Engineered oak flooring: it’s all about pattern 

The huge popularity of engineered wood flooring in patterned ‘parquet’ designs is showing no signs of slowing down, and it remains a key trend this autumn/winter.

Patterned wood floors aren’t a new thing; back in 500 B.C. the Roman’s used a herringbone pattern to construct roads, having discovered that pointing the bricks created a very stable surface.  In the mid 1500’s, an Italian craftsman laid one of the first wooden herringbone floors in Francois 1 Gallery at Chateau de Fontainebleau – and so began Europe’s love affair with patterned wood, which has recently enjoyed a renaissance.

The ‘parquet’ effects in engineered oak flooring

engineered oak flooringPatterned wood floors come in lots of different geometric formats, including Basketweave, Chantilly and Versailles – but by far the most popular styles are Herringbone and Chevron. Herringbone – named so as it resembles the bones of a herring-like fish - is in effect a broken zig-zag. Rectangular wooden staves of equal length are laid at a 45-degree angle. Chevron is a true zig-zag pattern, where a series of V shapes are laid in a row. All of these styles create a ‘parquet’ effect and are created by using individual wood blocks which are laid into a bed of adhesive. Our own Gatehouse engineered oak flooring, in a warm golden tone, looks beautiful in a Herringbone design. Today, engineered wood flooring is available where the one-strip surface is ready patterned, so the boards are laid like normal planks to create a continuous pattern effect. It’s worth researching these types of options, as installation time and costs are greatly reduced, and modern formats offer lots of practical benefits.

engineered wood flooring

Contrast and laying styles

A current trend with London designers is to use different tones of engineered oak flooring to create a contrasting pattern or border within the floor. Mixing shades in this way can create a stunning effect. Plain engineered wood flooing planks, in a matching tone, can also be used to create a more subtle ‘frame’ around a patterned wood flooring.

Other ways to introduce pattern is to zone areas; traditional plank floors can be laid in a different direction in different rooms to create interest. Or a single plank may be laid at a doorway, at right angles to the floor, to create a dividing line. Engineered oak flooring can also be laid diagonally but this requires very careful planning and can create lots of waste!

End grains and natural variation

Other less common types of patterned wood flooring include ‘end grain’ designs. Timbers tiles are cut from the end of a piece of timber and the end grain is exposed. If you’re looking for a subtler pattern, look out for plank-style wood floors that have an old or reclaimed look, with lots of graining and colour variation; in effect, nature’s own pattern!


For flooring inspiration browse our engineered oak flooring collection, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Or pop into our Burford showroom for help, advice and inspiration. Alternatively, you can contact us here.

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