What's in a name: laminated, melamine, engineered, composed, parquet etc
As a member of two Online DIY forums we frequently give free advice to any "would be" wooden flooring installer. We do notice there is a lot of confusion about names of products and before we continue with other wooden flooring items we would like to introduce a more righteous terminology in types of floor covering.
The most confusion is about laminated flooring, used by DIY-ers (and even some suppliers) for both Melamine Laminated Flooring (the ‘plastic’ – Melamine’ stuff with only a photo-copy of wood) and for Wood-Engineered and Wood-Veneered flooring (flooring with a solid wood top layer between 0.2mm and 6 – 8mm with a crossed-backing of pine/plywood or mdf).
In the (English) wood-flooring profession laminate is used to describe the Melamine flooring (like Pergo, Quick-step etc).
The term Wood-Veneer is officially only used when the solid wooden top layer has a thickness between 0.2 to 1.5mm but frequently Internet searchers mean all the different types of Wood-Engineered flooring when using this term.
The top layer of this kind of product isn’t sawn, but peeled from the trunk and then glued (under high pressure) to a backing of mostly HDF. Although a very thin layer it is (normally) not of inferior quality. A veneer board can't be sanded though.
Wood-Engineered covers the rest of the ‘engineered’ flooring where the solid wooden top layer is more than 1.5mm thick (and can go up to even 8mm), but has a crossed-backing of a different material than the top layer.
Solid wooden flooring with cross backing of the same wood (to make it more stable) is called ‘composed’ wooden flooring.
Solid wood T&G boards: these are made out of the same material (Oak, Maple etc) with Tongue and Groove on all four sides (although some manufacturers/saw-mills still create them only on the two long sides).
Parquet or overlay: unfinished Solid planks/strips/tiles/blocks without T&G, which are either glued and nailed on a solid mosaic (5-7 ‘fingers’-tiles) or plywood/chipboard subfloor or glued directly on a concrete/screed underfloor (like mosaic tiles, herringbone or other patterns). The planks/strips/tiles/blocks are 6 to 10mm thick and are known in The Netherlands and Belgium as Overlay floors.
Miss-use of Parquet term. Where in the mainland of Europe Parquet (Parket) means wooden flooring (any wooden flooring, from solid, wood-engineered to wood block design patterns like herringbone) in the UK the term Parquet is commonly used to describe the latter: wood blocks in any design pattern.
We have noticed however that some manufacturers and retailers use the term Parquet in the UK to promote the 3-strip Wood-Engineered (or 3-strip Wood-Veneer) flooring, which does lead to disappointed customers expecting a real (solid) ‘old-fashioned’ parquet floor instead of the T&G (or click) boards they are in fact purchasing.