Wood flooring is one of the most popular types of flooring solutions and equally one of the most research demanding due to the sheer amount of options and considerations to take into account. In this guide we will talk through your options given you industry insight from an interior designer perspective.
Types Of Wood Flooring
The world of real wood flooring includes two types. The traditional type called solid wood flooring and its alternative, engineered wood flooring. Both contain natural wood but in different quantities. Hence the use of the descriptive name, ‘real wood flooring’.
Solid Wood Flooring – Each plank (a board of flooring) is made from complete 100% natural wood. The wood that is used varies from common species such as Oak to exotic species such as Teak.
Engineered Wood Flooring – Each plank is made from a top layer of natural wood, typically between 3mm to 6mm thick supported by layers of artificial material. The use of natural wood as the top layer ensures that engineered wood flooring looks precisely like solid wood flooring when fitted correctly.
Suitability Of Wood Flooring In Your Project
The industry offers solid and engineered options for a good reason. In some circumstances one type is more suitable than the other.
Areas With Under Floor Heating – Natural wood will expand when the temperature increases and contract when the temperature drops. This can cause the board to expand and contract aggressively and result in damage. Engineered wood flooring due to the lesser use of natural wood will not expand and contract aggressively and therefore is the only option for fitting wood flooring over under floor heating.
Areas With High Levels Of Foot Traffic – Although engineered wood flooring is very durable, it is no match for solid wood flooring due to its 100% natural wood construction. Therefore areas that experience high levels of foot traffic and therefore expedited wear such as commercial properties often choose solid wood flooring. Furthermore, it is possible to sand and recoat a solid board more times compared to its engineered alternative. Sanding is a process that removes a 1mm layer of worn wood to expose new wood. It is a far more affordable manner to rejuvenate wood flooring vs. replacing the floor and properties that have solid wood flooring can repeat the process many times over.
Areas That Experience Wet and Damp Conditions – In each property there are areas that have conditions that will damage natural wood. Areas such as the kitchen, basement, certain extensions and the bathroom often include humid conditions that will damage natural wood. An engineered board with a suitable waterproof coating of UV Lacquered is unsusceptible to damage from humid conditions provided the coating is well maintained.
All Other Areas – If under floor heating is not present and you are not fitting wood flooring in areas that experience humid conditions, either type will suit well.
Finish Of The Board
Wood flooring boards are available in different finish to match as many interiors as possible. Finish is applied before the wood reaches the store at the factory. Common wood flooring finish include:
Lacquered Finish – This type of finish gives the wood floor an extra strong, protective coating and creates a smooth, gloss surface.
UV Lacquered Finish – This finish is a particularly popular option designed for rooms where there is a lot of sunshine, and the desired finish is matt. As well as areas that require water proof coating.
Oiled Finish – An oiled finish effect gives the floor an extra strong, natural look and a sound protective coating. Oiled finishes are particularly popular with people keen to retain a natural look.
Hand Distress / Vintage Finish – This finish gives a worn, uneven, irregular look to the floor, making it look like it has stood up to the test of time.
Thermo Treated, Brushed & Oiled Finish – The Thermo Treated technique allows the floor to reach a very dark color, almost black. Thermo Treated finishing is popular with those who are seeking a strong, dark colour floor within a competitive budget
Species Of Wood and The Environment
By now you know that both solid and engineered wood flooring contain natural wood only in different quantities. Whichever species of wood you choose, it is essential to ensure the origin of the wood to promote ethical sourcing and conservation of species. There are two means to ensure that wood products have been ethically sourced. Most sellers in the UK will hold a type of certificate called an FSC certificate (stands for ‘Forest Stewardship Council’), which means that their woods are sourced responsibly from managed forests. These are forests that replenish trees. Furthermore you can directly ask the seller as to the origin of the wood and many will often include a document online or in store explaining how they go about sourcing wood.
Enjoy your wood flooring. If you have any further questions, leave your comment below.