To the untrained eye wood flooring that has been fitted correctly must look alike. Look under the hood though and you will discover different types and various considerations that a professional tradesman would pay attention to. If you are considering fitting wood flooring, here are your options and various considerations to take into account.
Wood Flooring Type:
The most important decision is fitting the right type for your property. Wood flooring is available in solid construction or in varied engineered construction. In some cases either type will suit well, in others only one type will provide the service life that as a property owner you would expect.
1st Type Solid Wood Flooring – These are the traditional wood flooring that until just a few years ago were also your only option. Each plank is made from solid hardwood such as Oak and Walnut. This construction benefits from extreme strength and durability. Service life can exceed 100 years if the floor is cared for and you will be able to sand and recoat the wood many times over its lifetime thereby making it look new again. However, it does not suit conditions of fluctuating temperatures or areas that experience wet and humid conditions such as certain types of extensions, the bathroom area and certain kitchens. If these limitations are not a factor in your home improvement project, solid wood flooring will suit fine.
2nd Type Engineered Wood Flooring – These were first introduced in commercial properties to overcome the natural limitations of solid wood. They quickly found their way to residential properties. Each plank is made from a layer of solid wood (as the top layer) supported by syntactic materials. This construction means that when fitted an engineered plank looks precisely like solid, however looks aside it does suit in areas that experience varied and fluctuating conditions. Its drawbacks are reduced service life and a limited ability to sand and recoat the plank. Sanding removes a 1mm layer of wood therefore the number of times an engineered plank can be sanded will depend on the thickness of the solid layer (typically between 3mm to 6mm thick).
Wood Flooring Grade:
Colour variations between the boards, knots and sapwood levels make up the grade of the wood. This is true in both cases as both types of wood flooring contain solid wood (of course in unequal amounts). There are four common levels of wood flooring and as a rule of thumb, the higher the grade is, the more each board will cost due to higher levels of refinement.
Prime Grade – Prime grade wood flooring are cut from the center of the tree which means that the floorboard will have no colour variations between the boards and knots are very few between.
Select Grade – Select grade wood flooring are cut from the second ring from within the center of the tree which means that the floorboards will show some colour variations between the boards and some knots can be expected.
Natural Grade – Natural grade or ABCD mill run grade will feature sapwood and knots of up to 25mm/30mm in size. Compared to the previous two grades, price difference between the three will become more substantial.
Rustic Grade – Also referred to as ‘country grade’, rustic is by far the grade with the most attitude, as you cannot mistaken the floor for wood. Floorboards will feature sapwood and knots of 35mm. Colour variation between the floorboards will feature more prominently.
Wood Flooring Finish:
Each plank of wood is covered in a thin layer referred to as finish or coating. In most circumstances it has only a decorative part, deciding between matt, glossy or any other look based on your interior design aspirations. However you should also consider the practical side of the finish, as some options are more hardwearing than others (lacquer for example), while others are easier to maintain (oil for example).
If you are considering fitting wood flooring there are options and various considerations to take into account. It is worth consulting with a professional tradesman to ensure you are fitting the most suitable type for your property.
Guide by hardwood flooring seller Wood and Beyond. Timber and hardwood company offering solid wood worktops, flooring and decking. Its products are FSC sourced.
Wood and Beyond Ltd
220 The Vale NW11 8SR, London