Aesthetics are important when you want to install a wooden floor however it is often best to make the look that you want only a part of the deciding factor in your choice of woods.
With hundreds of different types of wood to choose from, you may be tempted to go for the one that has you in awe at the thought of it having it installed in your home.
Before you do though, here are some really good pointers to ensure that your choice of wood lives up to your expectations:
The room you want to install a wooden floor in matters
- High traffic rooms
Your sitting room and hallway are going to be high traffic areas. They will need a thick wooden floor to cope with the wear and tear from this foot traffic.
Oak and maple are among popular choices for solid wood flooring in high traffic areas, because they are more durable than softwoods.
The kitchen is a room with high humidity. As all woods are hygroscopic, the kitchen needs a wood that is more durable. Strand woven bamboo has around 7% moisture content; however, there is also a variety of engineered woods with around 8% moisture content, making them more adaptable to the humidity changes in kitchens.
- Low traffic rooms
A guest room or conservatory or any other room that isn’t used regularly can benefit from softwoods.
Pine wood floors are one of the softest types of wood flooring, making them susceptible to surface scratches and damage.
The type of finish must be considered
Lacquer finishes come with two choices. Matt and gloss lacquer finished, with the matt finish being the more natural looking wood floor.
Varnish finishes are similar to lacquer, as they provide a protective barrier applied to the top layer of the wood.
Oils and waxes will penetrate the wood to protect it from within.
For high traffic areas that are likely to get scuff marks, or if there are heavy items of furniture, then a hardwood with an oil or wax finish would work best. For rooms that are not used regularly, such as a guest room then a lacquer finish on a natural pine floor, or other softwood, will let you get the most natural looking solid wood floor, which is easy to maintain.
Engineered or solid wood flooring
Since all wood is hygroscopic and will expand and contract with temperature changes, you need to account for that when deciding on the type of wood to use in your rooms. For rooms such as the kitchen or where underfloor heating is installed, engineered wood will provide up to 75% more stability than solid wood boards, meaning they are less likely to alter with climate changes.
It is important to note that when underfloor heating is being installed, the floor temperature can never exceed 27 degrees Celsius, including around radiators and other furnishings such as rugs.
The character of the wood
- Prime boards
Prime boards are the heartwood with fewer small knots in the wood, giving it a cleaner appearance.
- Select boards
A select grading is wood that has some small knots in the appearance, giving the boards a more natural element, with some colour variation adding to the natural look.
- Rustic boards
Rustic boards are full of knots, and are great for high traffic areas as they are more forgiving in terms of hiding scuffmarks. To give the wood even more character, you can also find distressed rustic woods, providing even more richness and characteristics to the wood.