Selecting and purchasing real wood flooring for your home or premises can be quite overwhelming once you begin exploring your options, the possibilities seem endless. It can understandably be difficult to know where to begin, because there are a multiplicity of wood flooring products to choose from.
By installing wood floors you can transform a space from creating a sleek and stylish interior in modern homes, a warm, cosy, rustic feel in a cottage, to a timeless, elegant statement in a period property. It all depends on what do you want to achieve.
We thought we would write this handy guide to help you navigate through the options available and inform you of the choices you have available to consider when buying the perfect wood floor for your home or premises.
Types of Wood Flooring
You’ve probably come across a few phrases when searching for wood floors online. Understanding these and the various types of different wood flooring that are available will help you to achieve more specific results from your search . After that it will be a choice between different timbers and finishes, and then you can get creative with your interior design ideas!
There are three types of wood flooring on the market:
If budget is a major consideration a less expensive alternative to consider might be a wood ‘effect’ floor, so you could explore laminate or vinyl options. We know, in an ideal world, that most people want the real thing, so the type of wood flooring you will ultimately choose will depend on budget, what it looks like and where it will be installed.
Solid Wood Flooring:
Solid wood flooring is exactly as it sounds – solid wood, through and through. The cost of this product will depend on the type of timber you select, for example oak, teak, pine etc. and also depend on any finish that’s been applied. Solid wood oak flooring is a popular affordable choice, and it also comes in a range of finishes including oiled, burnt and brushed – as well as unfinished.
Engineered Wood Flooring:
Engineered wood flooring differs from solid wood because although it is made of real wood, it is not crafted out of a solid piece of timber. This type of flooring board consists of layers of hard and softwoods to create a really strong and stable wood floor. The very top layer will be in the wood of your choice, such as oak, walnut, maple, beech etc., and again it is finished in a variety of ways. Engineered wood flooring is usually finished by being oiled or lacquered, but it can also have more unique finishes such as ‘handscraped’, smoked or limed.
Reclaimed wood flooring:
Reclaimed wood can have an amazingly attractive aged look, you can find it in salvage and reclamation yards. Finding the right quantity of wood can sometimes be a problem though and sourcing materials is not always easy. Sometimes the wood you do find needs a lot of restoration work and TLC. Luckily enough you can get the same effect with both engineered and solid wood flooring and these products may well be able to offer you a suitable solution. Unfinished solid wood flooring can be treated to appear aged, and many engineered wood floors are finished to give them character or a rustic feel.
Solid wood flooring can be left unfinished and then treated to give it the appearance of being aged. Whereas engineered wood floors can have a finish applied to them to radiate character or create a rustic feel.
Wood Flooring Grades, Widths and Thickness
Grades, widths and thickness of wood can be wide and varied. You may have been asked what ‘grade’ of wood flooring you want, and what width and thickness would you like? This is not as confusing as it sounds The grade is how the wood appears, how smooth it is, how uniform and how knot-free. A premium grade wood will be exceptionally smooth and uniform, the colour is consistent and any knots that are present will be unobtrusive.
Natural or rustic grades of wood will have more ‘blemishes’, character and variations across each plank, this can often be something that makes it truly unique and original. If you’re looking for a wood floor with character, perhaps a vintage feel, this is the grade of flooring you’ll require.
As for the thickness and width, wood flooring planks come in a variety of different widths and thicknesses. What width of plank you choose will depend on the effect you want to create. There are different tricks you can play with the eye by laying narrow planks in a small room and wide planks in a big room, there is certainly no need to follow this trend at all by any means and you can make a real statement by bucking this trend.
An interesting fact is the thickness of each plank dictates how it can be laid. Thick planks (around 20mm) can be laid directly over joists and therefore no subfloor is needed. Whereas thinner planks (under 15mm thick) should be laid on a sub floor or screed.
Wear and Tear
Solid wooden floors will last you for many years and are very easy to maintain and care for. The only this to consider is that soft wood floors such as larch or pine will be more vulnerable to wear and tear over the years, whereas Oak and other hardwoods will be more hardy to heavier footfall and daily use. So when you are considering the area you will be fitting with your wood flooring, think about the suitability of the plank you have in mind. For less trodden areas soft wood will last just as long as hard wood, if it is a busy thoroughfare then hardwood is definitely your first choice.
If you opt for an engineered wood floor remember the top layer is the only one that has the finish you wanted. The top layer must have the right wear and tear factor, the measurement given on these planks indicates how thick it is. Over time this layer will be worn down, and therefore in high traffic areas you will want a wear layer of approximately 5mm, and in less used rooms in your home a lower wear layer is fine.
You don’t have to limit your choice of wood floor by only selected those with a high wear layer. Rugs, doormats and hallway runners can all reduce wear and tear in areas that get a lot of use, and keep your floor looking fabulous for longer.
Trends in Wood Flooring
There is such a wide variety of beautifully different types of timber and finishes available. With all these choices you are bound to find exactly the right type of wood floor to create the right type of feel for your home. Many homeowners search for timeless styles of flooring that won’t go out of fashion, but still make a big impact on the room they are fitted in. Natural wood flooring is generally timeless and provides the perfect backdrop for the rest of your home. It can easily be updated by re-sanding, oiling or applying other finishes to change it’s look over the years if you feel you need to refresh the look at any point.
However, if you want a really modern wood floor that is all the latest rage at the moment, these are the trends we’re seeing in flooring purchasing habits lately:
Statement floors – defining different areas of your home with statement flooring is a big trend and highly fashionable at the moment. This works very well in open plan rooms where wood floors can be used creatively to demarcate how a space is used. You could attain this effect by combining different types of wood, using complimenting timbers, or by laying the same floor in opposing directions to define the space.
Dark wood floors – lighter shades of blonde and honey toned wood floors are still very popular, but we are also seeing homeowners embracing their darker side! Especially darker wood floors in greys and earthy tones which are used effectively to offset bolder colours in the rest of the house.
Brushed finishes – adding texture with a brushed finish is another popular trend we are seeing in wood flooring. Wire brushed finishes are proving very popular indeed. This process creates a textured finish, an open grain, and a rougher appearance. It makes the floor more tactile, rustic and authentic looking. It reflects the fashion for adding contrasting textures to interior room design.
If this informative guide has inspired you to rethink the design of your home, the next step is for you to have a look at some different types of wood flooring for yourself. One way to do this would be to visit our showroom and get up close and personal with our wood floors!
Why not give one of our experts a call on 01844 217075 and they will advise you on the best options for your needs.