Wooden Flooring Can Improve Your Home
If you’re thinking of having wooden flooring fitted in your home, what can you expect it to bring to the property? Well, in addition to boosting its value, solid or engineered wood flooring can add colour, warmth and texture to your rooms – things that your old, worn-out carpet just aren’t capable of.
You may have noticed that the majority of new-build houses have done away with carpets. Not only do they look outdated and become worn out quickly, they require a lot of maintenance. With time at a premium in today’s hectic lifestyles, fewer people are prepared to settle for a carpet when they can have something longer-lasting and more attractive: wood flooring.
Times change. Where once a carpet represented cosiness and safety, they have now come to resemble something altogether more dated, worn out and unattractive. The future of floors lies with wood, and all that’s left for you to do is choose from a solid or engineered variety.
So which should you opt for? It depends on the type of home you live in, which room you want the wooden flooring fitted, your own taste and how much you’re prepared to pay. For the all-natural look, you may wish to opt for some unadulterated solid wood flooring. This comes in a variety of types, from oak to walnut and beech to birch and just about everything in between.
Oak tends to be the most popular solid wood type, but if your floor is going to be fitted in a room likely to experience more than its fair share of wear and tear, you may wish to consider maple. Used in sports halls and gymnasiums across the UK, maple is noted for its ability to take a series of impacts while still retaining some ‘give’.
Ash and cherry are two further options. The former is clear, light and highly durable and is traditionally used in smaller rooms. This is thanks to its ability to create the illusion of space, something that is achieved by its lighter tones and straight grain. The latter, by contrast, is reddish, although these shades can change if exposed to sunlight for long periods of time.
All solid wood flooring has tongue and groove sides, which allows them to be linked together while looking as though they have been placed simply side by side. Over the course of its life, which typically lasts for 50 years or more, a solid wooden floor can be re-sanded and re-finished a number of times. What’s more, its natural look will never become outdated – unlike a carpet.
Because of the variety of solid wood types, you don’t have to worry about a lack of colour choice. Nobody wants anything garish, but depending on what type of wood you choose, you’ll be able to select from a superb range of colours and shades. It’s also worth bearing in mind that different types of the same tree have different shades. The Brazilian cherry tree, for example, has a darker, more intense red compared to the American variety.
It’s important to remember that solid woods expand and contract in different conditions. Floors tend to expand in warm, humid weather and contract in drier weather, which often renders them unsuitable for the bathroom, where conditions can be particularly variable during the mornings and evenings. This fluctuation in shape continues over the course of the floor’s life, and it is generally recommended that homeowners install humidity controls to ensure that their home’s levels are correct.
For this reason, it is often suggested that bamboo is ideal floor material in the bathroom, and fortunately, this is something that Timberland Flooring offers. While not really a wood at all – it’s a grass – bamboo does not expand and contract in different humidity levels, while it is harder than certain types of hardwoods. What’s more, bamboo is sustainable – it takes between three and five years to mature, unlike the 20 to 120 years it takes some hardwoods to reach the same stage.
Solid wood and bamboo are not the only options, however. If you want something a little cheaper and more stable then you may prefer engineered wooden flooring. This type of floor consists of three to ten separate layers of plywood which are oriented in different directions to boost strength. These different layers are glued together under pressure, which means engineered wooden floors are less susceptible to fluctuations in humidity levels.
A further advantage is their ability to be fitted directly on top of a concrete floor, the same of which cannot be said of solid wood flooring. Engineered boards also tend to be available in larger sizes, which can be useful if you want a floor fitted for a particularly large room.
Once you’ve decided on a floor type then congratulations, you’ve made the first step towards waving goodbye to your old carpet. Now all you need to do is decide on a finish. While you can leave wooden flooring unfinished – boards are sealed by the fitters after they’ve been installed – most homeowners opt for either a lacquered or oiled effect.
A lacquered wooden floor is the ultra-low maintenance option. Each board receives around five coats in either a satin or matt finish. All you need to do to keep your lacquered wooden flooring looking spic and span is the occasional sweep, safe in the knowledge that it’s able to take a pretty hefty number of scrapes, scratches and knocks.
If you’re after a more natural looking wooden floor than you may prefer the oiled finish, which gives your floor a classier, almost Parisian appeal. How is this achieved? Well, oil is applied to the wood and left to soak in, which leaves the attractive patterns of the grain perfectly visible. It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that oiled finishes probably aren’t best suited to the bathroom or kitchen, where more wear and tear is likely to occur.
Once you’ve found the type of wood for you and an appropriate finish, it will be time to say goodbye to that old carpet and give your home a new lease of life.