Real Wood Flooring

Below you’ll find answers to the questions we get asked the most about Real Wood Floors.
What is Engineered Wood?

Engineered wood is generally made in various layers consisting of wood, plywood or mdf for the base layers. This helps to make it more stable with expansion. The top layer is real, solid wood and is usually between a thin veneer layer of 1mm up to approximately 5mm depending upon the product range. 3mm to 5mm veneers are suitable to be sanded and re-finished to extend the life of the product.
It is fitted together using tongue and groove joints to give a smooth and even appearance. Some products do have a click locking system on the edges rather than tongue and groove for fixing the boards together.
Engineered wood can be laid as a floating floor, secret nailed or fully stuck down. The method used on your installation may be determined by the type of product purchased.

Engineered Wood Floor Surface Finishes

Surface finishes and textures can enhance the natural look and feel of your wood floor. Protection from wear and scratches.
Oiled Surface finishes give a muted matt appearance. The oil penetrates the surface of the wood to protect the surface and enhance the grain structure of the wood. Good Scratch resistance. Easy to spot repair. The oil surface does require periodic replenishment.
Lacquered Surface finishes give a glossy shine. A hardwearing surface layer that is shiny and smooth to the touch. Excellent scratch resistance. Easy to clean and maintain. It can be harder to do a successful spot repair.
Matt Lacquered Surface finishes give a subtle satin sheen. A hardwearing smooth finish that replicates the look of an oiled floor. Excellent scratch resistance. Easy to clean and maintain. It can be harder to do a successful spot repair.
Unfinished Natural Surface are Untreated boards that can be stained and finished with bespoke options. Knots are pre-filled. Boards are pre-sanded. There is no surface protection on the board.
Brushed Surface are lightly wire brushed to remove any softer fibres and expose the grain. This emphasises the grain structure and gives more definition to the grain pattern. Textured surface feel. Scratches are less obvious on this surface.
Hand Scraped Surfaces are planks that are scraped by hand to capture the appearance of a time worn flooring and shows characterful undulations in the floor. There are irregular ridges and grooves on the surface so it is not flat. The surface is usually still smooth unless it has other finishes like a brushed surface as well.
Planed Surfaces are extremely smooth. They are planed and sanded gradually with finer finishes to create a really smooth finish. They have a uniform surface feel. Subtle, authentic ribbing marks. Very modern appearance.
Sawn Surfaces are rougher and show the exposed kerf marks of the saw blade. The wood is sawn with a rough blade to recreate the look and feel of freshly sawn timber. The planks have a distinctive surface texture. It is rough to the touch. It has a rustic appearance and appeal.

Colour Variation and Knots with Real wood

Colour variations in flooring are a natural occurrence due to species, age, the character of flooring and exposure to UV light or sunlight. For these reasons, new and/or replacement flooring may not match display samples and/or existing flooring.
Your wood flooring will change in colour as it is subjected to UV light and wear. Natural wood characteristics such as variations in grain, colour, mineral streaks, knots, normal differences between the colour of samples and the colour of installed floors, and colour variations from board to board are not considered defects.
Knots are often filled and sanded by the manufacturer. It is in the manufacturers choice of colour for the filler that they feel enhances the wood finish. There may be more or less knots than the sampling shows. This is not a defect as wood is a natural product.
Changes in colour due to ageing, excessive moisture, exposure to sunlight or Ultra Violet rays (which may cause oxidation of finish/stain) are not considered a defect. Engineered hardwood is a natural product as seen in its colour and structural variations. Colours or shades will change depending on the age of the wood and the surface gloss phase. Over time, the colour of wood naturally changes when exposed to light. While direct sunlight causes the greatest amount of change, even lightning in a home can affect the colour of the wood. Depending on the intensity in which the floor is exposed to the sun, lighter wood turns darker, while darker wood typically becomes lighter (especially during the first 3-4 months).
Area rugs should be occasionally rotated, as they block sunlight and may give the appearance of discolouration under the rug.
No thermal blocking carpets are allowed on the floor. Colour, shade, or texture variations between samples, printed colour photography or replacement flooring and the actual material, as well as colour variations between product(s) and/or samples and other flooring or wood products, which you wish to match (e.g., doorbars and edging scotia or beading etc.) are not considered defects.

Will my flooring look like the sample board in store?

No, it will be slightly different, as the new boards in the box have not been subjected to any UV light. Wood flooring is a product manufactured from a natural material, ie wood, which is a product of nature and therefore not perfect. Normal wood characteristics will be present such as grain variance, colour variance products, knots of unlimited & varying sizes, sapwood, slight natural bow to some boards and natural defects filled with dark / black filler during the manufacturing process. These elements are normal industry manufacturing elements for a wood product. Some manufactures offer Rustic grades with more of these knots and variations and some will offer a more Select grade that has less of these variations. The more select the product then generally the more expensive it will be. Wood flooring is a natural material product which will mature with age. Natural or light coloured boards will change shade over time and variances in character between individual boards is perfectly normal.

My floor is uneven - Do I need Plywood or Smoothing compound?

If the sub-floor is uneven whether it is floorboards or concrete it may need to be smoothed out with plywood or a smoothing compound. This will help to stop the sub-floor showing through the carpet or vinyl flooring. When measuring for flooring we cannot always tell if the sub-floor is smooth and even. Particularly if there is a floor covering already there. Even if we look underneath in one area we cannot know what the entire floor is like until the existing flooring is removed. Uneven floorboards are one of the most common that we come across but sometimes it can be old stone fireplaces or large holes in the floor that have been previously covered. Generally on wooden floors we would recommend overlaying the sub-floor with a 6mm plywood. On most floors this will be good enough but in some cases where the sub-floor is very uneven it may mean you will need a joiner or builder to repair or replace the sub-floor. A suitable flexible smoothing compound can be applied to the plywood if there are still some undulations but these will only take out  differences of 3-4mm. The sub-floor needs to be as flat as possible before anything else is applied. Most concrete floors can have a smoothing compound applied to them to make it a smooth base for floorcoverings. They cannot and do not make a floor flat and level if the existing sub-floor is not flat and level. They can only follow the existing sub-floors levels. If a floor is particularly bad we sometimes have to apply more than one layer of smoothing compound. We generally only quote for one layer as in most domestic areas with a relatively flat sound floor this should be enough. Extra layers of smoothing compound will be chargeable if they are required.


Follow the installation instructions from the manufacturer. Listed below are some basic guidelines. All wood floorings should be acclimatised in the room/property that it will be fitted into with the property at normal running temperature and moisture levels. Do not store the wood in a cold garage, outbuilding or unheated property. It is important that floors and walls are fully dry. New houses, plaster, paintwork and sub-floors all must be dry before installation. Flooring packs should be stored horizontally in the room where they are going to be laid for a minimum of 48 hours without opening the packaging. The storage environmental conditions should be at a temperature range of 18-24 degrees Celsius. The Humidity range should be between 45% to 65% relative humidity. The boxes/packaging should only be opened on the day of installation. You can fit engineered wood over underfloor heating but it must be turned off for at least 48 hrs before installation and then turned on 2 or 3 days after installation with the temperature being built up by 1 degree per day. Turning up heating or turning down in large temperature variations will lead to the floor failing with gaps, buckling floors etc. Other forms of heating should be used to keep the property at normal running temperature. See other information in maintenance about temperature and humidity levels. The sub-floor needs to be sound, dry and flat for the best installation. Floors with slopes or high spots may not be suitable. All wood floorings must have an expansion gap around the perimeter and have door breaks in doorways. If you have two different areas in a property at different temperatures eg a hallway and a lounge then this difference can cause twisting and problems as the wood floor tries to deal with this. A door break will stop this happening.

Underfloor Heating

There are many types and manufacturers of underfloor heating systems, so please ensure that the suitability and recommendations of the particular manufacturer of your system are sought out and adhered to BEFORE commencing installation of your engineered wood flooring.
Most engineered flooring is suitable for use over both water and electric underfloor heating systems that are equipped with electronic temperature controls including a thermostat /temperature reader beneath the flooring which determines the temperature immediately beneath the flooring.
You should always consult the manufacturer or supplier of your heating system to confirm its suitability in terms of laying a wooden floor over it, and to confirm if any specific commissioning processes in relation to your specific system should be employed – both when turning on the system for the first time, and for its use after the flooring has been installed. Wood species of high contraction coefficient react more to temperature and air humidity changes, which, when combined with a light colour species of wood, may create or emphasise gaps more than other species. Accelerated colour change of some light species more sensitive to heat is also possible, so please clarify any queries in this respect prior to purchasing or installing your chosen engineered flooring. Special attention should be paid to evenly distributing the heating system under the entire surface of the floor. This will help prevent any irregular heating of the flooring, and therefore avoid any issues relating to board movement between heated and unheated areas of flooring and cold patches within the laid floor.
Prior to Installation of the Flooring These instructions must be followed in conjunction with the heating system manufacturer’s commissioning instructions. 15 days prior to installation, switch on the normal heating cycle / programme for the underfloor heating system, and gradually increase the temperature setting to achieve 18°C on the surface of the sub floor for the remainder of the specified period. Then switch the heating off for 48 hours prior to commencing installation of the flooring. The flooring should be located in the end use environment and temperature conditions prior to commencing installation.
NOTE! The maximum recommended underfloor heating unit power output is 75W/m2.
Following Installation Re-introduce the heating system beneath the flooring in a slow, controlled manner, using small incremental staged increases of temperature. Switch the system on in normal operating mode and at a low operating temperature (less than 18°C). Gradually increase the temperature to 18°C at the installed floor surface and leave at this temperature for a minimum 48 hours. Then, if required, gradually increase the temperature by 1 or 2°C a day until your normal / optimum temperature has been reached. Do NOT under ANY circumstances raise the temperature of the flooring surface above 27°C as this may induce movement and distortion of the boards. Regardless of the heating system within the property / room, the atmospheric relative humidity in the room should be kept between 45– 65% at all times. Small, inexpensive room hygrometers are widely available to monitor this. Correct care & maintenance of your engineered floor will help ensure its performance. It may be necessary for you to have a humidifier unit in the room if it the levels are not within the 45-65%

Do I need an expansion gap?

All wood floorings will need an expansion gap around the perimeter and around any fixed object in the area. Kitchen units and pipes are the most common. The expansion gap for each product is usually in the fitting instructions. It can vary depending upon the product quality, the manufacturers recommendations and the type and/or size of the area that the flooring is going into. All doorways should have an expansion break in the doorway. This will reduce any expansion and/or twisting in the different areas. You can fit skirtings on top of wood flooring to hide the expansion gap. It can look neater, but our experience has shown this to be a potential problem later if there is any need to remove/ or get under the flooring as your decor will be damaged/affected. If changing back to carpet or vinyl there will also be a gap under the skirtings that can show if the new product is not thick enough. We do not recommend fitting kitchen units or island units on top of any wood flooring. You can let boards run under the kickboard front of a fixed unit as these are easily removed. The flooring will look more natural if it is installed with staggered end joints. We would usually use a scotia around the permeter of the room.

Kitchens and Bathrooms and Cellars

We do not recommend most engineered floors for areas that have a higher than normal moisture content in the atmosphere.


Regardless of its durable construction, engineered wood almost always requires an underlayment. Because it stops moisture build-up under your floors, keeps your floors warm, reduces noise, and helps even out subfloor imperfections, underlayment is an important part of installing engineered wood flooring. This extra support will lengthen the life of your engineered wood floors. However, some wood floors will have a recommendation to be fully bonded to the sub-floor as the best method for installation.

Maintenance and Cleaning

Your flooring requires maintenance. Please follow the instructions that are recommended by the manufacturer. These are usually supplied in the boxes of flooring supplied. Contact us to get them for you if you do not have them. Only use the manufacturers recommended products for maintenance. Very common cleaning practices help keep engineered wood floors clean. To ensure a long-lasting, gorgeous floor, practice this cleaning routine regularly. Sweep often: Getting that excess dirt off your floors keeps your engineered wood floors looking gorgeous. Dirt, if not removed, gets ground into your floors and can cause damage over time. If you are using a vacuum, be sure it is set to the bare floor setting, because a beater bar can scratch or dent your floor.
Check your manufacturer lets you use a damp mop: When mopping engineered wood, it’s best to use a damp – but not wet – mop. Too much moisture will sit on your floors and seep through the planks, which could cause subfloor damage or warping. So, when you dunk your mop into the cleaning solution, be sure to wring it out thoroughly so it is damp to the touch. Mopping your engineered hardwood floor does not have to be intense. Just be sure your floors get cleaned regularly. Your manufacturer may recommend a cleaning additive to the clean water. The use of a humidifier/dehumidifier may be necessary to maintain the proper humidity level between 45%-65%. The average running temperature must be between +18° and +24°C. Expansion and contraction of the product(s) caused by low or excessive humidity with the changing of the seasons is normal and may have a cupping effect that is not covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Small cracks or damages that develop from improper humidification or dehumidification, improper moisture control, and excessive drying are not covered by these warranties. If underfloor heating is used, the maximum daily temperature increase should be 2°C per day. Maximum floor surface temperature may not exceed +27°c and room temperature + 24°C. The ingress of sand, grit and/or dust onto the floor should be prevented by installing a suitable mat by the entrance door(s). Do not use vacuum cleaners with a beater bar over the floor. Castor wheels from furniture can cause damage to your floor.  Use good castor cups Use felt pads under all legs of furniture. A stiletto heal can concentrate as much as 2,000 pounds per square inch (140kg per square centimetre) on the floor. Walking on any wood surface with stiletto heels will cause indentations and these are not covered by any warranty.

Can I Use a Steam Mop on Engineered Wood?

When caring for engineered wood floors, steam cleaning is not recommended. Steam mopping uses hot water, which causes engineered wood planks to warp and allows moisture to seep through the floor, compromising the subfloor and the construction of the planks. Unless you want to replace your flooring every few years, steam cleaning is not a proper cleaning method for engineered wood floors.

Will my Wood Flooring Scratch or show Marks?

All smooth surfaced floor coverings can scratch or mark with use. Some floorings have better abrasion resistance and better wear ratings than others but all of them can mark with use.

Heavy items of furniture must have good quality castor cups to help spread the load on impact points. Furniture etc should not be dragged but lifted. Any sharp wood or metal edges should be made smooth and a protective felt pad or castor cup used. Real wood has a softer surface than laminate so it is more likely to mark with point loads such as stilettos or when dropping something onto the surface Felt pads should be used on chairs and tables or furniture that moves so that the surface of the flooring is protected. These will need changing regularly as they can get clogged with dirt and grit which will mark the vinyl surface. Use good quality doormats that remove grit of shoes. These doormats should also be cleaned regularly.

Things “To Do” and be “Aware of”

DO – Make use of door mats at all external entrances and over high traffic areas of the floor as this will significantly help to avoid dirt and grit being walked on to the floor.
DO – Use furniture protection pads under all furniture legs and feet as this will avoid damage being caused by the movement of furniture across the floor. Use work station mats at desks, under chairs and in front of any furniture where footfall is continual in a small specific area. This will avoid damage and excessive or accelerated wear from castors, chair feet and specific continual footfall in these areas.
DO – Try to keep the relative humidity within the room between 45–65% as this will minimise the floors natural tendency to move during the seasons of the year. Small humidity meters can be purchased via many online companies and should be relatively inexpensive.
DO – Protect your floor from constant direct sunlight where possible using curtains and blinds as areas subjected to prolonged constant sunlight will age and discolour at an accelerated rate compared to shaded areas of the floor.
DO – Check the recommendations given by the manufacturer of any type of under floor heating system if there is an UFH system to be laid, or is an existing system in place, before the flooring is installed.
BE AWARE! – If mats or rugs are laid on the floor, occasionally reposition them to avoid edge discolouration forming beneath them and at their edges as the flooring ages.
BE AWARE! – That your floor is a natural product and as such will show signs of movement, i.e minor gapping, during the various seasons of the year as it reacts normally to its environmental conditions.
BE AWARE! – That character variance is normal for a rustic wooden flooring as is shade and colour variance and that “blending” of the boards is a normal part of the wood floor installation process to ensure an overall blended acceptable appearance is achieved when fitted.

Very important “Don’ts” and Things to Avoid

DON’T – “Wet mop” or “Steam Mop” the flooring, as this can cause excessive expansion of the floor and possible damage to the lacquered and / or oiled surface finishes.
DON’T – Walk on the floor in narrow hard, or stiletto type, heels as this may damage the surface of the flooring.
DON’T – Slide heavy furniture or objects across the floor as this may also damage the surface.
DON’T – Use ammonia based cleaners, acrylic finishes, detergents, bleaches, polishes, abrasive soaps or cleaners, or any acidic based cleaners. These type of cleaners can etch, pit and discolour the surface of your flooring.
DON’T – Use rugs or mats on the floor where an under floor heating system is in place as hot spots may be created under them which can affect the floor stability.
AVOID – Letting pets with claws run across the flooring and always keep pets claws trimmed as animal claws may scratch the surface of the floor.
AVOID – Letting sunlight shine on the floor for long periods of time as this will accelerate ageing of the floor, particularly if your room has large windows or patio doors. The use of curtains & blinds is recommended to reduce the effect of U.V. light ageing the floor. If the relative air humidity in the room drops below 40% (eg in the heating season), air humidifiers should be utilised to keep the relative air humidity between 45–60%. Small domestic room hygrometers are commonly available for monitoring air humidity at a relatively small cost.

Need help or want to know more?

Customer Service tadcaster@pocklington-carpets.com