With so many flooring options available to homeowners, settling on one particular one may sometimes prove to be a bit of a challenge. Everything from polished concrete to different type of tiling, the choices (and their pros and cons) can be a little overwhelming. Some people make it out of the first part of the woods and settle on timber flooring, finally! Right? Well, not really, now you have to pick the type of wood flooring, what species works for you, the grain, the colour, etc. so, what’s right for you? A number of things have to be considered to answer that question.
Types of Wood Flooring
There are mainly two types of timber flooring, engineered timber and solid timber. The main difference between these two is their composition. Solid timber, like the name suggests, is a single, solid block of wood while engineered timber is basically a sandwich of wood layers normally consisting of a top wear layer of timber and middle and lower layers of plywood glued together to make one block of wood. While solid timber is the first choice for purists, engineered timber has its advantages as it is able to be installed in more places that solid wood isn’t, such as in areas prone to moisture and humidity, due it’s adaptability. Other than this, there isn’t much difference between the two as both offer the same look. However, care must be taken in selecting engineered timber as some have top layers so thin they make refinishing and resanding impossible. The engineered timber to purchase that would give you value for your money would be wood with a top wear layer as thick as that of the wear layer on solid timber. This would allow to you to refinish and resand as many times as with solid timber.
Timber flooring comes in a variety of species, all of which vary in different aspects which you will have to take into consideration when choosing your floorboard species. The first and most important is the hardness of the wood. Timber varies in hardness and in turn durability. The higher the hardness ranking, which is scaled using what’s referred to as the Janka Hardness Scale, the more durable the wood. The other aspect to consider would be how well it takes to stain if you’re considering staining your floorboards after installation as some timbers take easier to stain than others. Your choice of species will also be highly dependent on where you are located. Jarrah, Marri, Spotted Gum and Blackbutt t are widely available in Australia.
Grain and Colour
Thanks to the wide variety of species timber comes in, you’re unlikely to have much trouble finding a floor that works with your interior design and décor. Your selection of grain pattern and colour will depend on the particular interior design style you wish to work with. The presented grain patterns in lumber, unlike the colour of the wood, are as a result of the saw methods used by sawyers to cut up a tree. Workshop Companion lists the three (3) methods used to cut up lumber, plain sawing, quarter sawing and live sawing, and their resulting grain patters. The plain saw produces boards with a flat grain on their faces and quarter grain on the side which work beautifully for rustic designs. The quarter saw produces mostly a quarter grain on the boards face and a flat grain on its sides which tends to add a bit of a lively feel to modern designs. The live saw gives you a flat grain at the centre of the boards that progresses into a quarter grain towards the edges.
Timber flooring can be purchased in two forms; either finished or unfinished planks. The greatest advantage with prefinished timber planks is that there are no surprises, what you see is literally what you get, this is due to the fact that they come “prefinished” with the stain and top coat factory-applied. Prefinished floors also have the advantage of taking less time to install in comparison to unfinished timber planks.
Unfinished or site-finished timber flooring comes bare or natural, with no stain or sealant applied. In this form, timber floors are installed on-site and the sanded and finished. The tricky part with unfinished timber floors is that you don’t know what they’ll look like after the finish is applied, and sometime the same species could look different with different gloss levels applied. The beauty with them though is that the end result is more or less up to you. You get to decide if they should be stained or not, if they should be super glossy or not, etc. They also have the advantage of an even sand and finish, as well as a consistent seal.
Installation and Cost
The cost of the timber flooring will depend on the type of wood (solid or engineered), the wood species and the finishing required. Normally the price of timber flooring tends to be a few dollars more than engineered flooring in both the pre- and site-finished categories. The cost of installation will largely depend on the type of timber flooring and the type of installation (which we discussed here) you choose as well as whether the timber flooring planks are to be finished on site or not.
Beginning your journey to beautiful timber flooring might seem a little daunting and tedious, especially if you’re very particular about what you want, but stress not, Simply Bamboo is here to help you through it, so feel free to contact us with and questions and/or requests for quotations. We look forward to working with you.