Timber Flooring Types
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Published by TOP4 Team
Timber and timber-look surfaces have a timeless, streamlined elegance that’s hard to beat.
As a natural material, timber has enormous appeal. It is warm and inviting to the touch and each type of timber has a different look and character. Which is why the first thing so many renovators do is rip up old carpet or linoleum to see what’s underneath - sound timber floorboards are like gold.
Walking on a timber floor feels good: the surface is warm and smooth underfoot. And maintenance is a breeze - regular sweeping and a going-over with a just-damp mop is all that’s required.
The great advantage of solid timber flooring is its durability. It can be re-sanded and given new life any number of times. Indeed, recycled timber is an eco-sensitive option that gives a deep patina with a rich sense of history.
Timber’s appeal lies in the fact that it’s a natural material, but its organic nature can present as shortcomings. No two pieces are the same. The colour changes, even within the same species, and will continue to change over its life. It’s also full of natural features such as knots and whorls.
A variation on solid timber flooring is parquetry, in which timber blocks are laid in a geometric pattern. It’s a specialist skill and an effect that times to achieve, which may explain its niche status.
Engineered-timber floorboards (or floating floors) feature a timber veneer over a stable multi-ply core. Installation is straightforward as the boards are pre-finished, so there’s less mess and the floor can be walked on right away. The boards are usually clicked into place and either glued directly onto a concrete substrate or laid on battens. This type of floor can be lightly sanded once or twice in its lifetime.
Bamboo flooring is made from the fibres of giant bamboo, a fast-growing and renewable resource. Like timber, it has a lovely look and feel, plus its own special advantages. What’s unique about bamboo is that the colour is consistent. Bamboo is typically available as pre-finished boards.
The latest generation of laminate flooring is remarkable for its resemblance to timber, but it’s actually a composite product featuring a printed layer over a high-density fibreboard core. People choose laminate because it’s easy to install it yourself, it’s affordable and there’s a greater choice of finishes. Laminate is also colourfast.