Need Help Choosing Wood Flooring?
If you’re looking to fit some wood flooring, you’ll see there are many options that can make the process very complicated.
The smart approach is to use an interior designer who can keep you on top of recent trends and options.
The process of choosing wood flooring is centered around three main decisions as follows….
1) Which type of wood flooring?
2) What grade of the wood?
3) What finish on the chosen wood?
1) Wood Flooring Types
Contrary to popular opinion, there are two (not just one) common types of wood flooring; traditional solid wood flooring and a newer option called engineered wood flooring.
Solid wood flooring is made from 100% natural wood, is extremely durable and is a popular choice where long service life is key. Each plank is made purely from natural hardwoods such as Pine, Walnut, Oak and even plants like Bamboo. Its strong points are extensive service life (which can exceed 100 years of service) and reinforcing the property’s structure. A drawback to bear in mind is that you cannot lay this flooring over under floor heating as the wood will naturally expand/warp over time.
Engineered wood flooring is made from a combination of solid wood and man-made materials & looks completely identical to solid wood when fitted. The top layer is made from natural hardwood with a thickness of 3-6mm and its core is made from MDF, Plywood and Softwood. This option is more affordable and therefore popular for those on a tight budget. Its strengths are durability in high humidity areas i.e. kitchens and bathrooms, as well as being suitable for laying over under floor heating. However, it does not carry the same life span as a solid wood floor.
2) Wood Flooring Grade
Both solid and engineered wood flooring contain hardwood in varying degrees of thickness & therefore grade, however it’s important not to mistake grade for quality. Grade serves as a visual aspect of the wood in terms of knots, sapwood and colour variations between boards. Higher grade = less knots & sapwood, plus floorboards in one pack will share the same colour variation, allowing for consistency throughout a floor area. The higher the grade, the more the floor will cost. There are four common grades:
Prime Grade/AB grade is the most exclusive and pricey option, it features very few knots and minimal colour variation between the boards.
Select Grade/ABC grade is another type of premium grade in which very few knots and sapwood are visible.
Natural Grade/ABCD grade or ‘mill run’ grade is a budget option & the boards will feature sapwood, knots and colour variations in terms of shades.
Rustic Grade/CD grade, also known as ‘country grade’ is the most popular option due to its cost. It features knots of up to 35mm in size and significant colour variations between the planks, giving it plenty of character in any room.
3) Wood Flooring Finish
Finish, or coating, is a translucent layer applied on the exterior of the floorboard to provide basic protection from wear and tear as well as achieve a certain look.
The choice of finish, (shiny/more natural), is down to personal preference. Options include Lacquer, Oil and UV Oiled. Recently, suppliers started using the finish layer to colour the floorboards in unusual colours so you are not limited to a few shades of wood. The introduction of these new colours means that wood flooring can match more interiors than ever before, as you can see in the below photos…
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Written by Wood and Beyond. UK based FSC certified vendor of solid wood flooring and engineered wood flooring. When sourcing wood, please ensure the woods are FSC certified to ensure ethically and responsible sourcing.
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