When you make the effort to install
wooden floorboards in your home, you create a beautiful ambience and style,
setting the scene for the rest of your decor.
Unlike carpet or tiles, wooden floors bring a certain character to your living
spaces due to the texture and feel of this naturally grown resource. Each wooden floorboard is unique, with its
knots and grains creating a stunning pattern when laid on the floor.
And because there is a huge number
of options available, you can select a timber floor that is just right for you:
for your taste, the expected level of traffic and the finish to meet your needs
and budget. But do not be daunted over
this choice as we are always available to help you make the right decision
based on your requirements.
If you own an older house
constructed prior to the war, chances are the floorboards were milled from
softwoods such as Oregon, Baltic, Kauri or other pines, which were commonly
used in those times. Some of these are
square-edged boards which were butted together, a popular ‘shot-edged’
method. Such old floorboards are more
likely to let in draughts and move over time.
In recent times, modern timber
floorboards have a tongue and groove shape to help resist the floor’s ability
to move (caused by changes in moisture levels) and also resist the letting in
of draughts. These can be laid on floor
joists or bearers, or on a concrete slab if the slab has ply sheets or battens
fastened. Solid timber wooden floors
have the advantage of being able to be sanded and refinished periodically to
restore their surface. They are the best
choice for natural-looking floors.
Floating timber floors are not
normally fastened or glued, but have leeway to move with the climatic changes
in humidity and temperature. They are cheap and simple to install, with no
sanding or finishing needed because this part is done during the manufacturing
process. And with the foam underlay, they are great for sound-proofing.
Floating timber floors are created out of a few layers of wood with a polished
wood veneer on top. They may be laid
over a concrete slab directly. If need
be, an acoustic underlay is available to counter the hollow sound of floating
Some of the most popular types of
manufactured flooring are laminates and bamboo.
Bamboo has a distinctive style which
makes a dramatic statement when used as flooring in your home, and its impact
on the environment is minimal. It can be purchased in packs of planks.
Laminates give you the look and feel
of genuine wood for a far lower cost. Laminates are made with a compressed core
of wood fibres which are covered by a printed wood-patterned layer along with a
protective surface layer.
Both bamboo and laminates are simple
to install and are great, hard-wearing options for your floor.
Parquet floors are made up of
patterned strips of wood which are glued over a flat solid floor, such as a
plywood substrate or on concrete slab. Parquetry can be purchased in patterned
tiles or panels, or otherwise laid out in patterns of individual wooden blocks
which are glued into place, sanded and then coated with a finish. Laying
parquetry requires specialist knowledge, so the floor layer must have relevant
Most newer houses in Australia have
hardwood flooring. The benefits of hardwood include resistance to pests,
resistance to scratches and dents, being hard wearing and long-lived, and the
sheer beauty and range of the grain patterns and colours available.
Recycled wood is an option for
wooden flooring, however it is hard to source sufficient quantities of timber
of a similar species and size to complete a whole area. New flooring which is milled in Australia
from local species is grown in sustainably-managed state forests or private
properties where compliance with strict harvesting processes must be met to
protect ecosystems, cultural heritage and water quality. For imported timber,
the sustainability aspect is not necessarily so well controlled.
Finally, once you have chosen a
timber floor, you will need to decide upon the finish you would like us to
use. The two main types of finish are
polyurethane and water-based finishes.
Let us look at the pros and cons of both.
Especially when a floor is heavily
worn, or if you anticipate particularly heavy traffic for your floor, we are
likely to recommend using a polyurethane finish as it produces the most
durable, hardest finish available for wooden floors. Given that it produces toxic off-gasses while
it is applied and during the drying process, it is necessary for us to use
breathing apparatus, and for the finish to be left to dry over about two
days. In the meantime, it is necessary
that, due to the health hazard produced by the drying polyurethane, that the
space is totally vacated. It means you
may need to arrange temporary accommodation elsewhere, even if only a small part
of your home is being treated, given the temporary health risk. Thereafter, furniture can be brought back in
and the space can be used as normal.
Strangely enough, polyurethane
attracts ants, so we recommend having a pest treatment done prior to the floor
sanding so that ants do not crawl over the newly finished floor, thus spoiling
the outcome. This step and the
accompanying expense needs to be taken into account too.
Using a water-based finish is a more
cost-effective option, particularly if the wooden floor is in good condition or
is subject to minimal traffic or light use.
It also requires less ‘down time’ than when using a polyurethane finish
as it does not emit the toxic fumes of polyurethane while it is drying. Normally, once applied, water-based finishes
can be lightly walked upon (that is, with socks) within just a few hours.
Whatever choices you are considering
in terms of timber flooring or timber floor finishes, you can contact us at 5
Star Flooring to discuss these further and obtain an accurate quote particular
to your domestic or commercial premises.