How to choose a Wood Floor the beginners guide

Choosing a new wood floor can be a tough decision, not only is your new floor an important lifestyle choice it is also an investment so this decision shouldn’t be taken lightly. We understand that there are a multitude of options so we have put together a very brief step by step guide to helping make the choice a little easier.

Step 1: The choice between solid and engineered wood floors

The first decision to make is whether you need to buy or want to buy a solid or engineered wood floor.

Engineered wood floors are made up of pressed plywood or manufactured wood layers, which are then topped with a real wood veneer. This top "wear layer" is the part that's seen once installed. The invisible bottom layers make natural movement easier, which prevents buckling or warping when temperatures fluctuate or moisture is present.

It is a common misinterpretation that engineered wood floors do not have the same level of wear as a solid wood floor but this is not the case. The important factor here is the wear layer. Generally speaking the amount of real wood that can be re sanded is about the same on both as you cannot sand further than the tongue and groove so on a solid wood floor the bottom layer underneath the tongue and groove doesn’t get used.

Answer the following questions to find out whether you need to buy an engineered wood floor:

1.       Do you have underfloor heating?

2.       Is your new floor to be installed below ground level i.e. basement?

3.       Is your new floor to be installed into a sun room or conservatory?

4.       Have you ever had any damp, moisture or condensation problems in the room in which the new flooring will go?

5.       Do you want a board wider than 200mm?

6.       Is the intended room space greater than 9m at the longest point?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, we would recommend that you buy engineered wood flooring

If the answer is no to any of these questions, you can choose either engineered or solid wood flooring

Step 2: Consider the type of flooring

This choice will be dependent upon the look that you are wanting to achieve but the basic choice will be one of the following:

1.       Plank flooring in 1 strip, 2 strip or 3 strip options

2.       Parquet or block flooring

3.       Mosaic or panelled flooring

Step 3: Consider wear layer

Wear layers start from 2mm thick and go up to 6mm thick. The thicker the wear layer the more expensive the product but the longer the products life span. Each re sand will take approximately 1mm from the top of the surface. For example a 6mm product would take approx.. 5 – 6 resands before it would need replacing. Depending upon the level of usage of the floor you should aim to resand your new floor every 6 – 10 years.

Step 4: Consider the grade

We all know that wood is a natural product and variations is colour, grain and consistency are almost guaranteed from board to board but you can choose to limit the variation by choosing the right grade for you:

On the scale you will find greater knots and character in a rustic board than in a prime grade. The higher the grade the purer the timber.

Extra Rustic / Natural Grade

You will find more colour flashes, larger knots, character marks and burrs, some filling and wilder grain allowed.. A rustic floor has plenty of character and interest and more colour variation than other grades.

Rustic A Grade

A middle grading with some colour variation, some knotting, surface checks, burrs and other character figuring.

Prime Grade

This is the highest grade available and the most expensive. The timbers are carefully selected to be more even in patina and colour and contain very limited knotting.

Step 4 Consider Width

When choosing a plank floor you will need to consider the width and this will almost certainly be down to the look that you are going for. Generally speaking the wider the board the more expensive the product. Products range from 70mm through to 500mm wide, with the most popular width being around 180mm wide. When considering width, anything wider than 200mm should be of the engineered variety as this provides greater stability to the floor.

Step 4 The fun part - Consider species, colour and finish!

Choose from walnut, oak, iroko, merbau, pine, smoked, fumed, coloured and stained, oiled, lacquered, brushed, hand scraped, hand sawn, micro-bevelled, square shouldered…..the list is endless!