Today’s blogpost is a guest post from Wood and Beyond a company in London specialising in timber flooring! Enjoy!
Wood flooring is often seen as a complicated flooring solution to buy due to the various options and configurations that are available. As you will read further down this visual guide to wood flooring, it is quite straightforward when your options are displayed correctly. Woods: Timber that is used for wood flooring is made of two groups. One is called hardwood and the other softwood. Hardwoods tend to be the more expensive option as it is made of slow growing trees and takes longer to process into floorboards. These are also the more hardwearing of the two so if you are looking for a durable flooring solution, the decision has been made for you. In the vast majority of cases, hardwood is used extensively for flooring and structural timber frames. Softwood is used when budget constrains dictate a low cost solution and durability of the floor is not a concern.
Often the most confusion part is the type of wood flooring and the dilemma of which type suits your interior the most. Often the answer is a practical one as each type of wood flooring is better at home in a different environment. There are two types, one is called real wood flooring though its actual name is solid and one is called engineered wood flooring. Solid wood flooring – These are the most common planks of wood flooring that are featured across many properties and in particular period homes across the entire UK. Each board is made from complete wood such as Pine, Walnut, Oak and others. Its best character by far is durability that is expected at 100 years of service life when care is adhered to. On the other hand, it is unsuitable in damp areas such as the kitchen, bathroom and conservatory limiting your interior design on occasion.
Engineered wood flooring
These are the ‘new kid on the block’ that has been introduced only in recent years. Solid wood is still used, however only as a top layer. Below this layer lie three to four layers of syntactic material. The result is a type of floorboard that looks precisely as you would imagine wood flooring would look like, however does not share the same properties as solid wood. Its biggest attraction is its suitability in damp areas and ease of installation due to lighter nature of the boards. On the other hand its service life will not match the likes of solid wood and sanding (a process that remove a 1mm layer of ‘old’ wood) is possible fewer times compared to the previous type. The decision to fit one type over the next normally revolves around where the wood is to be fitted and budget constrains, as engineered boards are more affordable due to the lesser use of solid wood. Your interior designer will be able to explain further if you are unsure. Grade of plank: The layer of solid wood, which is also the top layer for both types, is divided into levels of grade. It is an indication to the visual side of the plank, nothing to do with quality (a common misconception). Your choice of one over the other depends on your design taste and budget, as the higher grades will cost slightly more.
Grade one – 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.
Grade two – 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.
Grade three – 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.
Grade four – rustic grade: Floorboards will feature sapwood and black knots of 35cm. There might be unlimited colour variation between the floorboards. Rustic is the most affordable option.
In the past the species of wood (Pine, Walnut, Oak etc) would have determined the colour of the board. While this is still true, flooring technology has allowed for special colours to cover the planks and thereby meet the precise shade to compliment your interior.
Examples of bespoke colour include:
We hope that this guide will help you in your journey to buying wooden flooring be it on-line or from your local high street chain. Contact your interior designer for further options and considerations.
Guide and images by Wood and Beyond. London based company of solid wood flooring and engineered wood.