Wood Floor Options – information from the experts
Residential and commercial property owners often consider replacing an old flooring solution during renovation work and many options are on the table from laminate tiles to carpets. Of these numerous options, natural wood is often associated with a sense of luxury and desirability so it makes for a sensible choice in certain projects.
In this guide we’ll explain what you should look for in order to secure a long service life from natural wood and talk about circumstances when wood is ill-advised as the material for the floor.
Wood Flooring and UK Noise Regulations
Under The Building Regulations Approved Document E of 2003 (and other updates that followed) you have an obligation to your neighbours in terms of minimising noise. This becomes particularly important in flats and apartment buildings where you are very likely to have downstairs neighbours. The solution is to fit a suitable underlay with acoustic properties. A suitable one can reduce noise by as much as 20dB and should therefore be added to your budget. Each underlay will include two features in its description. These are, walking noise reduction (in percentage) and impact noise insulation in dB (Decibel). The thickness of the underlay and the materials of which it is made from will make the underlay better or worse in terms of insulation. Additionally, the underlay will make the floor softer to walk on so don’t overlook it even if you don’t have to.
Types Of Wood Flooring
There are two types of wood flooring that you should closely consider. The first is a type of wood floor made entirely of wood, while an alternative is made from wood and artificial materials. Each is better suited in different circumstances.
Solid Wood Flooring – Of the two types, solid wood flooring is the stronger alternative due to its complete natural construction. Each floorboard is made from 100% hardwood such as Oak, Pine, Walnut and other common species. You will be able to sand the floorboards many times during their service life thereby making the floor look freshly fitted each time, although in truth, you have ‘merely’ sanded away a 1mm layer of old wood. Regrettably, solid wood flooring is unsuitable to fit over under floor heating and in areas that might include humid and wet conditions such as the bathroom area.
Engineered Wood Flooring – Each board is made from an external layer of real wood supported by three to four layers of MDF, Plywood and Softwood. As a property owner this varied construction allows you to safely fit wood flooring of the engineered kind across the entire property even over under floor heating. Furthermore, often the cost of engineered flooring is more affordable compared to the solid option and fitting is quicker using a floating installation technique. However, service life does not equal to that of solid wood flooring and while sanding and thereafter staining is possible it will depend on the thickness of the top wood layer.
Fitting Wood Flooring
There are several ways to fit wood flooring. The method of choice will vary based on the type of floorboard.
Nail and Glue Down – This method uses industrial level glue or nails to secure the floorboards in place. It can be used in the case of engineered wood flooring, but must be used in the case of solid wood flooring due to the weight of the boards. The use of complete wood makes the solid floorboards three times heavier than their engineered alternative.
Floating – This methods is the easiest and only suitable in the case of engineered wood flooring. It uses the weight of each floorboard to hold the next one in place. Solid floorboards are simply too heavy for this method and should not be floated.
Final Word For Property Owners
Fitting wood flooring can help make your property more appealing should you decide to sell one day and certainly for now, it will make your interior feel more homely and luxurious. When possible, consider fitting solid wood flooring due to its longer service life and the all-important option to sand the floors when required. If you are under a tight budget constrain, engineered wood flooring are often more affordable both in terms of material and fitting costs.
If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below or get in touch with Slemish Design Studio to discuss your project’s requirements.
Information by Jonathan Sapir. Jonathan is the MD of WoodandBeyond, a UK based hardwood supplier.