Of the many flooring solutions that suit residential and commercial properties, wood is often a serious contender when an old flooring solution is replaced. Many property owners who venture on the path of wood flooring without the professional help of an architect, interior designer or building contractor often find the sheer amount of options and considerations confusing. In article, we will highlight just some of the considerations that go into choosing wood flooring for your project. Once you are ready and have purchased the floorboards, be sure to compare and find a flooring fitter using the FindaTrade service.
Wood Flooring – More Than Meets The Eye
If you do not deal with wood flooring on a daily basis, you may think that all wood flooring are the same, but you would be mistaken. In fact, there are two types of wood flooring and in some cases only one will prove suitable for your project. Fitting an incorrect type may lead to expedited wear and tear, unplanned costs and in commercial properties even expensive downtime. The two types of wood flooring are solid wood flooring and engineered wood flooring.
Solid Wood Flooring – Timber floors that are made from complete wood are called solid wood flooring. Solid floorboards are made from common species such as Oak and Walnut or even more exotic species such as Teak and Iroko. The use of complete wood means that service life is extremely lengthy, but in the process you also inherit the natural limitations of wood that we will highlight further down.
Engineered Wood Flooring – Each floorboard is made from layer upon layer of varied materials glued together to create one floorboard. The top layer (the one visible to the eye) is made from natural wood in thickness of 3mm to 6mm, while the rest of the floorboard is made from MDF, Plywood and Softwood. The use of solid wood as the external layer means that an engineered wood floorboard looks 100% identical to solid wood flooring. The use of artificial materials in its core mean that service life isn’t as long as in the case of solid wood flooring, however an engineered floorboard can be fitted more widely around the project which is the reason why it was introduced. You may come across this type under the following, engineered, machined or even constructed wood flooring.
Solid or Engineered Wood Flooring
Property owners with little experience in the world of wood flooring often face the hard dilemma as to which type to fit. In truth, each of the two has a number of benefits that can make it suitable in one project or completely wrong in another project. Your decision is therefore based on a case-by-case basis.
When To Choose Engineered Wood Flooring – Natural wood reacts to increase in temperature by expanding and will damage in the face of wet conditions. It means that solid timber flooring, the type made from 100% natural wood, is not suitable to fit over under floor heating or in areas in which wet and humid conditions are likely to occur such as the bathroom and kitchen areas. On the other hand, engineered wood flooring with a suitable waterproof coating (such as UV Lacquered) will suit perfectly well. It will also make a suitable wood flooring solution over under floor heating.
When To Choose Solid Wood Flooring – There is no getting away from the fact that solid wood flooring is stronger and will therefore cope with foot traffic for many more years. If the above constrains do not apply (under floor heating and high humidity areas), solid wood flooring is often the preferred choice. However, of the two it is often the dearer option, as natural wood is more expensive compared to artificial materials. Therefore, budget constrains of the project should also be taken into account.
Grade Of Wood
Wood floorboards are not only distinguished by type, but also by grade. Grade is an indication of visual sapwood and knots in both solid and engineered flooring cases. It has no bearing quality or service life, but has deep impact on costs and visuals. Higher grades woods are derived from the centre of the log which equals more uniform look, less knots and sapwood. The basic grades feature plenty of knots, sapwood and floorboards in the same batch will likely vary in shade. The choice of one over the other is really down to personal taste and budget. Common grades are Prime, Select, Natural and Rustic as the most basic grade.
Finish Of Wood
The last consideration during your purchase process is deciding on finish. You can either purchase prefinished floorboards or unfinished, to later apply your finish of choice. The finish layer is really meant to offer basic protection from common hardwood flooring pitfalls such as scuffs or scratched which happen when items are dragged on the flooring surface or from stains. Common options include either an oil base finish or lacquered base finish.
Oil Finish – It results in a matt like finish that is useful for owners who wish to achieve an understated and natural look. Oil filters into the wood thereby extending the period until the finish has to be reapplied. It is today’s alternative to the wax finish and by far the most common.
Lacquered Finish – It will often result in a high glare almost glossy finish. Unlike oil the thickness of the lacquered liquid means that it kept on the surface and won’t filter into the wood. Certain lacquers make the floorboards waterproof as they remain on the surface, however because it remains on the surface it tends to wear quicker.
Once you have found the perfect option for your project, use FindaTrade to find your nearest flooring fitter by posting your job online.
Information by Jonathan Sapir. Jonathan is the MD of www.WoodandBeyond.com, a UK based hardwood flooring suppliers.