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Hi everybody,

My wife has persuaded me that we need new flooring downstairs. Firstly she was interested in the "new" tile-effect laminate flooring, but after seeing it installed in a friend's house, she has gone off that idea. :roll:

Now she is interested in a wooden look, but I don't know whether to go for a solid wooden floor, or a laminate construction. My instinct is to look at solid wood simply because I expect it to get a lot of wear (several dogs & children etc) and fear scuffing the top layer from a laminate.

I will be laying this as a floating floor over an existing suspended wood floor, with the largest length at about 6m & the largest width about 4m. I will lay a damp proof membrame & then 3-5mm thick underlay before laying the floating floor

Another reason for looking at solid flooring rather than laminate is that one room is a bathroom & most laminates are not suited to bathrooms. I would also be able to use planks to fashion matching skirting boards

My initial idea for finishing is a clear epoxy or polyurethane (epoxy for better waterproofing in the bathroom). I would apply the finish to both sides before laying the floor to help avoid cupping due to uneven moisture take-up

Does anybody have any further advice or guidance they can share with me regarding suppliers, fitting, skills required, pitfalls etc. etc?



Established Member
16 Oct 2002
Reaction score
Fife, Scotland

I have just recently fitted a solid oak kitchen floor and I am about to lay the hall and the living room with the same stuff. I considered laminate but also have dogs and it only takes one good scratch to destroy a laminate floor; the same scratch adds character to solid wood.

Solid wood is also easier to lay, real wood is more forgiving than laminates, i.e. chipping or saw kerf marks dont matter nearly so much.

I laid mine directly on top of a chipboard floor, nailed down through the tongue so the nails could not be seen. I used a nail gun to do this, but you could use a hidden nailer, or just a hammer and nail punch.

The floor I bought was a 15mm thick, 75mm wide and 1800mm length rustic oak board. This was pre-finished with a satin varnish and did not need to be treated after laying. The boards were made up of finger jointed shorter lengths of oak to get each board 1800mm long, the boards were milled on all faces with a tongue or groove.

The effect of the finger jointed boards are as though the floor is layed using variable lengths of timber. I was happy with rustic oak, as I knew that scratches from dogs feet would make a quarter sawn or prime oak board look scruffy quite quickly. If you want a show piece floor then go for quarter sawn.

I managed to lay the floor very quickly, the milling was very accurate and as long as you are sensible and make sure that your boards remain parallel then you will have no probs.

I bought my floor from the natural wood floor company in London, it is a mail order company, (unless you live locally) but delivery was prompt.

They do ask that you send a cheque in advance of the order, that might make you feel nervous but my experiences were ok, I have now bought two shipments from them and another guy at work bought a whole load of prime oak wide boards.

Their website is www.naturalwoodfloor.co.uk They were very competitive for price yet the quality was good.

One other thing worth considering, real wood is much much quieter underfoot than laminate, maybe a consideration if you have kids and dogs!!!


I laid a large area of Maple 20mm flooring about 3 years ago which took a lot of hard wear from an Alsatian and 2 active kids. I recently sanded it and applied a few coats of epoxy, making it look like new. I have no doubt about solid flooring having had a laminate in a bathroom which lasted about 18 months.