An excellent guide which will enable you to have stylish and sleek wooden floors in your home
Wooden flooring or timber flooring, is a great, fancy and excellent type of flooring which can easily set the tone in any style of home. Wooden flooring looks classy, natural and warm in a country cottage. It can add texture in a contemporary setting. Some good replacements to real wood, which are being used in modern homes, are laminate and vinyl flooring, which come in a variety of different textures and colours and create an excellent look and feel to the home. Wooden flooring has undergone many technological advancements and is still undergoing changes. There are recent versions of wooden flooring available in the market which have long lasting and tough finishes; they are resistant to wear and tear and can be easily installed in the home. The modern types of wooden flooring can be installed over any type of subfloor; be it concrete, old tiles, floorboards or a boarded surface. There is another type of flooring, which is known as reclaimed timber flooring, is particularly difficult to install as it does not come in neatly cut sizes. Also, you cannot judge it at the beginning about how would the flooring look like after it is finished. You can discuss with some experienced person or professional or even your supplier regarding which finish to buy and once you have decided on the finish, buy sufficient amount of boards, so that you can easily complete the project. If you fall short of materials during the project, you will find it very difficult to find the boards in similar design and color elsewhere.
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TYPES OF TIMBER FLOORING
Made from the named timbers, planks are solid all the way through. Some types are suitable for installation as the structural floor, without needing a sub-floor underneath.
This can be bought as bundles of planks, boards or panels from reclamation and salvage yards, or as whole floors from timber-flooring specialists. Prior to installation, reclaimed timber flooring can look very uninspiring. However, once it’s laid, it can look incredible.
Multi-layered or engineered wood
This consists of a plywood or veneered base, built up with several layers of criss-crossed hard or softwood boards, and topped with a layer of the named timber. The construction of this flooring gives it strength and stability, so it’s a good alternative to solid-wood flooring.
Made by producing an image of wood on a layer of plastic, which is laminated to a board backing. Top-quality versions have convincing textured finishes, and are hardwearing and tough. Inexpensive DIY store versions may look flat and lifeless, and the “wood” finish may flake or chip at the edges of the boards.
Vinyl flooring is widely available in timber patterns. Luxury sheet vinyl can be a good choice in the kitchen or bathroom, and is considerably cheaper than solid wood. Vinyl plank or block flooring feels harder underfoot, but, as each floor is individually designed, it always needs to be professionally laid.
- Timber flooring can be noisy, especially in upstairs rooms; use rugs to deaden the sound of footsteps in busy areas and always use the insulation suggested by the installers.
- Reclaimed timber flooring is usually well-worn and is tough enough for most living areas, although you should avoid bathrooms and kitchens
- Solid or engineered wood flooring is suitable for living rooms, dining rooms, halls and bedrooms.
- Laminates are suitable for living areas and bedrooms, but avoid rooms with water, as seepage between the joins can cause planks to swell or discolour.
- Vinyl look-alikes are good choices for bathrooms and kitchens, conservatories and utility rooms, as well as for main living areas.
LONGEVITY AND UPKEEP
Solid-hardwood flooring is incredibly hard-wearing, and will last for many years. It can be sanded down and resurfaced every five to seven years. Engineered flooring will normally withstand one or two sandings, but no more than that. Real wood flooring will age gracefully, and the signs of wear and tear are an acceptable feature – just as timber furniture ages and picks up the occasional dent or mark, so will timber flooring. Laminate flooring cannot be sanded when chipped, damaged or scratched, although the best quality ones are very hardwearing and scratch resistant in the first place.
Save timber floors from getting scratched by grit, dust and dirt by regularly sweeping with a soft brush or vacuuming them. Also mop the floor once a week or so with a well-wrung mop. A detergent can be added to the water, depending on whether the floor has a hard (varnished or lacquered) or soft (waxed or oiled) finish. Hard finishes provide a protective barrier for the wood, and offer a high level of protection, but are more difficult to repair if damaged.
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