Floor Planks: Review & Recommendations

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Welcome to our large plank floor test 2020, where we present all the plank floors we have tested in detail. We have put together detailed background information and also added a summary of the customer reviews on the net.

In this way we would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you to find the best plank floor for you.

You can also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer you interesting test videos. On this page you will also find some important information that you should pay attention to if you want to buy a plank floor.

The most important facts in brief

  • The type of wood is decisive for plank flooring. It affects the appearance, durability, colour change and maintenance.
  • Wooden plank flooring is more delicate to treat than man-made parquet and you should be aware in advance of maintenance and changes over time.
  • You should also note that plank floors are usually a natural product. This means that some consequences cannot be prevented over time, but with helpful tips that you can find on this page, you can certainly delay them.

Floorboard test: Favourites of the editorial team

  • The best oak floorboards
  • The best dark oak plank floor
  • The best larch floorboards

The best oak floorboards

This plank flooring is made of oak and thus creates a pleasant atmosphere. A particular advantage of this floorboard is that you can easily lay it yourself with its simple click system.

According to the manufacturer, the floor also benefits from a long service life and easy maintenance.

The floor has a UV-oiled surface, which is intended to prevent fading. It is also compatible with underfloor heating systems.

The best dark oak plank floor

This plank floor is made of oak and looks very natural. It is particularly suitable for indoor use and is protected against moisture and dirt by its varnish. The plank floor is to be glued.

According to the manufacturer, the floor should be sanded down if necessary. Furthermore, the floor is compatible with underfloor heating systems and only a simple cleaning with lacquer soap is required.

The best larch floorboards

This plank floor is particularly suitable for outdoor use, should you be looking for a floor for your terrace. According to the manufacturer, this floor is one of the most durable and least expensive.

Especially the naturalness of the wood due to possible unevenness or knotholes should guarantee the optimal appearance for outdoor use. This floor should also be ideal for flower beds and elevated walkways.

Advisor: Questions you should deal with before you buy a plank floor

Which material/wood is best for a plank floor?

There are many different types of wood that you will encounter when looking for a plank floor.
The right choice depends on what looks best to you, where you want to install the flooring and how much you want to invest in a new floor.

Spruce floorboards, for example, are particularly suitable if you prefer a lighter floor that is not so striking. This floor looks rather soft.

Pine flooring is much more striking. At the same time, however, the issue is more intense and the structure of the wood comes into its own.

Larch floorboards also have a very striking appearance, which is supported by a mostly intensive colour. These floors often appear very natural.

These three types of wood all run under floorboards made of softwood. A positive aspect is that they show no changes in shape on average.

In contrast to this type of wood, there are still deciduous woods, especially oak floorboards are popular here. This is the right choice for you if you prefer a modern and durable floor.

Which floorboards are best for which room?

If you want to buy plank flooring for your living room and, for example, your terrace, you have certainly noticed that there are different types of wood.
The question now is which floor fits where best.
Coniferous woods such as spruce, larch or pine can be used in normal living rooms such as bedrooms. In rooms where there is a lot of foot traffic, these floors are rather suboptimal as they are comparatively less durable.
Floorboards made of (precious) hardwoods are more hard-wearing. Oak is versatile due to its resistance to moisture and decay, and can be used in many different ways, including public buildings.
Maple and robinia floorboards are also suitable for living spaces that are subject to heavy wear and tear. Chestnut joins in, but is sensitive to moisture.
Douglas fir floorboards are not only suitable for outdoor use, but also for heavily used rooms indoors. It has a high resistance.

What thickness do I need for a plank floor?

When buying a plank floor you will probably have fallen for the concept of floor strength. These are available in a wide variety of designs.
The first thing to say is that the thickness depends on the subfloor on which you want to lay the floor.
If you have a screed as a subfloor, plank floors with weaker material of approx. 25 mm thick wood are suitable.
If the subfloor is a wooden beam ceiling, you should look at planks that are about 30 mm thick in order to benefit from durability.
There is also a good rule of thumb that you can follow when buying plank floors:

The wider the planks are on your floor, the stronger they should be.

How much do floorboards cost?

The price of plank flooring depends not only on the type of wood, but also on the quantity and thickness you need.
It is important to note that buying floorboards alone will probably be cheaper, but the work involved, such as laying and sealing, must still be taken into account in your calculation.

The price of the planks therefore depends greatly on the type of wood you prefer and need. Don’t forget that there are also costs for substructures and the subsequent work!

Where can I buy a plank floor?

Floorboards can be purchased both online and in DIY stores.
You can find the largest selection of floorboards on the following websites and in the following stores:

obi.com
hornbach.com
toom.com
bauhaus.com

All the plank floorings we present to you are provided with a link to at least one of these shops. Once you have found a floorboard floor you like, you can strike right away.

What is the alternative to floorboards?

Laminate flooring is probably the most common and best-known alternative to plank flooring. Laminate flooring is now known for its ability to imitate many different types of wood flooring. They are therefore artificial wooden floors.
In contrast to laminate flooring, plank flooring is made of real wood and thus provides the unique country house style look. Laminate flooring, on the other hand, is more durable and usually longer lasting, as it is not as fragile as wooden flooring.
Probably the most important difference is the price. Due to their natural nature, real wood floors are more expensive than artificial laminate.
While the plank floor is solid, the parquet floor consists of several layers of wood glued together. Parquet flooring is well suited for underfloor heating and is therefore also a high-quality alternative to plank flooring.

Floor coverings
Parquet floor
01/02/20

If your floor is not necessarily made of wood, you can also think about getting an easy-care vinyl floor. Vinyl floors are also available in a wood look.

In the end you should decide for yourself how much you want to invest in a new floor and what suits your personal taste.

Decision: What types of plank floor are there and which one is right for you?

As you have already learned in the guide, there are different types of plank flooring, depending on the type of wood. These differ in appearance and price, which are probably some of the most important considerations when buying.

Basically one can distinguish between:

  • Oak floorboards
  • Beech floorboards
  • Douglas fir floorboards

Since these three types are the most popular and most spoiled, we will introduce them in more detail here and explain their respective advantages and disadvantages.

However, when buying a plank floor, you should bear in mind that what you are prepared to pay, how long the plank floor is to last and what look you like best is what matters most.

What distinguishes oak floorboards and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

Oak wood is characterized especially by its high durability, resistance to weather and strength. Therefore oak floorboards can be laid both inside and outside.

Particularly characteristic of oak floorboards is also their unique grain, which gives the floor a cosy atmosphere.

They are also very resistant to external influences and thus also to scratches and wetness or rot.

A disadvantage of oak floorboards, however, is that they can discolour over time due to UV radiation. They fade and the dark wood often becomes lighter after some time.

Advantages

Durable
Weatherproof
Unique optics

Disadvantages

colour fading
More expensive
Change in appearance over time

What distinguishes beech wood planks and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

Beech floorboards are becoming more and more popular. If you prefer a slightly reddish floor, a beech plank floor is the best choice for you. Especially indoors, the colour is shown to its best advantage.

However, beech tends to swell and is therefore more sensitive to moisture and humidity. Therefore, you should always keep an eye on the humidity in this floorboard.

Even with modern underfloor heating systems, beech plank floors should rather not be laid.

Advantages

Cozy atmosphere
Optimal for indoor use

Disadvantages

Tendency to swell
Incompatible with underfloor heating

What distinguishes Douglas fir floorboards and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

The Douglas fir floorboards are the clear forerunners. As they are made of extremely hard wood, they are ideal for outdoor use as well as for heavily used indoor areas.

These floorboards are also less sensitive to moisture and wetness, as well as to fungi and insects.

Correct and regular maintenance is important for this plank flooring, otherwise the floor may turn grey over time and lose its visual appeal.

Advantages

Ideal for indoor and outdoor use
Robust against moisture and fungi

Disadvantages

Intensive care
Colour loss over time

Purchase criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate floorboards

In the following we will show you which aspects you can include in the evaluation of plank floors in order to find the right plank floor for you.

The criteria that can help you choose from the wide variety of plank floors include

  • Hardness grade
  • Colour change
  • Sorting and optics
  • Surface

In the following paragraphs we will explain what is important for the individual criteria.

Hardness grade

The degree of hardness determines how durable and robust the flooring will be in the long run. It can therefore also be a decisive factor in determining which plank flooring is ideal for the room you are working on.

So if you have a room that is heavily used, the plank floor should have a higher degree of hardness and vice versa.

The rule of thumb is:

The higher the hardness of the plank floor, the more resilient the wood of the plank floor is.

Again, the sensitivity depends on the type of wood you choose for your floor. Oak, in particular, is characterised by its high load-bearing capacity. Further back is the spruce flooring.

Colour change

A colour change due to sunlight can sometimes occur on floorboards. This is partly due to the fact that wood is a natural product.

Moisture and the temperature in the respective room can also have an effect on the colour of the floor.

You should be aware that although fading or a change in color will be delayed, this process cannot be stopped or stopped.

As a general rule, light wood darkens and dark wood fades with time.

Oak darkens only slightly, maple is particularly affected by colour changes and beech becomes slightly redder over time.

Sorting and optics

Grading means that the wood is sorted according to appearance during the production process.

This sorting process also makes it possible to determine criteria such as the hardness and resilience of the wood.

Not only the appearance, but also the degree of hardness is decisive for you when you choose a plank floor.

Surface

Floorboards can have different surfaces ex works. It can be already coated or sealed.

These procedures are intended to facilitate the maintenance and durability of the floors. In most cases, the floorboards are sealed with lacquer during production, making them more resistant to moisture and scratches.

When you buy a floor, you should therefore make sure that the plank floor has a special factory-finished surface so that you can use the floor optimally and for a long time.

Trivia: Worth knowing facts about floorboards

How do I install the plank floor correctly?

After purchase, you can lay your floorboards yourself or have them laid by professionals. It all depends on how much budget you have available and how you judge your own craftsmanship.

You can screw the floorboards together or glue them together over a large area. The correct method often depends on the subfloor on which you want to lay the flooring.

It is important that you bring a lot of time, patience and the right tools if you are going to lay the floor yourself.

You can find more tips and information in the following video:

How do I maintain a plank floor?

The maintenance of a plank floor is essential for its durability and appearance. Therefore, you should be aware beforehand that plank flooring requires more care than laminate, for example.

You should also know whether your floorboards are already sealed at the factory, as this could have a positive effect on maintenance.

Everyday it is perfectly sufficient to sometimes wipe your new floorboards and remove dust and other dirt with a vacuum cleaner.

It is important that you never mop the floor, but only moisten it!

Floor coverings
Wood floor soap
31/01/20

It is also recommended that you glue small felt plates under the furniture, as you can largely avoid scratching the floor.

If your floor is already sealed, special polishes can be recommended in any case to achieve the best possible result.

If your floor dries out after some time or something similar, you can treat it with the appropriate oil and thus build up a new protective layer.

Please do not use the oil too generously, but rather sparingly.

How long does a plank floor last?

It is impossible to say in general how long a plank floor will last. Many different factors play a role in the durability.

Durability depends, among other things, on the intensity of use, maintenance, the quality of the floor and minor factors that are easily overlooked.

These include solar radiation, room temperature and humidity.

However, you can have an influence on all factors and thus positively influence the durability of your plank floor. You can find all the important information about this here and in further research.

If your plank floor is already a little older, you can certainly upgrade it without having to replace it immediately. You can find out how to do this in the following video:

Which plank floor harmonises with underfloor heating?

If you have underfloor heating, it is particularly important that you know which plank floor is the right one for you.

Otherwise, there may be negative effects and limitations on both heating and the floor.

First of all, it is possible that you can lay floorboards together with underfloor heating. It is important to consider the thermal conductivity of the respective wood species.

Softer wooden floors could partially block the warmer surface, making it difficult to make the most of underfloor heating.

It is important to note that your new plank floor should not be too thick. The floor should be a maximum of 18 mm thick, so that the heat from the underfloor heating can still optimally reach the surface.

It is also possible to install so-called expansion joints when laying the floorboards. These are also particularly recommended in combination with underfloor heating.

What can I do against a creaking floorboard?

Basically, you should be aware that plank flooring is made of wood and that wood is a natural product. This means that over time your floor may start to creak.

However, you can partly prevent this already during the installation. You should pay particular attention to the subfloor and possibly install better substructures so that the planks are firmer.

With some subfloors it is also advisable to use thicker planks from the outset to counteract any future creaking.

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