Fabulous Flooring – Terrific Timber

by Creative Style Interiors

There are so many types of flooring available for your home that selecting the perfect one can be tricky. Fear not! We have put together a 4-part blog series to help take the confusion out of choosing flooring for you home.

First on the agenda is Terrific Timber – the natural choice for flooring!

Timber is the most popular flooring material on the market today, as we love the character and warmth it gives our homes. There are though, lots of options both natural and manmade.  How do you choose which is best for your lifestyle and budget?

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Solid Timber Floors

Solid Timber Floors means the boards are timber all the way through. Although solid timber floors can be either hardwoods eg Spotted gum or softwoods eg Spruce pine, hardwoods are by far the better choice as they’re much tougher than softwoods which mark very easily.

Things to note:

  • Extremely durable and hard-wearing
  • The beautiful natural grain and colours run all the way through the board
  • Scratches and most damage can be sanded back and re-finished
  • Can be prone to warping or ‘cupping’, particularly wider boards, as well as in areas with high moisture or humidity
  • Subject to natural ‘flaws’ such as knots
  • May require regular maintenance in high-traffic areas
  • Most expensive option as they’re solid timber that takes longer to lay because they’re usually secret nailed.  If laid on a concrete base they also need to be installed on battens that can add substantially to the cost of materials and labour.
Engineered (Floating) Timber Flooring by Premium Floors

Engineered (Floating) Timber Flooring by Premium Floors

Floating Floors

Floating Floors means the boards are ‘joined together’ to create a ‘single’ surface that floats on an underlay to help prevent moisture from below penetrating the boards, and lessen sound transmission. There are 2 types.

1. Engineered Timber Floors

Engineered Timber Floors are made with a thin veneer of real hardwood timber on an MDF base and are the most popular choice among renovators as the boards can be laid on an existing substrate such as concrete or tile, without the need for battens.

Things to note:

  • Generally good quality boards are indistinguishable from the solid timber boards of the same species, once laid
  • No nail marks as boards are tongue and grooved as well as glued together
  • Minor damage can be polished out, but major damage will require board replacement
  • May require maintenance in high-traffic areas
  • More affordable than solid timber floors as there’s less real timber and they’re somewhat quicker to lay. Generally the thicker the veneer the more you’ll pay.

Tip: As you get a more stable surface if the boards are also glued, I recommend installation of your engineered floor by a professional.

Laminate Flooring by Premium Floors

Laminate Flooring by Premium Floors

2. Laminate Floors

Laminate Floors are made of a laminate surface with a photographic image of a particular timber species in a particular colour on an MDF base.  Because it’s an image that can be digitally manipulated you can choose from a broad range of ‘timbers’, colours and finishes. They’re very popular in the USA and Europe because they’re so versatile but have been slower to take off here.

Things to note:

  • Big variation in quality from ‘rubbish’ to high quality. Essentially you get what you pay for.
  • No nail marks as the boards click together.
  • The better quality products are very scratch resistant, but heavy damage will require replacing the boards
  • Shouldn’t warp or bow in humid conditions unless water damaged
  • Most are easy to install with the click-system and a rubber mallet. This makes them great for DIY-ers
  • Low maintenance. Only require regular cleaning
  • Much more affordable than solid timber or engineered timber floors

Tip: Neither the engineered timber floor nor the laminate floor like the wet. This is because the MDF base they both have will ‘swell & smell’ if it gets really wet. Any spills should be wiped up as soon as possible.

Bamboo Flooring by Premium Floors

Bamboo Flooring by Premium Floors

Bamboo Floors

Solid Bamboo Floors are made from shredded bamboo ‘mushed together’ with glue and are either hot pressed or cold pressed. Cold pressed is more stable but dearer to buy.

  • Mid to high quality product
  • No nail marks, often with a click-system
  • Durable
  • Increasingly, more colours are being added to the product range.
  • Scratches and most damage can be sanded back and re-finished
  • Reasonably stable – won’t warp or bow but may shrink over time
  • Environmentally sound as bamboo is a fast growing grass.
  • Affordable

Bamboo Floors – with an MDF base

This is relatively new product. There is not enough historical data for me to feel comfortable in commenting. Make sure you do your own research.

To help you out in your quest for the perfect timber floor, It’s always best to consult a reputable supplier who can also recommend quality installers.

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Bonus Tip: Unless it’s parquetry, longer boards look more natural than shorter ones. Shorter planks also make a floor look quite busy and heavily patterned.
*Thanks to Robert Velde of Carpet Right Gordon for additional technical information.

Stay tuned for our second chapter of Fabulous Flooring: Carpet Capers!

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