If you’ve watched “You’ve Been Framed” or “America’s Funniest Home Videos”, you may remember laughing as a pogo stick disappeared through a floor. If it happens to your own floor, however, it might not be so funny.

Engineered wood is a fantastic product that makes creating beautiful and functional floors easier and cheaper for DIY enthusiasts and building professionals alike. It can look and feel exactly like real timber or something entirely new if you prefer. Laminate flooring tiles are a form of engineered wood, or it is available in “plank” forms.

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Most people are aware that in areas prone to flooding, such as bathrooms or near washing machines, you need specially treated boards. Otherwise, it is a remarkably reliable solution as a replacement floor or a floating floor over old and uneven subfloors.

It ranges from 7mm to 23mm thick. Heavier boards are more expensive, but that doesn’t mean they’re always better; it depends on the other choices. There is little point in laying heavy boards over a stable subfloor in a bedroom where traffic will be light.

Under-floor heating

A thinner board warms up more quickly. Assuming you are laying boards directly onto joists, a thickness of 15mm is about right. Check that your joists are no more than 450mm from centre to centre. You can add extra bracing between joists to make thin floors safer.

Heavy traffic

To be honest, a fat man on a pogo stick isn’t a fair test for any floor, but 18mm thick boards set directly onto joists should be safe under normal circumstances. When boards are laid flat onto an existing subfloor, 10mm will do, but there are other considerations.

Thicker board usually has a thicker top layer, which means you can sand the floor down to renovate it more times. This extends the lifetime several times – an 18mm board should sand seven times – so in heavy traffic areas, the thicker, the better.

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Noise

Noise penetration to rooms beneath or adjoining the room is another consideration. Instead of merely increasing board thickness, consider an acoustic underlay. A specialist flooring company will be happy to advise; try sites like http://www.woodfloorwarehouse.co.uk/laminate-flooring.html. There is also advice on sound-proofing floors online.Choosing boards the same thickness as a floor you’ve just removed will save you from adjusting skirting, thresholds and door mouldings.