Fabulous Flooring – Hardwood

Fabulous Flooring – Hardwood

Creative flooring ideas seem to be bang on trend at the moment; most magazines highlight stunning pattern, design and innovation, from tiled hallways, staircase runners and gorgeous hardwood floors to funky bathroom floors and sleek kitchens.

Besides good looks, flooring should also serve several other purposes; maintaining temperature, absorbing sound and being as long lasting and durable as possible.  Do you have a pet, do you have children, is your house prone to moisture; do you want to make a statement or want to achieve a particular look?

We’re going to take the time to look at the different flooring options over the next couple of blogs, the right type of flooring for you is so important. If you have flooring you don’t like, it sometimes feels that no matter what you do to try to conceal it you can’t escape it.  If you love your floor it can be a daily pleasure to walk across it.

Hardwood floors are very often at the top of the renovation list.  No one can deny they look beautiful.  They serve as excellent noise and heat insulators and the vast array of choices, colours, grains, board width and natural beauty make browsing through the collections a hugely pleasurable task.  Classic Oak is probably the most popular because it can take such a wide variety of stains and can therefore be customized to you.  Those who want darker tones can choose Walnut. For a paler, blonder look there’s Maple or Birch and if you like colour variation Hickory is a good choice.

(Traditional Elm Floorboards)

The species and colour you choose may be decided depending on what other wood elements you have in the room from furniture to paneling.  You can then go on to choose how the wood is cut and the character of the wood; ‘clear’ (no knots) to ‘character grade’ (lots of large knots).  You can also choose the board width and design or installation pattern.  Always remember that the more complicated the more labour may be required to lay the floor,the more wastage there may be and the greater the cost.

Reclaimed wood is another possibility – wood flooring has an excellent second hand value.  Many flooring companies offer wood salvaged from barns, factories and other structures, which can have even more character with nail holes, cracks and saw-blade marks.  When choosing hardwood flooring remember it’s an investment in itself but in turn can add considerable value to your home.

(Reclaimed wood used as cladding)Julia Blunt Interiors

Most hardwood floors today have a finishing coat of clear polyurethane. Polyurethane essentially sits on top of the wood, protecting it from moisture, wear and staining.  A polyurethane finish is very durable, but once damaged or worn, it typically requires refinishing an entire board, if not the whole floor.

An alternative is an oil-based finish; the oil penetrates into the wood and tends to make it look a bit richer.   It doesn’t leave a film on top of the wood and therefore allows for relatively easy spot repairs. The downside to an oil finish is that it requires more regular maintenance, as the oil will dry out and need refreshing.Julia Blunt Interiors(Engineered wood light)

There is then the debate over solid wood or engineered wood. Solid wood is just what it says; a plank of your chosen wood, cut from a log.  An engineered wood floor is composed of a thinner layer of your chosen wood on top of a manufactured base of layered wood, like plywood.  Engineered wood has a number of benefits.  It’s built to be more dimensionally stable and therefore will expand and contract less, reducing the chance that the boards will warp or shrink over time.  Engineered flooring is especially good in basements, it is easily laid on concrete, and is stable over under-floor heating systems. However, hardwood will perform better over time in dry areas in main parts of houses.Julia Blunt Interiors(Engineered wood darker)

For an eco-friendly option there is the get-go Bamboo flooring.  This is hugely popular, extremely sustainable and great for people with allergies, it is easy to clean and can keep dust mites and other allergens away. As bamboo is a fast growing, self-regenerating grass, it is much more sustainable and environmentally friendly than more traditional hardwood flooring options. (Bamboo flooring)

For example, bamboo takes around five years to reach maturity, whereas a hardwood tree could take decades to grow until it is mature enough to be harvested. Bamboo can withstand constant pressure in high traffic areas and is less likely to incur scratches and dents. It also resists moisture so will not swell and warp; however it is a natural material so will not do well in extreme environments. You should always be careful to always choose from certified sources to ensure it’s reached the correct maturity so it doesn’t become soft over time, that it is sourced responsibly and has been treated with non-toxic chemicals.

(Laminate flooring)

To achieve the wood look but to save on cost, laminate flooring can be the way to go. It is essentially a piece of plastic with a photographic image of wood grain.  It is more durable, moisture resistant, easy to clean and can cope with wear and tear but if damaged it can be very difficult to repair, you will most likely have to rip up the entire floor and start again.  Hardwood can be sanded and refinished and go on to last for years.

The options appear to be endless but it really can be pleasurable to go through the process of choosing the perfect one for you and your home, we would be delighted to discuss the possibilities.