Wood flooring are found across various types of properties from residential homes to business premises. When choosing wood flooring, be it on-line, from your local hardwood store or using a service provider such as an architect or builder your options revolve around the type of wood, grade of wood and finish of the floor, all of which we plan to explain in this article.
Type Of Wood:
By far the most important decision you will be making it choosing one type of wood over another. Type refers to the construction of the floorboard deciding between solid and engineered. Luckily there are only two 😉
Solid Wood Flooring – These are the most common type of construction found in all types of properties from historical homes to new developments. Each plank is made of 100% wood such as Oak, Walnut and others.
Its strength lies in the durability of the wood. With the right level of care, these can easily reach 100 to 150 years of service life. The complete construction of wood will allow you to sand and then re-coat the floor every few years thereby making the floor look freshly laid. Its weakness originates from the damage that wet conditions (water, humidity and moisture) can cause real wood therefore areas such as the bathroom are traditionally a no-no area for solid wood.
Engineered Wood Flooring – These are still referred to as wood flooring because they use solid wood as a top layer. Below this layer you will find three to four layers of syntactic material such as MDF, Plywood and Softwood. This construction ensures that each floorboard looks 100% wood flooring like, but varies from solid in its strength and weakness.
The varied construction makes engineered quicker (and cheaper) to fit and this time around you can safely fit it in areas that experience humidity and moisture. Engineered wood is not as durable as solid and service life is still substantial but closer to 25 years. Sanding and re-coating is still possible, but that will depend on the thickness of the solid layer (the first layer).
Engineered Flooring Pic
Grades Of Wood: The solid wood (100% in the case of solid and as a layer in the case of engineered) is divided into levels of grade. It is an indication to the visual side of the plank, nothing to do with quality. Your choice of one grade over the other depends on your design taste and budget, as the higher grades will cost slightly more.
Prime grade – Prime grade wood flooring are cut from the middle of the tree which means that the floorboard will have the least amount of colour variations between the planks and knots are very few in between.
Select grade – Select grade wood flooring are cut from the second ring from within the core of the tree which means that the floorboards will show some colour variations between the plank and some knots can be expected.
Natural grade – Natural grade will feature sapwood and black knots of up to 30cm in size. Compared to the previous two grades, price difference will become more substantial making this grade very popular when fitting wood floors on a tight budget.
Rustic grade – Floorboards will feature sapwood and black knots of 35mm. There might be unlimited colour variation between the floorboards. Rustic is the most affordable option.
The last consideration to make is how the wood will be protected. The finish is a thin almost transparent layer of liquid that acts to seal the wood and to provide some form of protection. The most common are lacquer, oil and UV oil finish. Lacquer is popular because it makes the wood almost waterproof as it sits on the wood, while oil is better at preventing common wear and tear damage as oil sinks into the wood.
Your wood flooring options by Wood and Beyond. FSC licensed London merchants of solid wood flooring, engineered as well as decking and walnut worktops. When choosing wood flooring, please consider the environment and look for sellers who source their woods ethically from managed forests. Images by Wood and Beyond.