Timber Flooring Options

Timber Flooring Options

June 18, 2021

WITH AMANDA AYRES

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If you think your biggest decision is whether to go for timber floorboards or tiles in your new home, then you might be surprised to see how many more decisions you need to make to specify your timber flooring.

Your first decision should be whether you want to go for solid or engineered boards – if you’re not at that stage yet, check out this blog post I wrote on engineered boards.

Once that decision is made, the next most important consideration is the species of timber you select. This choice will influence the colour, texture, features, cost, and durability of your flooring and there are plenty of options available, so it’s important to know what’s going to be a good fit for your project.

Your flooring is one of the hardest hit surfaces in your home, so I recommend that the durability of the timber is one of the highest considerations, along with the colour, as this will influence the overall style and palette of your interior spaces.

Here’s a few of my favourites…

European Oak
Timber Flooring Options

European Oak
Warm, honey brown with consistent colouring and exposed grain. Takes staining particularly well.

French Oak
Timber Flooring Options

French Oak
Mostly straight-grained with a medium to coarse texture and often with large distinctive growth rings.
Also great for staining.

Blackbutt
Timber Flooring Options

Blackbutt
An Australian hardwood with a straight grain pattern and light to mid-brown colouring. The variation of colour gives a distinctive look when laid. Very durable.

And just when you think that all the decisions are made, you’ve still got a few more to go! Here’s a quick summary of the other options you should be considering when specifying your timber flooring…

Timber Flooring Options

Grading
Different species will be available in a range of grades, depending on how much of the natural character and variation you want coming through.

Timber Flooring Options

Plank Width
You may also have the option to go with something different to the standard 12cm wide board. Look for extra wide boards of up to 26cm for a high end look. Great in large spaces.

Timber Flooring Options

Laying Options
If you want to mix it up, you can look at herringbone or parquetry style laying patterns, or even laying your straight boards on a diagonal.

Timber Flooring Options

Staining
Staining is a really common way to customise the look of your new floors or give an existing floor a new look. The unique fibres of the wood will determine how the stain penetrates and therefore the final look, so always sample first.

Timber Flooring Options

Finishing
Polyurethane finishes will give you the most durable coatings, available as water or oil-based. If working with a lighter coloured floor, I try to avoid the oil-based finishes as they tend to yellow over time.
Also, consider some of the hard-wax oils available.

Timber Flooring Options

Gloss Level
The final decision will be the level of gloss you want the finish to have – the high gloss, mirrored surface floors are definitely a thing of the past and most contemporary spaces are opting for satin or matt finishes.

To help you along the way, I’ve got a few tips to share on choosing your timber flooring…

+ If you’re planning to stain your timber floors, make sure you test samples on your actual floors before giving the go-ahead to your installer. Because each species (and even each batch of the same species) has a different tightness of ‘fibres’, the way that it takes stains will be different and this will give you a different appearance.

The Timber Studio provides a great sampling service that makes this process easy.

+ Check the Janka Rating of the timber you’re looking at – this is the universal rating for timber hardness – the higher the number, the stronger is it. This rating will give you an indication of the resistance to denting and wear.

+ Only purchase engineered boards from reputable suppliers that provide a warranty on the durability of the products.

+ If you’ve got a high traffic floor that is likely to get knocked around, look for a timber with some textured grain in the surface – it will give the scratches somewhere to hide. Ask your installer or supplier about touch up kits so you can repair any scratches that happen.

Feature Image Credit : Via Havwoods International

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Engineered Timber Floors

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I had this perception that these were just a cheaper, inferior alternative…

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