Compressed wood flooring is a term that is often used to describe engineered wood flooring and it’s easy to see why. A highly sought after wood flooring solution, engineered wood flooring is popular thanks to its stunning good looks, its stability and its versatility. People who use the term compressed wood flooring probably do so because of the ‘sandwich’ element of engineered wood flooring, which is kind of ‘compressed’ to make the board particularly strong and resilient.
One of the problems with solid wood flooring is that it is left pretty much in its natural state when it is cut into flooring boards. While this is really appealing to certain people, it is also potentially a problem. Why? The reason is that wood is a completely natural product, and as such expands and contracts when temperatures rise and fall and when moisture levels fluctuate. When a tree is in a forest, this isn’t an issue. But when solid wood floor boards are squeezed together in your room like sardines, this can become a big problem. Even if you leave the appropriate (and recommended) expansion gap around a solid wood floor when you fit it, excessive temperature and moisture fluctuations can cause havoc with the look of your floor.
When solid wood flooring expands and contracts too much it tends to either develop unsightly and draughty gaps or it cups or bows because it doesn’t have the space it needs to shrink and grow. This can result in an uneven and unattractive floor.
By choosing compressed wood flooring or engineered wood flooring to give it its correct name, you’ll avoid these issues. The reason for this is the construction of engineered boards.
Engineered wood flooring boards are essentially man-made floor boards that are made from natural products. A way of making wood flooring that has developed hugely over the years, even the purists are choosing this option now because it is so stunningly good looking, yet so extremely practical.
Made by bonding anything from 3 to 12 different layers of ply together, it’s easy to see why people call this compressed wood flooring. It’s these compressed layers that make the core board of engineered wood flooring. But this isn’t what you see. What you see is the solid wood top layer or lamella. Typically made from the likes of oak or walnut, it’s this top layer that really brings engineered, or compressed wood flooring into its own.
But surely this sort of wood flooring must be more expensive, I hear you say? Absolutely not is the answer. Compressed, or engineered wood flooring compares very favourably with solid wood flooring and in fact in some instances is even cheaper.
The things that affect the price of engineered wood flooring are exactly the same as the things that affect the price of solid wood flooring and are:
The grade of the wood
When wood is lumbered, it is graded into one of four categories: prime, select, natural or rustic. The system used for this grading process takes into consideration the number and size of knots in the wood; the colour variation you can see, and the amount of sap in the wood. Although you can’t normally see sap, it’s in the wood. Generally speaking, the higher the grade of the wood, the smaller the knots, the more consistent the colour and the lower the sap content.
And normally, the higher the grade of the wood, the higher the price.
All of that said, this doesn’t mean to say that higher grade wood is necessarily better than lower grade wood, it’s just that it looks different. Plenty of people prefer low grade wood, get a real bargain when they buy it and make it look fantastic; just with a little bit of imagination.
The size of the board
It mightn’t be obvious until it’s pointed out, but the broader the board of wood, the higher the price (generally). Why? The reason for this is straightforward. Most trees are capable of producing an abundance of narrow boards, no matter whether they’re solid wood flooring boards or compressed, engineered boards, but only certain trees can produce really wide boards.
No matter whether it’s a full board that’s being called for, or a top layer, there are only a small number of trees that can produce really wide cuts of wood. This is why (generally speaking) the wider the board, the higher the price.
Where you buy your flooring
It makes sense that compressed wood flooring prices vary from supplier to supplier, but if you’ve been shopping around for a while you might well be wondering how the prices can vary as much as they do.
There are many reasons for the huge difference in prices, but one of the biggest is where you buy your flooring – online or on the High Street? If you go to a High Street supplier with huge overheads, it’s reasonable to expect prices to be higher. After all, someone has to pay that High Street rent – and that’s you!
While at Wood and Beyond we have a London showroom, the lion’s share of our business is online. This means that we can shop the world for the best wood flooring prices and make sure you benefit from those great prices because we have such low overheads.
If you’d like help to fathom out the different compressed wood flooring types and prices on the market today, why not get in touch? We can demystify what’s on offer and help you decide what might work best for you and your budget.