What is engineered wood flooring? Our expert interior designers explain it all.

Engineered wood is the single most popular flooring product on the market for residential projects in the UK. People love the beautiful natural look, the versatility in the finishes, sizes and shapes it can be obtained, and most of all, the easy cleanability! At Temza Studio London, we love recommending it on our projects from living rooms to kitchens and bedrooms and have hundreds of samples in our material library to be able to pick the perfect shade for each project. So it really is time our interior design team wrote a detailed guide to help you understand why it’s our favourite.

Is solid wood better than engineered wood?

Our clients often ask us our interior designers opinion on using solid wood flooring as opposed to an engineered product, thinking that solid wood is of higher quality, as it’s a more natural product. Of course, each product has its advantages and disadvantages; however, we try to keep homeowners away from solid wood in almost every case. Solid wood is typically more expensive, takes longer to fit, and being a ‘live’ material can warp and twist over time resulting in even floors and cracks. Now that’s not an attractive look.

What solid wood enthusiasts bring up frequently is that you can sand solid wood practically infinitely so it can last you hundreds of years. Temza Design Studio argue that a good quality engineered board with a thick wear layer can also be sanded down numerous times, and most of our clients don’t want to pay extra in case their great grandchildren will still be wanting to sand down the same floors.

residential interior design with Matching flooring, staircase and sliding door via careful project coordination and effective use of bespoke joinery, London

Source: Temza, Old Brompton Road project. Custom made walnut stained planks matched perfectly to the floating staircase via using the same bespoke stain.

residential interior design with Custom made walnut stained planks matched perfectly to the floating staircase via using the same bespoke stain, London

Source: Temza, Warriner Gardens project. Matching flooring, staircase and sliding door via careful project coordination and effective use of bespoke joinery.

How is engineered wood made?

Engineered wood is made by sandwiching layers of timber that are running into opposite directions, so their warping and twisting effect evens out between the many layers. This base can be made of any timber and provides stability. The base is then topped with a wear layer that’s made of a more precious wood that will be on show. This keeps the cost down as opposed to solid wood, which needs to be a precious wood throughout.

It’s quick and easy to fit engineered wood flooring due to the click system that is part of this product as a standard. Typically speaking plank is the easiest type to fit with herringbone and chevron being slightly more labour intense, but installing any engineered wood flooring will still be more cost effective than solid wood or tiling.

Flooring colour trends

From whitewashed oak to black stained walnut, you can get absolutely anything, so a wood floor can be tailored to match any interior design style or period property. The significant trends we see right now is the slightly grey tone natural oak boards or the smoked walnut stained finishes, again particularly the cooler shades. You can find more on trends here.

If you are a lover of the dark stains, most likely your concern is scratch resistance. A walnut stain oak is notorious for scratches showing up over time, but there is a solution. Smoking the wood over a long period will turn the colour dark all the way through, so the scratches aren’t visible. And while this results in a beautiful and durable product, be prepared to pay uplift for this.

wooden flooring in westminster, London

Source: Temza, Wellington House Project. Bespoke made chevron patterned flooring in grey tone natural oak.

Pattern options for engineered wood flooring

Engineered wood can be laid in planks, herringbone or chevron pattern, with the price going up respectively. Technically there are more options, such as a double herringbone and all sorts of intricate parquet patterns (Versailles, Chantilly, mosaic, etc.), but let’s say that these aren’t particularly popular at the moment. It’s essential to keep in mind that the longer and broader the planks, pieces or herringbone or chevron, the higher the material cost will be. Keeping the sizes of the rooms in mind when choosing the right size is generally a good idea – the larger the room, the larger the planks. Our interior design team think it’s worth investing in a larger format, a seamless looking floor without many joints does wonders for the space.

residential interior design for light and spacious receprion room with designer burgundy velvet armchairs, wooden flooring and Rubber plant in Bromley, London

Source: Temza, Drakefell Road project. Herringbone patterned natural oak in the front reception room.

How much does engineered wood cost?

Engineered wood flooring can cost a vast range depending on colour and size, from £35/m2 to hundreds of pounds (for material only). We think that in general, you can get a quality floor for £65-95 / m2 depending on the colour and pattern you are after. You do need to consider how long can you wait before receiving the floor, as this is one of the first required materials on any project and if you need to start urgently you might need to choose products that are available off the shelf as opposed to being able to wait for a better priced made-to-order product.

How to maintain wooden flooring?

‘But I have kids and/or cook a lot, can I use it in the kitchen?’ – Many of our clients are happy to use engineered wood flooring in the living areas, corridors and bedrooms, but worried about its durability in the kitchen. Although we wouldn’t suggest it in an industrial kitchen setting, in Temza London’s experience, it’s perfectly fine to have wood flooring in the kitchen in a domestic environment.

There are several ways to protect the surface from staining, waxing is one of them, which fills up the pores of the wood so stains cannot permeate. Wax can be applied to the flooring periodically to keep these pores filled up and provide continuous protection. Lacquering is a more hardwearing option, that will provide you with a protective layer for many years. However, once it wears off, you will need to sand the lacquer layer off before reapplying. Our interior designers think both are excellent options and make having wooden flooring in the kitchen not just possible, but practical and pretty.

residential interior design for spacious master bedroom with white painted walls, built in storage, fireplace and antique mirror in Grade II listed House in St Johnswood, London

Source: Temza, Clifton Hill project. Warm tone brushed natural oak is used to harmonise with the style of the grade 2 listed property.

If that wasn’t enough, make sure to check out Grazia Magazine’s feature on how to choose the right wood flooring for your home, featuring snippets from no other than our Co-founder and Managing Director Sonia Pash:

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Looking for a versatile and practical flooring solution for your dream home? Temza Design and Build Studio gives expert advice on engineered wood flooring.
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About Temza

Since 2012, we have delivered over 50 projects to our happy clients. Our meticulous project management and attention to detail ensure projects are delivered on time and within the budget. We take a friendly and flexible approach to problem solving, resulting in a hassle-free and enjoyable customer experience.


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