Quick Guide: Timber Flooring
Timber flooring has been relied on for centuries, proving to be hygienic, easy to care for & somehow having the ability to go with just about any interior.
Having worked alongside timber for years, we’ve seen the natural tendencies of the product – how oxidation causes colour change, expansion & contraction during the seasons, thermal properties, etc. This is a lot of information to take in! But how much do you really need to know about timber flooring to live on it? Here’s our quick guide.
How do you live?
Do you have kids &/or pets? Do you wear your shoes inside? Do you live rural? This can all affect the performance of your flooring, the finish in particular. If dust or scratching is more likely in your situation then a matt finish would be more suitable. The more texture to the boards, the more they’ll hide!
Does your home have underfloor heating? Keep in mind that some species aren’t warranted for this purpose & may expand, contract or even warp. It’s an important thing to factor in when you’re on the look for flooring.
You want your floor to be able to live around you, not you having to live around your floor.
What do you expect?
Many people consider solid timber as the best option thinking it has more usable timber. Of course, there’s a few different variables depending on the timber product, but generally speaking, engineered timber actually has more.
Solid timber (standard & traditional thickness being 19mm) has approximately a 6mm top of timber before you hit the tongue & groove core. 1.5mm will be sanded before the initial coating & at least 1mm of timber must be left from the tongue & groove to ensure structural integrity leaving less than 3.5mm of usable timber.
Engineered timber has a stabilised core board with an average timber top of 4mm, called a lamella. You can buy both raw & prefinished engineered boards. Prefinished means that it’s already had the selected coating applied during manufacturing, so no finishing needs to be completed on site. This leaves a remaining 4mm of usable timber! & being that engineered timber is more structurally stable, you can generally sand it until it’s less than 1mm from the core.
If you’re expecting a floor to be easily repaired, timber is a great option too. You can easily minimise or fill scratches & for any heavily damaged areas, you can replace the plank! Having a textured timber in your home also welcomes imperfections adding more “character” to your floor.
Keep in mind: as timber flooring is made up of multiple layers, it’s important that a good quality binding agent & core board has been used to ensure the best performance. The less expensive the product is, the more likely that changes have been made to reflect the price.
How long are you planning to have it?
The amount of time that your floor will last depends on the thickness of the timber top of your chosen product. As a rule of thumb, we generally say that 1mm of timber will last 20-30 years in a home. The heavier the wear & tear, the less time. If you have a 4mm timber top, that’s around 100 years!
Of course, there are products with more or less usable timber & depending on your project, one may be more suitable than the other.
Timber is also grown in different environments & is available at varying ages. The older the timber, the more stable it is in different environments.
Timber flooring is an investment & isn’t something that we tend to change every 10 years, so having a product that you & the next person will love to live on is an important thing to consider. Timber also adds something to a home – a natural & ambient warmth that makes you feel comfortable.
Like anything, keeping it simple makes the decision making process a lot less painful! Thinking about what you need, what you want from it & how long for will help in narrowing down your options to find the best one for you.