The first thing that you need to take into account is deciding where you are going to fit your oak floor and what you are going to fit it onto. That is aimed at determining the type of environment that your floor will function in when installed. These considerations will make it easier for you to make a choice and determine if you need solid or engineered oak floor.
The most important thing that you should consider is whether there will be large temperature fluctuations and high humidity levels in the given area. Rooms such as a kitchen or a bathroom are some of the areas where such fluctuations usually occur. The best choice that we would recommend for those areas is engineered oak flooring, as engineered boards are not that susceptible to movement as a result of changeable external factors.
Rooms with standard conditions, like a living room or a bedroom, are areas where solid oak flooring frequently does its job. These are the areas where the above-mentioned changes causing excessive movement occur far less frequently.
Then, also take a look at the sub-floor of the area where the floor is to be laid. This may help you make a decision between solid and engineered oak flooring. If the floor is laid onto joists or on a wooden sub-floor, people tend to use solid oak flooring. However, when the floor is laid onto sub-floors like concrete or over under-floor heating, the type that is usually used is engineered oak flooring.
Tips on how to fit the oak floor
Then, you need to determine how you are going to fit your oak flooring. In the case of solid oak flooring, the installation method that is applied most frequently is secret screwing or nailing. But, remember that for solid oak boards that are wider, additional surface fixing is also advisable.
The effect of surface fixing can be undesirable, therefore, you should use engineered boards to avoid it. Apart from the screwing or nailing methods, floating floor method is frequently used to fit engineered oak flooring as well.
The gluing method consists in using a proper flexible flooring adhesive to fully make the boards stick to the sub-floor. The described method can be applied in the case of solid oak floors, but planks need to be no wider than 120 mm.
On the other hand, in the case of the floating floor installation method, the tongue and groove of each plank are glued together. Therefore, they are not fixed directly to the sub-floor. However, you need to remember that this method can be used exclusively with engineered oak flooring.
How wide should the board be?
As we’ve already said, the perfect width of the boards depends on the fitting method of the oak floor. When deciding on the width, the crucial thing is to make sure that your choice corresponds to the size of your room – and matches your preference. Too wide boards installed in a tiny room, or too thin boards laid in a spacious room – this should be avoided, as it will simply make the floor look unattractive.
What should be the grade of the board?
The grade of the board is one of the most important factors that determine the final look of your oak flooring. Grading is basically the range of knots and character that is visible throughout the boards.
The board that has most vivid character is the Barn grade. That board has visible shakes, knots, cracks, holes and color variation. The next one is the character grade – with its blend of knots and cracks combined with areas of perfectly grained oak. Then, we’ve got the select grade – it is composed predominantly from clean oak, but occasionally a tiny bit of character is added. And we’ve got one more grade – prime grade, which offers boards that have completely no character, thus being very uniform.
Apart from grades that are rather considered as standard, we also have more unique grades on the market; those include classic or brown oak.
What board finish to choose?
Last but not least, you should also think about the finish of the board you want to choose. The finish will firstly have an impact on the color of the boards and, secondly, on their durability. The finishes are to a large extent a matter of taste. When making a choice of oak flooring, you’ll surely spot that some of the boards are prefinished and some are unfinished.
For prefinished oak flooring, wax ,oil or lacquer has already been applied to the boards at the manufacturing stage. Therefore, when they are installed, the floor is done.
In the case of unfinished oak flooring, you will need to apply a finish to the boards when they are installed. In this case, you can actually get the finish you want.