One of the biggest decisions in any renovation is the flooring. A considerable expense in a large area and the basis of the whole look and atmosphere of your home.
Laying wood throughout gives you the perfect neutral starting point from which you can go in any direction, whether you want your home to be traditional, to show off period features to their best or contemporary and edgy, wood will work for either.
Perceived as an expensive option, but one of my favourite sayings is ‘buy quality and you will only cry once.’ A beautiful wooden flooring will be an asset when you come to sell your home, no buyer wants to be faced with the prospect of having to rip out a whole load of cheap stuff.
It is warming in our relatively chilly climate, yet adding a stain can sharpen a look: you might want to go dark for an exotic interior for lime the wood snowy white for a pretty, lightening effect on your home.
Once you have decided on wood you then need to consider whether you want solid wood Flooring where each plank is made from whole hardwood, or engineered wood, where each plank is made from multi-layer construction of natural wood (on the top), supported underneath by layers of ply and MDF.
The use of natural and manmade materials gives the engineered plank a slight edge over the previous solid plank in certain areas. This was made clear to me by top quality flooring suppliers Wood & Beyond. Their MD, Jonathan explains that:
“The main difference between the two revolves around the limitations of natural wooden flooring. In wet conditions natural wood will contract and in hot conditions natural wood will expand. This makes solid wood (made from whole wood) unsuitable in certain areas, hence the reason why manufactures introduced the engineered plank.
Areas that experience high usage will benefit from solid wood flooring. Not only is it the stronger of the two, it can be sanded and recoated many times over. Sanding removes 1mm layer of ‘old wood’ to expose new wood below. It gives the floorboard a fresh look in little time with little expense.
However, in wet or humid Areas, the bathroom and kitchen areas for example, solid planks in these areas might contract. However, engineered wood flooring due to its base of ply and MDF won’t react in this manner and are therefore preferable.
Again, in warm Areas, for instance where you have under floor heating or even certain loft conversion structures in summer for example. Should you fit solid planks in these areas, the planks will rise and dislocate and the wood will contract again. However, engineered wood flooring is immune to temperature fluctuations so would work better.
Natural wood flooring planks are available in four differing ‘grades’ from a smooth uniform look to a n appearance much richer in character full of ‘imperfections’ such as sapwood, knots and discolouration.
‘Prime’ and ‘Select’ are the highest grades, which means that you should not be able to notice colour variations between the planks so the floor space in its entirety will display a uniform look.
‘Natural’ and ‘Rustic’ Grades have more knots and colour variations, sapwood content is high.
Natural wood flooring can come as unfinished wood floor or prefinished, which is often the case. The finish is a clear liquid, which is applied onto the floorboard to improve its durability and visual presence. Today’s options revolve around oil or lacquered based substance. In terms of visual presence, oil will often help retain the natural look of the plank, while lacquer can tern the plank slightly glossy. However, the main distinguish between the two revolves around the practicality and durability aspects.
Oil Finish – A modern day successor of ‘wax’ finish. The Oil is fine enough to penetrate into the heart of the wood. Provides surface and core protection to the floorboard.
Lacquer Finish – Thicker than Oil, the Lacquer liquid remains on the surface. End result is strong, smooth and slightly shiny look. It provides better water protection.
So, when considering a luxury flooring option such as natural wood, take the time to research your options and evaluate the most suitable type, grade and finish.”
My personal favourite is their ‘white’ oiled engineered oak… a choice that would really update a home in my opinion, it is just a little bit different…