Authentic vs Synthetic Flooring

wood floor sevenoaks

Here at Hudson Flooring, we have found that a large number of our clients struggle with this conundrum. The choice when browsing our Sevenoaks showroom essentially boils down to real wood vs Amtico luxury vinyl. 

We thought it might be useful to point out the differences to aid you in your decision. 

Real Wood: 

It can be a physiological barrier that cannot be overcome when the proposition of a synthetic floor is put forward. Also, certain properties of a period nature do command the genuine article. 

You will not find a more luxurious and authentic floor covering than a real wood floor, the look, feel and even the sound are very appealing and it is most people’s gut feeling that a wood floor covering is what they would love. We highly recommend your engineered wood flooring to be fully bonded to a prepared subfloor and we undertake all aspects of the installation including replacement skirting boards. 

Engineered Wood flooring is called so due to its superior construction which consists of a real wood wear layer on the surface and a stabilised backing section comprised of multiple slices of slowly grown plywood which are then layered in alternating directions resulting in a timber floor which is 70% more stable than solid wood which we very rarely sell nowadays due to its instability issues. 

Real wood flooring does require an expansion gap all the way around the perimeter and this can be covered in a few different ways. Beading is a small either quadrant or scotia style trim that is used frequently around the edge to conceal the expansion gap when leaving the skirting in position. We virtually never use beading for the simple reason that it looks naff! Instead, the better thing to do is to fully remove the skirting, leave the gap near the wall and cover it with fresh new skirting which is much neater than awful beading trims. However, we do have a very clever solution of a skirting veneer which means we can leave the existing skirting in position and achieve a much better finish. Please ask about skirting veneers in-store. 

Being a natural product it is impossible that the final floor will be identical to the showroom sample however this is a clear honest piece of advice as the sample should be used as a representation of how the floor will look rather than an exact copy. 

It is, unfortunately, possible to scratch engineered wood flooring and so care must be taken in day-to-day life, and removing outdoor foot ware is a big help in preventing this. 

We will supply you with a maintenance kit for your new floor and this starts you off on the right foot as the wrong cleaning product can remove oils and cause the floor to be less protected.

If your real wood floor has an oiled finish (recommend) then this is ideal for touching in marks and repairing scratches, however, it also means that the floor comes with a responsibility to add more oil keeping the floor well protected. Busy areas like for example a kitchen/diner will need to be oiled annually ideally whereas a less used room like a bedroom may not require a top-up coat of oil before four years if the room has seen minimal usage. 

Real engineered wood flooring can be renovated and restored. There are various thicknesses of wood flooring but the main ones are 15mm which includes a 3mm veneer of real wood which is used for future renovation vs 21mm which includes a 6mm veneer which has twice the depth than the former. It is my opinion that the relative cost of preparation and installation is the same regardless of the thickness and so it is wise to go for the thicker option if it is budget permitted so you get the biggest bang for your buck in terms of how longe the floor will last. 

The by far more popular variety purchased from us is the 21mm and this should last you a lifetime catering for 5-6 sanding processes. 

Real wood flooring is compatible with underfloor heating and some ranges come with special grooves which are cut into the back of the planks to allow for better heat transference. I believe that bonding the floor using adhesive to a prepared subfloor that contains the heating system is by far the better way to ensure that you have maximum conduction through the new floor. Of course, wood is thicker than other floor coverings and is also more of an insulator than vinyl but still compatible and usable with your underfloor heating system if fitted correctly. Other companies do offer to “float” real wood flooring however we always try to avoid this as it is not the ideal way to install the floor and problems can arise as the wood is free to move while not being fixed to the subfloor. 

There are lots of different widths and laying patterns such as parquet and herringbone which are achievable in real wood flooring. The thing above all which sets us apart from the rest and is perhaps worth paying a small amount extra for is our expert installation service. We prepare and install real wood flooring immaculately paying the attention to detail that both the product and your home deserve. 

We have 100 examples of engineered wood flooring in store so please feel free to pop in and see which one is right for you. 

Amtico Luxury Vinyl Flooring: 

If you can get over the fact that Amtico isn’t real wood or stone then it is an incredibly versatile and practical option and particularly if you are a busy family and want a floor with minimal upkeep. In fact, we make it our aim to use the Amtico products and designs in such an effective way that visitors to the house may well even assume that you have a real wood or stone floor as Amtico and luxury PVC have come a long way and do now look very realistic. 

Of course not only does Amtico often pass as the real thing but it is very practical in many ways which real wood is not. It is quite common for a customer to be informed of Amtico being a polyurethane product and be completely disinterested only to be very pleasantly surprised upon viewing the product in the showroom so I guess seeing is believing.   

Amtico is fully bonded to a prepared subfloor using plywood and leveling compound and often both apart from Amtico Click Smart which does not always require preparation and can go over existing floor coverings if needed. 

Amtico does not require an expansion gap and so it can be fitted directly up to your existing skirting boards. If your skirting boards are consistent throughout and in good condition then Amtico is a great option as there is no need to remove them and no need for trims or veneers as there is no expansion gap required (apart from when using Amtico Click Smart) 

If you are installing new skirting in an area where Amtico is being used as the floor covering then we recommend that the skirting is fitted prior to the new floor preparation and Amtico flooring being installed. The reason we suggest this is so there is no risk of gaps being left under the skirting and also in the event where a border plank is used, we will know precisely where the border detail will be and can achieve a uniform border throughout. 

While there may be a minor amount of variation in Amtico batches, each job is ordered from one batch to be sure it is consistent. You do not need to worry that the floor may differ from the sample you selected as the floor will be an exact copy of the sample you selected from and this is ideal when matching paints, papers, and accessories ahead of time. 

It is also possible to scratch your Amtico Flooring so take care to use felt pads and coasters on furniture items as you would with Engineered wood, Amtico however is much more durable than real wood and far less likely to scratch and scuff in the same way. 

In the unlikely event that an Amtico plank or tile does become scratched or damaged then fear not as we can relatively easily remove the damaged area and replace it with new tiles or planks whereas wood flooring is a significantly more difficult thing to fix in this way. 

Amtico is a great option for a busy home, you will have a stylish and convincing wood, tile, or abstract effect while also a very practical floor to live with. Amtico is easily cleaned and relatively low maintenance in comparison to engineered wood and also has far wider design capabilities and a less invasive process with respect to finishing the perimeter. 

I hope this guide has given you some insight and armed you with the information you need to make the right decision for you and your home. If you would like to book a free consultation at our showroom then please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be pleased to assist you in your journey to having a beautiful home.