Where It All Began
Hardwood flooring has been in our homes for years, if not centuries. In fact before we had the luxury of carpets, wood flooring was the only option and often lacked elegance. It wasn’t until the mid 1800’s when wood floors were mass-produced in factories, and during the early 1900’s when they became the most popular domestic flooring.
Fluctuating in popularity over the years, hardwood is in vogue once again, particularly with the rise of the vintage/shabby chic trend.
Wood Flooring Types:
Solid wood flooring is a 100% natural wood product; each board comes from just one piece of solid wood which is then cut down to the desired size. The style of the cut of wood can vary, but once the process is completed the wood is put into a kiln for drying and then finished – voila!
Pros: Adds value to your home / Lasts for decades / Easy to clean and maintain / Timeless appeal.
Cons: Solid wood floors can be quite expensive / Not pet-friendly / Can expand and contract with temperature and moisture fluctuations.
Suitable for: Hallway, lounge, dining room, and bedroom. Not suitable for: Kitchen and bathroom.
‘Engineered’ doesn’t mean that this type of wood isn’t real; it’s just that it’s composed of multiple layers of timber that are stuck together and then finished with a hardwood top layer.
Pros: Doesn’t contract or expand due to moisture or temperature changes / Looks just like solid wood, but cheaper / Suitable for under floor heating / Can be sanded and refinished / Available in a huge range of finishes and grades.
Cons: Prone to scratches / Requires more cleaning and care than the likes of laminate.
Suitable for: Hallway, lounge, dining room, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom.
Laminate flooring is another type of wood that is constructed using layers; primarily it is a compressed fibreboard plank that is then covered with a photographic image of the material of your choice, in this instance, wood.
Pros: Versatile / Easy to clean and maintain / Simple ‘click’ installation method / Hygienic – mould and bacteria resistant.
Cons: Can be noisy under foot / Hard under foot.
Suitable for: Living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms (waterproof dependent), conservatories and stairs.
Parquet flooring dates back to the 16th century and is often seen in places like school halls or grand houses, it is made up of small slats of wood (either engineered or solid) that are then arranged into distinct, repetitive patterns.
Pros: Easy to maintain – when using compatible cleaning fluids plus regular sweeping / Can last forever if maintained properly / Adds value to your home / Variety of patterns and styles available.
Cons: Easily scratched / Can fade or discolour when exposed to long periods of sunshine / Subject to damage from exposure to excessive moisture & humidity / Require frequent sanding and refinishing over time.
Types of Finishes:
Unfinished wood is exactly what it says on the tin – unfinished. In a nutshell, you are purchasing raw hardwood that once installed requires sanding and finishing.
Pre/Factory Finished – again, this is self-explanatory. Factory/Pre finished wood is flooring that has been finished during manufacture and just needs installing – simple!
Grades of wood flooring:
Prime Grade – This is the highest grade of wood flooring, often referred to as AB-high grade by manufacturers. Wood of this grade has very little/no knots. Knot which are present are tiny in size. There is little colour variation in the wood itself and it produces a uniformed look.
Select Grade – Also known as ‘Classic’ grade or ABC grade by manufacturers, this wood has a mixture of boards that are almost prime grade along with others that have a few more knots in.
Character/Natural Grade – This grade allows for a wider range of colour variation due to the fact that it includes different types of wood. Knots will be larger in this grade, as well as cracks across the growth ring and possibly some cracks between the rings.
Rustic Grade – Although it is lower down the grading ladder, rustic flooring is probably one of the most popular on the market at the moment. As the name suggests, rustic grade flooring has a larger range of colour variation and more knots which gives it a traditional, vintage appearance.
For more information on all types of wood flooring, call the experts at Luxury Floorings and Furnishings
Guest blog and images kindly provided by Megan Reece at Luxury Floorings and Furnishings, Leeds.