Wood Flooring Considerations

A wood floor can transform your home, giving it a look and feel of sophistication, elegance and warmth. As well as being easy on the eye, wood flooring is also practical, hardwearing and easy to clean, making it a great choice for families and animals lovers. A good quality wood floor is quite expensive, but you should choose to look at it as an investment. 

According to property website realtor.com, fitting hardwood flooring can add up to 2.5% to the sale price of your home, so you will see a great return on your initial outlay should you choose to sell. So, what do you need to consider before going ahead and committing to a wood floor?

What are the benefits of wood flooring?

Apart from looking good and feeling welcoming, the main benefit of wood flooring is its strength and durability. Due to wood being a natural product, it retains warmth better than other floor coverings such as laminate, tile and stone, meaning that it is much more comfortable underfoot, especially during the winter months. 

With proper care, wood floors also last for a long time and the solid wood variety can be sanded back to looking as good as new if they become scratched or damaged.

What is the difference between solid wood and engineered wood flooring?

Engineered wood flooring is made up of multiple layers of wood, usually plywood, with one solid wood layer on top, which is called the wear layer. The wear layer is your chosen species of wood, such as walnut or oak, which gives your floor its particular look. 

The best quality engineered wood floors have nine layers of ply with a 7mm thick wear layer, but there are cheaper alternatives with either a five-ply or three-ply construction and a wear layer of 1-3mm. Engineered wood is more stable than solid wood and is able to cope with fluctuations in temperature and humidity without distorting, gaping or lifting. This makes it the best choice for areas of the house that may become warm and damp such as the kitchen and bathroom.

Solid wood floorboards are made, as the name suggests, one from a solid piece of wood from top to bottom. It has a timeless look and luxurious feel and is very hard-wearing: good quality solid wood floors can last for decades, whereas other floor coverings such as carpet and lino quickly become shabby or stained and need replacing on a relatively regular basis. 

With minimal maintenance, a solid wood floor will actually look better through time and wear, making the initial outlay a sensible financial decision. Because they’re entirely made of natural wood, which is sensitive to the environment around it, solid wood floors should be fitted in a room of your house that is stable in terms of moisture and humidity. They are ideal for rooms that maintain an even temperature, such as bedrooms, halls, stairs and dining rooms, rather than bathrooms, kitchens, conservatories and basements.

Do solid floorboards last longer than engineered ones?

The durability of a floor is determined by the type of timber you choose and what type of finish it has, rather than whether you decide on solid or engineered boards. Timber such as oak is much harder than something like pine and therefore will last longer. This has nothing to do with whether the board is solid or engineered, as the wear layer of the board would be the same and therefore be equally as hardwearing. 

The finish of the board will also determine how long it lasts, and crucial to this is how easy it is for you to maintain that finish once they have been fitted. For example, replenishing damage on a lacquered floor is very difficult to do yourself at home, whereas pre-treated oiled boards require little maintenance and when they do, you can purchase oil that is easily applied on site. 

As long as you make the right choices when buying your floor and go for the highest quality, both engineered boards and solid boards will last a very long time. 

How will a wood floor fit with the design of your home?

The answer is: easily. There are so many varieties of solid wood flooring that you will be able to choose a look and feel that fits beautifully into the type and design of your home, whether you live in a modern, new-build apartment or venerable country cottage. Because there is such a wide variety of wood species and finishes, you will be able to find a floor that suits the character of your home and improves its look. 

There are also practical points to take into consideration, for example, are you fitting the floor into a room that has lots of light or one that is usually quite dark? Fitting a darker wood floor in a light space offers welcome contrast, whilst a lighter floor can help to lift a usually dim room. 

Think carefully and order some samples to play around with before you commit to having the floor laid.

Can I expect my wood floor to have colour variations?

Yes, you should expect some variation in colour with both engineered wood flooring and solid wood flooring. Wood is a natural product and therefore will have variations in terms of hue, as well as grain, knots and growth rings. 

Natural wood offers a uniqueness that can’t be found in other types of flooring, as no two boards will ever be the same and your floor will have a special character all of its own. It’s important to bear this in mind when you order a sample, because, whilst it will give you a very good idea of what your finished floor will look like, it won’t be an exact match for every board on your finished floor. 

If you would like to bring more uniformity to your floor you could choose to stain it all once it has been laid.

How do I measure my room correctly?

Figuring out how much flooring you need to buy is relatively easy, but it pays to measure very carefully.

  • Step 1. Use a tape measure to determine the floor’s length and width then multiply the length by the width to get the square footage. For example, if the room is 10ft long and 8ft wide, you will need enough flooring for 80 square feet (10 x 8=80).
     

  • Step 2. Add 10% to the total square footage to allow for wastage, to take into account how the boards will be staggered when they are laid, plus some leftover for wastage and cutting errors. In our example, the total amount of flooring to order would be 88 square feet.
     

A wood floor is an excellent investment that can breathe new life into your home immediately, as well as storing up value should you decide to sell your home later. If you take into consideration the type of wood that is most suitable for each room, how it will change the space when laid, and what style and finish offer the most wear and durability, you can fit floors throughout your home that will last a very long time and always look beautiful.

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