The Best Types of Timber Flooring for your Home
A wood floor is still pretty much the top choice for a residential floor finish in the UK. The beauty of using a wooden floor is the character and warmth it provides; it feels good underfoot and can also be used with underfloor heating depending on your sub-floor structure.
There are two types of wood flooring; the most commonly used is an engineered floor which is made up of a core of cross-laminated plywood for stability and strength at around 16mm in thickness with a real wood veneer wear layer at around 4mm in thickness. The sides of the planks are what we call tongue and grooved together and glued into place.
Oak is the most common of timbers to use, as well as walnut, ash, and beech wood. It can be heavily figured or patterned depending on how it is cut or sliced through the log when creating the thin veneer. The veneer is then stained, oiled, or varnished to achieve a certain look and colour. There are also many different price points and qualities to choose from depending on your budget.
Oiled finishes are popular at the moment as opposed to a varnish or polyurethane finish which are viewed as toxic and less 'natural' looking. Generally, the planks will be supplied pre-oiled and will maybe need to be re-applied after a year depending on use.
The alternative to an engineered floor is a solid wood plank floor which is milled from a single piece of timber, usually hardwood such as oak, ash, walnut or beech, among others. The thickness of the plank would be around 20mm. The downside of a solid wood floor is the cost - it's expensive. The stability of it, even though it will have been seasoned, will be prone to movement with heat and cold temperatures and may warp. Personally, I would never recommend a solid wood plank floor because of these reasons as there are many gorgeous engineered wood floor alternatives that can work in any sustainable residential interior application.
We generally work with a company called Trunk Floor The reasons we work with them are the quality and range of colours and finishes available. I have found them to be flexible and professional. The planks are finished by hand at their Northern Ireland factory which provides the distinct look of their product. Their price point is mid to high end but worth the investment.
Engineered wood floor is available in straight plank, herringbone, and chevron with more detailed patterns such as a basketweave. A straight plank is the most cost-effective option with the price rising accordingly for chevron and herringbone. We have recently used Trunk for a residential project using a wide plank at 240mm width in a character finish, meaning it has more knots and a Prime finish (fewer knots) in a chevron and wide straight plank.
I would not recommend using a wooden floor in a bathroom or kitchen because of the moisture and potential water spillage which may expand and open the joints between planks.
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