Today, we are spoilt for choice, there are many products and variations within each product in the flooring market. Flooring choices range from authentic polished wooden floors (from sustainable forests only- of course), to manufactured wooden flooring, to laminate (looks like wood but….) to vinyl wood-look-a-likes. The choice for your home will depend on how you see the area being used, on-going maintenance and the aesthetics – look and feel.
I’m going to begin with the real thing – authentic wooden flooring. Solid wooden floors are exactly what their name says, pieces of solid wood that have been cut and planed into interlocking tongue and groove floorboards. They are usually part of the build of your house, the floor that is laid straight on top of the bearers and joists. They can also be installed on a slab flooring house by attaching batons to the concrete and then the floorboards.
Solid wooden floors need to be sanded and sealed before use, to bring them up to the expected standard of a modern day floor. If over time the lacquer becomes scratched or lack-lustre they can be resanded and re-sealed multiple times. Other types of wooden flooring can not be re-surfaced in this way.
Today, solid wooden floors are formed from hardwoods (less likely to dint, unlike pine flooring that was used up until recently). There is a good range of colour choices- Alpine Ash, Blackbutt, and Tasmanian Oak are blonde colored woods, Brushbox and Turpentine are brown and Jarrah is a red color. You also have choices in the grade of wood you select. Grade refers to the level of natural visible features in the wood. Generally there are three levels of Grades- select or classic is the sleekest, standard or natural has an average amount of knots and characteristics and rustic has a high level of knots, veins and burls.Different companies may call these by different names but the levels will all be similar. Obviously the grade of your timber flooring as well as the type of tree you have chosen will determine the look, finish and price of your flooring.
Solid timber flooring comes in long lengths and it is up to your builder or carpenter to be economical with the way your flooring is laid (timber laminate that is 1.5m long for every plank- will have much less wastage over a similar area.)
Sustainability is a question that is often asked. In Australia, timber can come from State Forests or private land, both are highly regulated to ensure that consideration is given to plant and animal ecosystems, water quality, cultural heritage concerns and overall sustainability. Some timber that is imported into Australia (about 10%) does not come from areas with sustainability overlays and have been logged illegally. There are some very good forestry practices overseas too, so do your research and check this out before purchasing imported timber flooring.
When considering cost alone, solid wooden floors are one of the most expensive choices, but they are probably the longest lasting and have been called the’Rolls Royce’ of timber flooring. When considering your choices visit a variety of Home Centres and have a chat to your Custom Builder who will be more than happy to share his experiences.Your Custom Builder will ensure that your solid timber floors are laid and finished by quality tradesmen and look fantastic.