Hardwood flooring is by far the most popular style of flooring found in homes across Australia today, and it’s an investment you need to consider carefully.
Choosing the right type of flooring can have an impact on the styling and décor of your home.
With numerous options available, making the RIGHT CHOICE to your desire, it is a herculean task. Hence, we are here to guide you through the journey to make the best choice.
Pros and Cons of Hardwood Flooring
Hardwood flooring can change the entire design of a room. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of this sturdy type of flooring.
Hardwood Flooring Pros
- Solid hardwood flooring can increase the value of your home while bringing a whole new look to any room.
- It adds warmth & cosiness to a room
- If you choose a coloured finish, there are a variety of prefinished planks available from a light cream to ebony or even blue.
- You can refinish or sand solid hardwood planks and someforms of engineered flooring if the wear layer is thick enough. Solid Oak and Pine flooring has held up for hundreds of years whereas even the best stainproof carpet is unlikely to last more than a decade.
Do you have allergies? We assure you that a new hardwood floor can save you a lot of headaches. It’s easier to clean than most styles of flooring and can be easier to replace when needed. There are kits designed to fix dents and chips in hardwood, and you may be able to replace single planks depending on how the flooring is installed.
Hardwood Flooring Cons
If you own pets, hardwood floors can be an issue. Pets tend to scratch the floors, so you’ll want to pay close attention to the finish and colour.
Cost can be an issue although that depends on the style and species of flooring you choose. Overall, hardwood costs higher than other types of flooring but can be cheaper than carpeting or tile.
Moisture is probably the biggest problem with hardwood flooring as a flood can warp those boards quickly. Solid hardwood is generally not a great idea in a basement or even bathrooms. There are products rated for below-grade rooms; however, and engineered flooring products are often found in bathrooms.
Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Whenever you see a product labelled as engineered, think of the layers on a cake. The outer or top layer of an engineered plank has a thin “slice” of natural wood, and the middle is a core that’s usually plywood or MDF, a medium-density fibreboard. The bottom layer is also wood although there are a few variants on this combination. Most engineered flooring comes prefinished with several layers of coating.
Engineered planks are also more stable and less prone to expansion and contraction from humidity.
Solid Hardwood Flooring
Solid hardwood flooring is made from one piece of wood and built to last decades. It’s ideal for rooms that get a lot of foot traffic, but not a great choice for basements. It’s not as stable as engineered products in that regard, but you can sand it numerous times regardless of species or brand.
Are you going Green?
One of the bigger perks to hardwood flooring is the sustainability factor. Solid hardwood is a cleaner product in general than vinyl and other materials that often end up in landfills. As you can refinish it, you won’t have to replace it unless you decide to go for a completely different look.
When you’re installing something in your home, you want to ensure it doesn’t affect the air quality. IAQ is something you may run across, and it stands for Indoor Air Quality.
FloorScore certification is one thing you’ll want to look for when dealing with engineered hardwood flooring.
If you’re concerned about how your wood was harvested, the FSC is a great place to start.
Grades of Hardwood Flooring
When you’re looking for top quality wood, keep an eye out for a grading system as that can tell you a lot about the quality and character of the wood. The grading of solid hardwood flooring revolves around Australian Standard AS 2796 – Timber – Hardwood – Sawn and milled products.
Grading rules have two specific purposes.
The first is to address aspects of strength and serviceability when flooring is to be laid in structural applications such as over joists. The second aspect is to determine the character (overall appearance) present in a floor through the sorting of boards depending on the features present.
Hardwood Flooring Finishes
While grades are critical, a thick coating of finish can make a huge difference with your flooring. Before you can begin to think about stains or top coats, you have to consider if you want to pick up your boards unfinished or prefinished from the factory.
When choosing prefinished flooring from a hardware or flooring store, your colour palette is somewhat limited, but as its “ready to go” you don’t have to wait for anything to dry. You also won’t have to move out for a few days while the odour dies down although you can’t fix any scratches or dings from the installation process as the boards are already sealed.
As for the finishes, Aluminium Oxide is one of the best options if durability is a concern and you’re buying engineered flooring. This coating is often guaranteed for 25 years or more and holds up better than polyurethane-based finishes when it comes to general wear and tear. Polyurethane finishes are softer and easier to touch up or redo, but not something typically found on engineered flooring. It’s also better suited for DIY installations as aluminium oxide isn’t something, you’ll want to try yourself.
If you plan on finishing your flooring, keep in mind water-based polyurethane finishes are clear and dry quicker. You can recoat floors in a few hours, and it has a low odour compared to oil-based finishes. If you go with oil, you’ll have a longer wait time between coats, and you may have to temporarily relocate if the smell becomes an issue. It can add a nice hue that highlights the characteristics of your flooring, however, and goes on thicker.