A Guide For Buying Wood Flooring

October 13th 2017

Written by Chris Shelper

Choosing and buying wood flooring for your home can be quite confusing once you start exploring your options. With lots of different wood flooring products to choose from it can be difficult to know where to start.

Wood floors can transform your home creating a sleek and stylish interior in modern homes, a warm, cosy, rustic feel in a cottage, or a timeless, elegant statement in a period property. What do you want to achieve?

Here we will guide you through the options and help you choose and buy the perfect wood floor for your home.

Types of Wood Flooring

You’ve probably come across a few phrases when searching for wood floors online. Understanding what these are and the different types of wood flooring will help you narrow your search down to specific types of wooden floors. After that it will be a choice between different timbers and finishes, and then you can get creative with your interior design ideas!

There are three types of wood flooring on the market:

1. Solid wood floors

2. Engineered wood floors

3. Reclaimed timber floors

Alternatively if you want a wood ‘effect’ floor, you could explore laminate or vinyl options. However, we know that most people want the real thing, so the type of wood flooring they choose will depend on their budget, what it looks like and where it will be installed.

1. Solid Wood Flooring

As it sounds this type of flooring is solid wood, through and through. Pricing will depend on the type of timber, for example oak, teak, pine etc. and any finish that’s been applied. Solid wood oak flooring is a popular affordable choice today, and comes in a range of finishes including oiled, burnt and brushed – as well as unfinished.

2. Engineered Wood Flooring

Again this flooring product is made of real wood but instead of being a solid piece of timber it consists of layers of hard and softwoods to create a really strong and stable wood floor. The top layer will be in the wood of your choice, such as oak, walnut, maple, beech etc., and again finished in a variety of ways. Engineered wood flooring typically comes oiled or lacquered, but can also have exciting finishes such as ‘handscrapped’, smoked or limed.

3. Reclaimed wood flooring

Planks and boards can be bought from salvage and restoration yards if you want to recycle existing wood and create a unique look and feel to your room. However, it can be difficult to track down and it may require a lot of TLC to create the effect you want; but it can look fantastic. If finding reclaimed timber is proving difficult, both engineered and solid wood flooring can provide a solution. Unfinished solid wood flooring can be treated to appear aged, and many engineered wood floors are finished to give them character or a rustic feel.

Wood Flooring Grades, Widths and Thickness

You may have heard people discussing what ‘grade’ of wood flooring they want, and what width and thickness. The grade is how the wood appears, how smooth it is, how uniform and how knot-free. A premium grade wood will be exceptionally smooth and uniform, the colour is consistent and any knots that are present will be unobtrusive.

Whereas a natural or rustic grade of wood will have more ‘blemishes’ and variation across each plank, but this can often be its’ USP. If you’re looking for a wood floor with character, perhaps a vintage feel, this is the grade of flooring you’ll require.

Wood floors also come in a variety of different plank widths and thicknesses. What width of plank you choose will depend on the effect you want to create, and there are no hard and fast rules! While many people think that if you have a small room you need narrow planks, and big room needs wider planks, you can make a real statement by bucking this trend.

The thickness of each plank dictates how it can be laid. Thick planks (around 20mm) can be laid directly over joists and therefore no sub floor is needed. Whereas thinner planks (under 15mm thick) should be laid on a sub floor or screed.

Wear and Tear

Wood floors are generally hardwearing and easy to care for. How hardwearing they are will depend on the type of wood chosen, with softer timbers naturally being less hardwearing than hardwoods.

Engineered wood floors have a ‘wear layer’, this is the top layer of wood (the one you will see) and the measurement given indicates how thick this is. Over time this layer will be worn down, and therefore in high traffic areas you will want a wear layer of approximately 5mm, and in less used rooms in your home a lower wear layer is fine.

However you don’t have to limit your choice of wood floor by only selected those with a high wear layer. Rugs, doormats and hallway runners can all reduce wear and tear in areas that get a lot of use, and keep your floor looking fabulous.

Trends in Wood Flooring

With such a wide variety of different types of timber and finishes available, you can find exactly the right type of wood floor for your home. Many homeowners are looking for flooring that won’t go out of fashion, but still makes a big impact. Natural wood flooring provides the perfect backdrop for the rest of your home, and can be updated by re-sanding, oiling or applying other finishes.

However, if you want a really contemporary wood floor, these are the trends we’re seeing in flooring today:

Statement floors – defining different areas of your home with flooring is a big trend at the moment. This works particularly well in open plan rooms where wood floors can be used creatively to demarcate how a space is used. You could achieve this effect by combining different types of wood, using complimenting timbers, or by laying the same floor in apposing directions to define the space.

Dark wood floors – lighter blonde and honey toned wood floors are still popular, but homeowners are also embracing their darker side! We’re seeing darker wood floors in greys and earthy tones used effectively to offset bolder colours in the rest of the house.

Brushed finishes – adding texture is another trend we’re seeing in wood flooring with wirebrushed finishes proving very popular. This process creates a textured finish, an open grain, and a rougher appearance. It makes the floor more tactile and authentic looking, and reflects the trend for adding contrasting textures to interior room design.

If this wood flooring guide has got you excited about the possibilities for your home, the next step is to see different products for yourself. The best way to do this is to visit our showroom and get hands on with our wood floors! Alternatively, please call us on 01865 367 888 or email sales@everythingwood.org.uk