. As the veneer can be made out of almost any species of wood, this flooring comes in a wide variety of decor and styles to suit any interior design.
It also expands and shrinks far less than hardwood flooring due to how the layers are bonded together. This means that it is far easier to install, you may even be able to do it yourself if you have some experience in construction.
While this wood flooring may not last as long as hardwood floors, getting planks with a thicker veneer will make them last longer. Also, like hardwood flooring, this type of floor can be varnished a few times, though admittedly not as much as a hardwood floor can.
This is one significant drawback to engineered hardwood flooring though, and that is outgassing. This is where toxic fumes are released from the flooring because of the adhesives, stains, and finishes found on some engineered flooring.
The accumulation of formaldehyde is known to be one of the more harmful substances that this wood can produce, but it can also release other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air as well.
Several brands have tried to combat this problem in different ways, so before buying your flooring make sure that you check with the brand to see how you can avoid the wood releasing these fumes into your home.