What Type of Wood Flooring Should You Pick for Your Home?
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Published by TOP4 Team
Beautiful, easy to maintain, and infinitely adaptable, wood flooring provides a unique blend of sleek, uncluttered lines, and warm, natural tones that make it timeless. Less yielding underfoot than carpet, it offers a more inviting surface than stone or ceramic tiles. In all its forms, however, it tends to be noisy, vulnerable to moisture in any significant degree, and slippery when wet.
The most expensive and most durable wood flooring is made is from hard timbers such as oak, birch, maple, or one of the tropical hardwoods. While at the cheaper end of the market, soft wood of some kind is the main choice. Softwood is much more vulnerable to scratches, dents, warping, and general wear and tear.
There are three main kinds of timber flooring: solid, veneered, and laminate. Here’s a quick guide on which flooring would suit your home best:
• Solid timber flooring is available as conventional planks or boards (unfinished or pre-sealed) in a variety of widths; as strip flooring, block flooring or parquet. Solid wood floors are costly, but can be endlessly sanded and re-finished, and they not only last indefinitely, but often improve with age as well.
To maintain its finish, solid timber flooring needs to be polished every three to four years. Regular maintenance is also requires to keep termite attacks at bay. Solid timber flooring is typically used in hallways, receiving areas, dining rooms, and the bedroom.
• Veneer flooring consists of a top layer of hardwood or softwood that is bonded to a base material. Available as planks and blocks, it comes in a wide range of prices depending on the thickness of the veneer and the timber used.
While it is the best alternative to solid timber flooring, veneer flooring is not as durable. These can be installed virtually anywhere inside the home except for bathrooms.
• Laminate flooring is the cheapest of the three options. Because its surface is actually a photograph of wood grain printed onto a softwood base, then coated with tough vinyl or PVC. It is durable, however, it cannot be sanded or re-finished once damaged.
It is best used in high traffic areas such as hallways, dining areas, and living rooms.
• Another economical flooring option is hardboard or plywood. Available in large sheets or square tiles, it has a pale, smooth, regular surface that’s ready for painting, staining or varnishing. Medium density fibreboard (MDF) can be used in the same way, but its extreme porosity makes it more troublesome to finish.
• Solid timber flooring should always be fitted by an expert. Laminates and veneers that are suitable for DIY installation will be clearly labelled and will come with full instructions.
• Although wide planks usually have a higher unit cost than narrow ones or small blocks, they are easier (and therefore cheaper) to lay.
• Check out architectural salvage companies for reclaimed timber flooring, which offers instant character as well as environmental credibility.
• To remove surface grime, wipe your floor with a damp cloth or mop.
For more home improvement tips, check our Buyers’ Guide section.