Few things add to the look of a room, or the value of your home, like a real wooden floor. Follow Julia Gray's DIY installation tips
Wooden floors are practical, look fantastic and help to sell homes because they have universal appeal.
If you're lucky enough to have period floorboards in your home, you've got a head start, but if not, installing a wooden floor is easier than ever.
Laminate flooring, which has a picture of wood printed on to the boards, used to be the easiest way to get the look, but laminate isn't as fashionable as it once was.
If you want the real deal, the good news is that other types of wooden flooring are now as easy to install as laminate.
Fitting real wooden flooring used to be tricky, but not any more. Boards that just click and fit together, with no nails, screws or glue required, are widely available. This applies to both engineered wood and solid wood flooring.
Engineered wood has a layer of wood on top of the boards, but it doesn't go all the way through - there's a cheaper middle and bottom layer.
The thickness of the wood varies (usually between 0.6mm and 6mm), so make sure you know how thick it is and how many times, if any, it can be sanded.
A floor that can be sanded a few times is a good investment because it can take more wear and tear.
As lovely as solid wood is - and for some people, nothing else will do - engineered wood can be a more practical choice (both start from around the same price).
Because engineered wood consists of layers, it has more strength and durability than a solid wood floor. It shouldn't shrink and expand when exposed to moisture and changes in temperature and humidity, unlike a solid wood floor.
Most wooden flooring comes finished, sealed and ready to fit, but you can also get bare wood if you want to stain, wax, varnish or paint it yourself, either conventional floorboards (new, or reclaimed period ones) or, again, boards that click together for easy fitting.
If your home's leasehold, you may have to get the freeholder's permission to fit wooden floors or have the original floorboards exposed, especially if you have neighbours underneath.
See what the lease says because it may have clauses about wooden floors or causing a noise nuisance, which, of course, wooden floors can.
One way to get round this is to propose installing special sound-absorbing underlay, which may be acceptable to the freeholder. In this situation, getting the wooden floor of your dreams could be a bit of a battle, but the end result will be worth it.