Selecting the right floor
It is of the utmost importance that the correct and adequately suited flooring product is selected and specified before a timber floor is laid. This avoids future problems with the installed floor.
What is the primary use of the floor?
Wood floors installed in commercial areas such as restaurants will receive far more wear and tear than those in residential areas such as bedrooms. Furthermore areas such as hallways in residential areas will receive more wear and tear as a result of traffic than those in bedrooms.
The following should be considered when selecting a wooden floor.
Is the floor likely to be subject to heavy wear and tear?
Is the floor for sports, multi-purpose, domestic, or commercial use?
Will the floor receive regular and correct maintenance?
What type of maintenance is currently available?
Timber floors are generally not recommended for bathrooms or other wet areas. However, they are often used in kitchens and other areas where minor spills may be expected. In such cases, the client must always be informed of the need to wipe up spills immediately and to have a suitable maintenance program.
The choice of species will also play in the selection, as some woods are harder and denser than others. Woods such as oak, are traditionally the most suitable.
End user/customer expectations of flooring
Wood is a natural material and is therefore subject to infinite variations in colour, texture, knots, and grain pattern. Natural timber also contains characteristics such as surface splits and shakes; these are accepted as being a normal feature of wood and are not detrimental to the performance of the floor. The level and volume of natural characteristic of wooden flooring is known as the ‘grade’, a clean grade will have minimised amounts of knots and mineral streaks, whilst a rustic grade will usually have an abundance of knots, mineral streaks, and grain variations to add character.
Wood flooring move by expansion and contraction as a result of temperature changes in a room or area; this is normal behaviour for wood as it is not an inert material.
Determining which floor to select
The floors selection will be determined by its use.
1. The required look and colour of the floor, as well as its use.
2. Ease of maintenance is important.
3. Thickness is less important as wear is minimal.
1. Aesthetics play a great part in the selection.
2. Long term durability will be required.
3. Ease of cleaning and maintenance costs.
4. Speed and ease of installation.
5. Durability of species and grade.
Wooden floors are very cost effective, when long term maintenance and durability are taken into account. Unlike carpets and other surfaces, real wooden floors can be easily refurbished to provide brand new surfaces time after time, year after year.