A guide to wood flooring in rental properties
If you intend to bring your rental property flooring up to date and wood is a consideration, it is imperative that you keep in mind the two options you have and the differences between the two in certain circumstances. Wood floorings are available either in complete natural form called solid wood flooring or semi-solid form called engineered wood flooring. When fitted, the two look precisely the same, meaning that the difference is found under the hood.
Solid Wood Floor Or Engineered Wood Floor – Build
Before choosing one over the other, you will find it helpful to learn how each type is built. Solid type is made from absolute natural wood using species such as common European oak to Brazilian walnut. It is by far the most widely fitted and until a few years ago, it was also the only option. Engineered type is made from a combination of the same natural solid wood and man-made elements such as MDF and Plywood. The top part is made from a layer of solid wood in varied thickness of 3mm to 6mm. This layer is called the ‘wear layer’ or the ‘lamella layer’ and its location as the top layer means that once fitted, solid and engineered look the same.
Solid Wood Floor Or Engineered Wood Floor – Suitability In Your Property
There is a reason for which the industry has opted to offer two types. Each will boost certain features that the other cannot.
Sanding Ability – Sanding is a process that removes 1mm of old wood to expose new wood. In rental properties, it gives landlords an ability to rejuvenate a scuffed or scratches floor without having to spend too much and without having to keep the property off the market for long. Sanding equipment can be hired and done with little DYI experience. Alternatively you can hirea professional service to sand and recoat the floors. Because the process removes a 1mm layer of wood each time, solid wood flooring can be sanded many times while engineered wood flooring due to the lesser use of solid wood (3mm to 6mm layer) can be sanded between 2 to 5 times.
Suitability With Under Floor Heating – Under floor heating are based on water or electrical elements to create warmth below the floorboards. Wood in its natural raw form will expand as a result of heat. Extreme expansion can therefore damage solid wood flooring as they are made from complete natural wood, while engineered wood flooring due to its varied build is resistant to expansion.
Budget Constrains – Landlords and property owners often have loss and profit in mind therefore budget is often a consideration when choosing the type of wood board. Solid wood flooring while offering longer service life is also the dearer of the two and also the more expense to fit. Engineered wood flooring due to the lesser use of natural wood is often the more affordable of the two. Furthermore, the fitting method of choice will also lie heavily on your budget. Of the three fitting methods, nail down, glue down and floating, the latter is the quickest and most affordable to fit. Only engineered wood floors can be fitted using floating method (which is based on each floorboard keeping the other in place).
Wood Flooring Noise Regulations Of 2003
As a landlord you have an obligation to keep noise to an acceptable level. ‘Building Regulations Approved Document E’ stipulates your obligation in properties constructed or converted after 2003. It does not apply to properties that existed before the introduction of this legislation. The solution to meet these technicalities is to fit an under lay below the solid or engineered floor with a suitable soundproofing acoustic features. When sourcing an under lay, the description will include impact noise insulation and walking noise reduction.
Written for NeedMoreRentals by Jonathan Sapir of oak flooring vendors Wood and Beyond. Working with trade and landlords, Wood and Beyond offer affordable timber and helpful advice by phone, online chat and on its blog.