Of the many flooring solutions, available nowadays to self-builders, perhaps the most seemingly complicated solution appears to be wood flooring. Prospective owners are often confused when industry and technical buzzwords fill the product description pages. In this guide, we look to simplify your options.
Start by choosing the type of flooring you would like. The three main types are as follows:
Solid Wood Flooring
Each floorboard of the solid type is made from 100% natural wood, hence the use of the term ‘solid’. These are particularly strong floorboards that are suitable in most areas of the interior. The exceptions to the rule are the bathroom, kitchen or on top of under floor heating. The bathroom and kitchen areas tend to become temporarily humid and may cause natural wood to expand and misshape. Similarly, natural wood will expand if it is fitted over under floor heating.
Engineered Wood Flooring
Each floorboard is made from a top layer of solid wood; however, the core is constructed using layers of MDF and Ply, hence the use of the term ‘engineered’. These floorboards are perfectly suitable in all areas of the interior, even in humid areas and even on top of under floor heating, as they are resistant to expansion. The one drawback is a shorter service life when compared to the solid wood flooring type.
Laminate Wood Flooring
Is a product constructed from synthetic materials made from various layers that are laminated together. The core of a laminate floor is often a fibre board material that is topped with a textured image that replicates real wood. Upon closer inspection, the difference between this imprinted image and the real wood veneer on an engineered product is quite apparent. A laminate product has pre-designed patterns that will re-occur throughout the floor compared the uniqueness of real wood with no two boards ever looking the same.
Types of wood finish
A clear liquid is often applied onto the exposed wood to improve its service life. Options of finish are based on variations of either oil or lacquer coatings:
Oil is the most common finish, mainly because it will not alter the look of the wood, thereby helping retain a natural authentic look. Oil is also slower to wear off.
Lacquer is the rugged finish of the two, meaning it is often applied onto floorboards that are exposed to higher foot traffic, fitted in direct sight of sunlight for prolong periods or when water resistance is required. Lacquer might change the look of the floorboard by giving it a slight lustre finish (semi-gloss).
Colours of wood flooring. In its natural state, wood comes in honey gold colours. This can be made lighter or darker; however, it will still retain its original golden tones. While this fits many interiors, in recent years dark and white floorboards have been introduced to the mix.
White Wood Flooring
These floorboards are made white using a technique called ‘whitewashing’. The result, is a durable white floorboard. Great at making smaller spaces appear bigger.
Black Wood Flooring
These floorboards are made dark, even black, using several processes, from staining to oven baking. If the floorboard is made too dark, you stand a chance of covering the natural signs of wood.
Grey Wood Flooring
In recent years more and more home owners wanted a shade in between the light and dark and brands came up with the grey floorboard. The colour is achieved using diluted paint over the floorboard.
Grade of wood flooring – The final consideration is the grade of wood. Do not mistake ‘grade’ as an indication of quality. It is an indication of how refined the floorboard is. High grades will feature a clean uniform look, while basic grades will feature sapwood, fillers, knots and colour variations.
Prime and Select Grades
These are the two luxury grades in which natural features are muted, making way to a cleaner look. Sapwood, knots and colour variation is limited. Prime and select grade have limited availability.
Natural and Rustic
These are the two basic grades in which natural features are more abundantly observed. Knots of varying sizes are to be expected, sapwood content is high and colour variation is certain.
When choosing wood flooring, start by deciding between solid wood flooring, engineered wood flooring or laminate, then decide on finish, typically between oiled or lacquered finish. Once the decision has been made, look at the creative aspect in terms of colour and grade. Alternatively, why not contact the experts at Property Perfect Solutions Limited to offer support and advice on your property maintenance.