There are several different types of timber flooring available, and some of the most common are outlined below:
Floating Floors – floating floors are laid over the existing floor, whether the existing floor is timber, concrete, tiled, particle board, plywood, etc. To prevent a tapping sound, an underlay is placed underneath the floor, and this underlay also provides good noise insulation. Floating floors can be either timber or laminate. The timber floors usually consist of a layer of softwood or hardwood that has been glued to high density fibreboard. They can be pre-coated or coated upon installation. The advantage of using a real timber floating floor is that it can be sanded and refinished if necessary. Laminate floating floors use laminate to create a timber finish. Laminate floors are lower maintenance than real timber floating floors. However, floating floors of any kind cannot be used in wet areas. For more information see floating timber floor installation.
Structural Timber Floors – this is the traditional type of timber flooring that is laid on bearers and joists. Generally speaking, there are three grades of structural timber available, with the cheapest having the most natural variation (knots etc) and the most expensive having the least. Structural timber floors should only be laid by a professional but it can be a long process as the timber needs to acclimatise to the environment in which it is being laid (which can take up to two weeks). Structural timber floors also need adequate ventilation in the sub-floor space so that timber does not warp.
Timber Flooring – timber flooring comes in a wide range of styles such as parquetry, tongue and groove and direct stick. Parquetry can be laid in a variety of patterns and is hard wearing and long lasting, due to its thickness. Tongue and groove flooring, as the name suggest, consists of timber boards that have a tongue on one side and a groove on the other so that they lock in together when laid. To help hold them in place, they are they nailed down. Direct stick flooring consists of tongue and groove timber that is 12-15mm thick that is then stuck directly to the concrete slab and secret nailed. For more information see solid timber floor installation and timber floor coatings.
Bamboo Flooring – bamboo flooring is relatively new. It is a renewable resource that grows faster than timber. Bamboo is a hardwood that is stable under both wet and dry conditions – it has minimal expansion and contraction meaning that it does not move. It comes in a range of styles and colours and because it is pre-finished, installation is fast. Bamboo can be installed over concrete, plywood, particle board, existing hardwood floors or even upon joists. It is also very low allergy.
Types of Timber
When installing a timber floor, you are virtually unlimited in the types of timber that you can use. Following are some of the more popular timber choices:
The look of the timber is further affected by the stain used. Due to the wide range of timber types and colours available, timber floors can suit any type of home, from the rustic home to the ultra-contemporary.
As laying a timber floor can be a big job, there are some steps to take before hiring a professional. Firstly, ensure that they have the necessary qualifications and experience. Also check their license and insurances. Get a number of quotes before hiring a professional so that you can compare prices and get a feel for the standard cost of the job. Finally, it is important that you feel comfortable with your professional so talk to them to ensure that they understand your needs and, if possible, ask them for references or to see some of their previous work.