Wood is a common choice as a flooring material due to its environmental profile and durability. It is available in different grades and materials.
A well installed and maintained wood floor looks fabulous and is an appealing feature in any home or office.
Due to it’s nature a wood floor is not suitable for damp areas or very hot, dry ones.
The three main choices for wood flooring are:
This is made from compressed fibre-board planks, covered by a photographic image of wood, stone or tile and a protective overlay. Available in a wide variety of imitations of natural materials. It is cheap and hard wearing, but even the best laminate won’t look or feel exactly like the real thing.
Engineered wood flooring
Engineered wood flooring is composed of two or more layers of wood, glued together at right angles to create a plank around 14mm thick.
The top layer (lamella) is the wood that is visible when the flooring is installed. It is usually a real-wood veneer of around 4mm thick, which means it can be sanded back and treated to restore the original finish if it becomes scuffed, worn or damaged.
The stability of this type of flooring makes it a universal product that can be installed over all types of subfloors. Engineered wood flooring is also suitable for underfloor and radiant heating systems.
It is often installed using patented “click” systems – similar to tongue-and-groove, but it doesn’t need glue, making replacement of damaged boards easier.
Real/Solid wood flooring
Solid wood planks are often thicker than laminate or engineered wood as each board is made from a single piece of timber, typically 18-20mm thick, that is kiln or air dried before sawing. It is usually fitted using tongue-and-groove. Depending on the desired look of the floor, the timber can be cut in three ways: flat-sawn, quarter-sawn, and rift-sawn.
Ideal for anywhere with a relatively constant atmosphere, particularly in hallways and living areas where you can show it off.
Solid-wood flooring can be sanded back to restore the finish – the number of times is determined by the depth of the tongue from the top of the board.
- Sanding & Sealing
Sanding provides a method for smoothing an installed floor, compensating for unevenness of the subfloor. It is also used to renew the appearance of older engineered or real wood floors.
Sanding using successively finer grades of sandpaper is required to ensure even stain penetration when stains are used, as well as to eliminate visible scratches from coarser sandpaper grades used initially.
Wood flooring is typically installed using tongue-and-groove to align the planks which can then be glued or nailed to the subfloor or floated (the planks are not fixed to the subfloor making it easier to repair).
Or they can use patented “click” systems – similar to tongue-and-groove, but they don’t need glue to keep the planks together, making replacement of damaged boards easier, particularly in floating installations.
Proper use of vacuuming, sweeping, and damp mopping is usually all that is required to maintain the cleanliness and appearance of a wood floor.
Excessive grit and foot traffic may affect appearance, but a properly finished and maintained wood floor does not collect dirt or soil.