Wood Flooring for Dummies
Real wood floors are popular in both residential and commercial interiors. Homeowners and business proprietors are often perplexed when it comes to various options and considerations that a natural product like wood has. In this article we explain your options together with visual examples.
The ‘category’ of real wood flooring is made up of two types. One type is constructed from complete wood, while an alternative type is made from wood and manmade materials glued together. Both types cost the same, look the same when fitted and require the same level of care. However, in certain settings, one type may prove better suited.
Solid Wood Flooring – The solid type real wood flooring is made from 100% wood. The floorboard is particularly strong and can be sanded and recoated after years of wear and tear (stains, scratches, discolouration etc). The option to sand and recoat the floor when required makes it a prize flooring in commercial properties due to short downtime (as opposed to complete refit which takes longer).
Engineered Wood Flooring – The engineered type real wood flooring is made from a layer of solid wood (3mm to 6mm thick normally), on top for 4 to 5 layers of manmade materials such as MDF and Ply. The result is a floorboard that looks similar to the solid type, but has a slightly shorter lifespan. On the other hand, unlike the solid type, it can be fitted across the entire interior, even in wet areas suh as the kitchen and bathroom. The solid type will quickly damage from water in these areas, but not the engineered type.
Traditionally, natural wood comes in shades of honey, gold and brown. However, in certain interiors these colours might clash against other furnishings or fixings. Therefore, it is possible nowadays to obtain real wood flooring in muted or bold colours. Here are a few popular colour trends.
White Wood Flooring – White colour flooring have the potential to make small areas appear bigger and to counteract areas that get limited natural light. The whiteness of the floorboard is achieved using thinned out white paint in a process that is called ‘white washing’.
Dark Wood Flooring – Dark colour flooring are brilliant at hiding the footprints of dirt. In busy areas, even in commercial settings that experience higher footfall, the dark colour floorboard may prove more practical. There are a number of methods commonly used to make the naturally light floorboard dark, most popular of which are staining, fuming and thermo treating.
Grey Wood Flooring – Grey colour wood flooring is often seen as a less radical choice compared to white flooring, when light shade is called for. It suits monochrome settings as well as muted colour palettes, often used as the background to either contemporary or bohemian style more established furniture.
The last major consideration is the species of wood.
Walnut Flooring – In most cases, unless the colour has been altered, Walnut flooring will appear dark in colour, which looks smart in a room featuring white or light fixings.
Oak Flooring – By nature, oakwood colours range from light to dark brown depending on the sub-species (over 500). Oak flooring is considered good value for money, extremely hardwearing and available from managed habitats in North America and Europe.
Maple Flooring – The maple wood is extremely strong, which at times makes working with the material challenging. It comes in light to dark golden colours.
Other Hardwoods – You may also come across Teak, Iroko, Ash and Bamboo (technically softwood), however these tend to cost dearly and therefore less popular. Teak is traditionally dark with red tones, while Ash is almost white. Iroko and Bamboo carry the traditional medium light brown that most people associate with wood flooring.
We hope this helped. For further information and to discuss your interior design project, contact Design by Deborah.
Information by Jonathan Sapir, CEO of Wood and Beyond. They are ethical vendors of solid oak flooring, engineered oak and hardwood decking.