Should you choose traditional solid timber floors for your home?
Before you make any decision on flooring and especially solid timber floors, you want to speak to builders with experience. Renmark have been building homes for over 20 years so we know what works and what doesn't.
Solid timber floors a great flooring option
Even within the timber flooring category, there are a wide range of choices. Solid timber floors were traditionally installed as a structural floor that went over a joist, in the days before slab construction. Today it is used as a feature flooring which can be laid over a slab or on joists.
Solid timber floors come in a number of species. In the Australian Timbers there are a wide range of species all having various prices and grades. All Australian species are called hardwoods. This does not necessarily mean that they are particularly hard and not prone to denting. To get an idea of hardness you need to ascertain the Janka Rating of a particular species.
The Janka hardness test is the hardness level given to each species. Hardness is expressed in kilo newtons; the Janka rating is a measure of the wood to resist indentation. It is one of the best measures of the ability of a wood species to withstand denting and wear. The higher the Janka rating / number the greater the hardness.
Tasmanian Oak, Chestnut (blend of a number of species) and Spotted Gum are the most popular species for solid timber floors, although there is a wide range of species to pick from depending on how much you wish to spend. We talk about these things and your budget when we are going through the process of designing your home.
When looking at a timber floor the grade is important. Timbers are graded by the number of imperfections in the plank.
House Timber Grades
Select Grade Timber Floors
Select Grade is a subtle feature grade of timber flooring which provides a limited variation in natural characteristics. The features that are present are relatively small and few in number. Irrespective of the species, although visible, they do not dominate the appearance of the floor. It has been carefully graded, floorboard by floorboard to ensure that it meets strict quality standards. It has a sleek uniform look that is well suited to modern, minimalist and traditional styles. This will have the least number of natural features such as pin holes and gum veins.
Standard Grade Timber Floors
This grade contains boards that may be moderately featured. Where gum veins are more prevalent in a species, considerably more character is provided to the floor and may look quite dominant in light coloured species. Species in this grade with less gum vein may appear more lightly featured due to smaller features being prevalent such as those from previous borer activity. Standard Grade is distinguished by highlighting selective gum veins, spirals, burls, insect trails and other natural variations that give timber floors a unique character as individual as a signature. Standard grade is carefully graded to include the most interesting variations and distinctive timber marking to enhance the looks of a timber with a moderate amount of natural features.
Feature Grade Timber Floors
Feature Grade timber features a high level of natural characteristics. In many respects this grade can look similar to Standard Grade but with the features a little more frequent and dominant. This grade offers a unique rustic aged appearance with extenuated natural features including gum vein, knots, face checking and insect travels.
Once you have selected the species and grade you will need to select a width. Solid timber flooring comes in two main widths – 80mm & 130mm. Lengths these days are random, which means planks can be as short as a meter and as long as 5m.
They are generally secret nailed (no visible nails in the board) and end matched meaning that the nailing is done on the side of the board and covered by the next board and hidden from view.
As solid timber floors are laid, sanded and polished on site the final decision you have to make is the type of coating you want on the floor.
Flooring Options For New Homes
Part of our Flooring options for new homes series.
This series of articles is designed to help you explore flooring options for your new home. We hope you find this information useful in choosing the right floor for you.