Floor types | Livingetc

Discussing floor types is a big part of any renovation. No matter which room you are renovating or decorating, at some point you’ll need to decide what type of flooring to choose. It’s a big decision as it’s often a large part of the scheme and a big investment in terms of time and money. So we’ve picked out the most popular choices and some edgy ones too, and explained where to use them, what to be aware of, which finishes to use and aftercare too. We’ve picked the latest designs along with plenty of advice and expert comment to help you make an informed decision.  Dive in.


floor types for wood parquet

Heritage Cathedral Solid Wood Parquet, Kersaint Cobb

(Image credit: Kersaint Cobb)

What’s good about wood floor types?

Wood flooring has been with us since time immemorial, so it’s a fail-safe choice and one of the most favored floor types – it’s natural, eco-friendly and comes in a huge variety of colours, textures and patterns.  Designs move with the times, so there is always something new, Yakasugi  or charred wood anyone? But which do you choose? Solid wood or engineered, parquet, planks or panels? Good quality wood will last for decades, possible for ever and with minimal maintenance will age gracefully.

Solid wood floors are a traditional flooring choice, with each plank or block essentially one piece of wood. A solid hardwood floor is hardwearing, durable and can be re-sanded many times, lasting well over 100 years. It can be refurbished to any look you like, a different stain or floor paint for example, without having to replace the whole floor, making it better for the environment too. Due to an awareness of sustainability and the need to reduce deforestation, solid wood floors are in decline which has resulted in a growth in reclaimed floors. Bamboo and Eucalyptus have also been developed for quick harvesting for flooring, making it  more environmentally-friendly than slower growing trees. 

flooring ideas from Ted Todd

Woodworks Superwide Solid Wood Egret Plank, Ted Todd 

(Image credit: Ted Todd)

Engineered wood floor types are available as planks, parquet and panels and are created either by layering sections of solid wood bonded together, or as a base layer of plywood with a hardwood top layer.  The grain of each piece runs in a different direction to its adjacent layer, which increases the plank’s strength and resilience. It also reduces the wood’s natural tendency to expand and contract. The quality of an engineered wood floor is largely determined by the depth of the top layer of wood or ‘wear layer’. The thicker the wear layer, the more it looks like a solid wood floor in look, feel, sound and durability. Engineered wood floor types have grown hugely in popularity as a flooring ideas recently due to the reasons stated above.

Havwoods flooring ideas

 Engineered Jutland Henley Oak, Havwoods

(Image credit: Havwoods)

Choosing a reclaimed or antique floor types give you the opportunity to add history and personality to your home, and more importantly, reduces environmental impact through re-use, helping to preserve forests by decreasing the need for new timber to be cut down.

Ted Todd reclaimed floor types

Reclaimed Rare Finds Dark Colonial Teak Plank, Ted Todd 

(Image credit: Ted Todd)

What to consider when choosing a wood floor

Think about where the flooring is going to be used, is it a high-traffic area like a hallway, bathroom or kitchen? Moisture is the enemy of wood floors, so for a bathroom or kitchen chose an engineered floor, or eucalyptus or bamboo which will cope better with humidity and the odd spill. For a hallway which will take a lot of wear and tear, any hardwood floor would be good, but think about a darker floor so it doesn’t show up stains so readily, or choose a parquet floor with a more interesting design, as there won’t be so much furniture in a hallway to cover it up.  Also consider where the sun is, if your house is south facing, it might not be wise to put a wooden floor at the back of the house as strong sunlight will fade it over time.

The Main Company flooring types

Reclaimed parquet solid oak floor, The Main Company

(Image credit: The Main Company)

How easy is it to install wood floor types?

Quick Step floor types

Everest White Oak Hardwood Extra Matt, Quick Step 

(Image credit: Quick Step)

With any floor, firstly the subfloor must be clean, dry and level.  Laying a wooden floor can range from a fairly easy DIY project such as the ‘Click’ method where the boards clip together and are ‘floated’ over underlay, to one that requires good carpentry and finishing skills. It really depends on the cost of the flooring and the length of time you expect the flooring to last, if it’s a quick fix then it’s tempting to do it yourself, but if you have spent a lot of money on a wood flooring type, its best to get the professionals in. As a general rule, solid hardwood is harder to install than engineered.

How to care for a wood floor types

  • Whether it’s solid or engineered, all wood floors are susceptible to moisture, so take care to mop any spills immediately.
  • Floor mats, especially at the front door will catch dirt and grit, preventing damage to your floor.
  • Never drag furniture or other objects across your wood floor.
  • Don’t wear heavy boots or shoes when stepping onto a wood floor. Stilettos particularly are the enemy.
  • Regularly vacuum, using a soft brush attachment if possible then clean with a suitable wood floor cleaner.
  • If you have an oiled floor, you may be able to repair scratches and blemishes with wood oil and blend it in.
  • When all else fails, bad stains can be sanded, then re-stained or oiled.

What’s the best wood floor types for underfloor heating?