Guest Blog: Sourcing Wood Flooring

If you are thinking of renovating your interior, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to flooring solutions. Of the various options at your fingertips, perhaps the most demanding (in terms of research and time) is wood flooring. In this guide to sourcing these floorboards we will look at your options.

Wood flooring can suit a whole host of styles, especially nowadays when flooring manufacturers are able to colour the boards thereby achieving a whole palette of shades from while wood floorboards to dark wood floorboards. However, before jumping into choosing the shade of the floorboard, you need to evaluate how well wood will perform in your interior. This will be based on the type of wood flooring.

Types Of Wood Floors

There are two types of wood flooring that fall under the category of ‘real wood flooring’. One type is called solid floor, while an alternative type is called engineered floor. Each contains natural wood to some degree and looks precisely the same when fitted. The difference between the two lies in how well each performs in a certain interior.  

Solid Wood Floor – Each floorboard of the solid type is made from 100% natural wood. This construction results in a floorboard that is extremely rigid and durable with an average service life of 100 years.

Engineered Wood Floor – Each floorboard is made from natural wood as a top visible layer. Below this layer, you will find three to four layers of MDF, Plywood and Softwood resulting in a floorboard of varied construction. While service life of an engineered board does not equal that of solid wood, it is more versatile in terms of suitability around your property.

Wood Flooring By Room Type

The key to achieving the floor’s anticipated service life, is matching the type of room or area to one type of floorboard, either solid or engineered.

Properties With Under Floor Heating – Until just a few years ago under floor heating was far and few between and only a small number of properties featured it. When solid wood was first fitted over under floor heating it resulted in expansion of the wood due to the heat, which caused damage. As under floor heating increased in popularity, manufactures came with a varied construction, which we now know as engineered wood flooring. This type of wood flooring can be fitted over under floor heating without running the risk of damage.

Commercial Properties – Commercial areas by nature will experience usage far greater than residential homes. Therefore, durability and service life is often a major factor in choosing one type over the next. If under floor heating is not present, solid wood flooring is often the most sensible choice.

Areas High In Humidity – Wood and wet conditions do not pair well. Areas such as the kitchen, basement, bathroom and even certain extensions were previously off-limits to wood. However, nowadays it is possible to fit wood of the engineered kind in these areas provided the floorboard is covered in a suitable waterproof coating.

All Other Areas – When under floor heating, commercial usage and humid conditions do not play a part in your decision making, either solid or engineered will suit well.          

Wood Flooring Finish

Once the type has been determined, you can move on to the fun part of choosing colour and finish. Traditionally, each floorboard is covered in a layer of protection. This layer acts to seal the wood and serves to increase its service life. Common finish includes:

Lacquer - The most popular finish, lacquer requires basic care but has high tendency to scratch. Where most coating sinks into the wood, lacquer does not and therefore gets worn-out quicker. On a positive note, it makes the floorboard waterproof which is essential in the bathroom and kitchen areas.

Oil - Slightly less durable compared with the previous option, oil is easier to repair by simply by adding more oil and effectively keeping the surface in prestige condition.  

UV Oiled - Shares some of the benefits of regular oil finish, it comes in low glossy finish, which helps hide imperfections caused by extensive use.

Wood flooring colour was always determined by the species of wood. Your choice was limited to as small number of shades, typically around tones of brown. In recent years, manufactures have excelled by offering custom-made colours from dark red to sandy white. It is possible to source wood flooring in almost any colour now.

Leave your comment below if you have any questions.

Written for the Ardesia Design Blog by Wood and Beyond. UK vendor of solid wood (here) and engineered wood (here).