Guide to Choosing the Right Engineered Wood Flooring

choosing engineered wood flooring in cork

At Munster Hardwood Flooring, we realise that choosing the right engineered flooring materials isn’t always easy, especially if you haven’t had it fitted in your home before. With so many engineered wood flooring options available, you could be forgiven for thinking that you’ll never master the subject. In fact, we like to make things as easy as possible and can guide you. In the meantime, read our handy guide to choosing the right flooring for you.

Introduction to Engineered Wood Flooring

Engineered flooring materials typically combine practicality with aesthetic appeal. Firstly, all of our engineered wood flooring options are multilayered flooring products that comprise a surface layer of real wood on top of several layers of plywood , many cheaper options use softwood , spruce or poplar, which is cheaper to produce and less impact resistant. Engineered wood flooring benefits include great stability, high resistance to moisture and a more authentic wooden look than other flooring systems. Coupled with a vast array of designs, these benefits have led to engineered flooring materials becoming a popular choice among Irish homeowners.

Types of Engineered Wood Flooring

Engineered wood flooring options come in numerous wood species, each with distinct characteristics. Common choices include oak for its strength, walnut for a sophisticated look and maple for a lighter tone. The choice of species affects not only the appearance but also the hardness and durability of the floor. Therefore, when selecting, consider factors like the floor’s maintenance requirements as much as your personal preference in terms of appearance.

Styles of Engineered Wood Flooring

Engineered wood flooring offers a diverse range of styles to suit every interior design preference. One popular style is herringbone flooring, which showcases a classic and elegant pattern. Herringbone flooring consists of small rectangular planks arranged in a zigzag pattern, creating a visually striking effect that adds depth and sophistication to any space. Another sought-after style is plank flooring, characterized by long and wide boards that mimic the look of traditional hardwood floors. This versatile style can create a contemporary or rustic ambiance, depending on the chosen wood species and finish. Chevron flooring is another captivating option that features a V-shaped pattern formed by interlocking planks at a 45 or 60 degree angle. This unique design creates a sense of movement and visual interest, making it an ideal choice for those seeking a modern and dynamic look. For those with a taste for grandeur, Versailles flooring offers a luxurious and opulent option. Inspired by the intricate patterns found in the Palace of Versailles, this style showcases geometric designs created with small square and rectangular wood pieces. Versailles flooring adds a touch of regality to any room, evoking a sense of history and elegance. Whether opting for the timeless charm of herringbone, the natural allure of plank flooring, the contemporary edge of chevron, or the grandeur of Versailles, engineered wood flooring provides endless possibilities to elevate the aesthetic appeal of any living space. With its durability, easy installation, and eco-friendly nature, engineered wood flooring is a perfect choice for those seeking both style and practicality.

Understanding Construction

Choosing the right flooring always means gaining an insight into the construction processes used. At the heart of our engineered flooring finishes of all kinds is this type of flooring’s unique layered construction. Our engineered hardwood flooring comprises multi-layers of 7-8 layers of birch hardwood, providing stability and extra support. This structure makes engineered flooring remarkably durable and less prone to warping or bowing, thereby ensuring a long-lasting, beautiful floor underfoot.

Finishes and Surface Treatments

Engineered wood flooring finishes offer a great deal of variety, too. Finishes include oil, lacquer and UV-cured treatments. While oil finishes emphasise the wood’s natural texture, lacquer offers a high-gloss finish. Equally, UV-cured treatments provide superior durability. Beyond appearances, these engineered flooring finishes offer protection, aiding in the floor’s maintenance and longevity. Furthermore, surface treatments can further enhance and protect the wood, leading to a more personalised finish.

Understanding Grading and Appearance

Grading is a classification system used to describe the look of engineered wood flooring. At one end of the scale is the minimalistic ‘select’ grade, which boasts fewer knots and colour variations. At the other is the characterful ‘rustic’ grade which has more natural features. These grades greatly impact the floor’s overall aesthetic. Therefore, choose a grade that offers the level of uniformity or dissimilarity as you see fit.

Choosing the Right Thickness

Thickness is a vital aspect to consider when choosing any wooden flooring including eco-friendly wood flooring. Typical thicknesses range from 10mm to 20mm and each influences the floor’s stability and installation method. Thicker floors offer the opportunity of having more real wood as your top layer are suitable for high-traffic areas and offer compatibility with underfloor heating. Consider the usage, room conditions and the preferred installation method to help you select the right thickness and also keep in mind you should always discuss your options with one of our team prior to making any decision

Installation Methods and Considerations

Installation methods include glue-down, floating and nail-down techniques. Each comes with associated pros and cons. the glue-down method provides a firm foundation, floating is faster and easier, we recommend the former and believe your engineered hardwood flooring should always be fully bonded to the sub floor , again talk to our team for the best advice on how to install your hardwood flooring. Nail-down, on the other hand, is only preferable for thicker boards and obviously not with underfloor heating . The choice of method depends on several factors including the type of subfloor available, among others.

Maintenance and Care

Maintenance is advisable to help preserve the beauty of engineered wood flooring. Simple steps, such as regular sweeping or vacuuming, are all that are needed on a day-to-day basis. These simple measures can remove material that might lead to scratches or dents. Using a damp mop rather than a very wet one is a good idea if you want to avoid water damage. Stick to recommended cleaning products and methods to protect the finish and, therefore, prolong the floor’s lifespan.

Budget Considerations

Choosing the right flooring means having to consider the variations in price that different products come with. Pricing is affected by factors such as the wood species, finish and the chosen installation method. Understandably, higher-end species and finishes will necessarily come with higher price tags. Moreover, some installation methods can be more labour-intensive and, therefore, more costly. Do keep in mind however that a good engineered floor can last a lifetime if cared for correctly and is a great investment in your home.

Environmental Impact

These days, many consumers consider the environmental footprint of their purchases, especially when it comes to products that use wood, such as engineered flooring. Look for products made from responsibly sourced wood if you want eco-friendly wood flooring. Bear in mind, too, that eco-friendly wood flooring should be made using low-carbon methods if it is to be considered truly sustainable.


To summarise, choosing the right flooring means taking into account various factors from budgetary consideration to grading and appearance. There may be a lot to take in but understanding the nuances of engineered wood flooring and the benefits you can get from them often pays off in the end. Still need help? Why not speak to us today?