Wood flooring, if well kept and finished, is often the focus of compliments and harks back to a time when craftsmanship and quality were a thing of routine. Not only luxurious, they can be key in setting the tone for a room, whether you want to go for light and airy, dark and rustic or modern and grey-washed. With such a variety of choices available such as solid hardwood, laminate flooring and engineered floors, it makes for a great complement in terms of aesthetics no matter your décor style and taste. With a variety of woods, stains, finishes and grains on the market, you are sure to find a type of flooring
that suits your needs.
Is wood flooring durable?
When installed correctly and looked after well, wood flooring can be an incredibly enduring surface. Real wood flooring varies in durability, depending on the type of wood used, how it is treated and the type of structure of the flooring itself.
Whether you have hardwood flooring, engineered floors or laminate flooring, they all need looked after well to make sure they do not get scratched or damaged due to exposure to excessive moisture, sunlight or dirt. The most effective way to keep your floors in shape is to have a regular cleaning routine. Here are some tips applicable to all three types of flooring:
- Regular cleaning with a microfibre cloth and a vacuum cleaner with a soft bristle attachment will keep dust and particles away. Clean in the same direction as the grain to pick up any debris between the grooves.
- A monthly clean (or when the surface is particularly dirty) with a damp mop and specific hardwood cleaner will keep things ticking over. Make sure to let your hardwood air dry afterwards or dry using a soft clean towel.
- Check the manufacturers’ instructions before using any products on your floor surfaces. Some, such as ammonia, may damage the finish.
- Wipe spills up immediately to avoid moisture damage.
- Take your shoes off to avoid scratches and dragging in extra dirt.
- Lay down rugs to soften parts of the room, especially for placing pieces that could scratch the surface, such as coffee tables.
- Use blinds and window dressings to shade your flooring from particularly strong direct sunlight. This will help combat discolouration and patchy colouring.
Which type of wood flooring is best?
The type of flooring best for you depends on what you are looking to get out of the surface. If you’re after a lower maintenance and cheaper option, laminate flooring is the way to go. If you want authentic, wooden planks and are willing to splash out a bit more, then solid hardwoods will suit you better. Engineered and laminate flooring are also good routes to go down in terms of versatility as some you may even be able to take with you if you move. Read on to see what the main differences between these flooring types are:
Solid hardwood flooring:
This one does what it says on the tin - solid floorboards are a classic. Some of the most durable hardwoods include solid oak wood, cherry and maple flooring. Whilst you still need to ensure a good subfloor is installed and take care with liquids, these particular hardwoods expand and contract the least when exposed to moisture, making them more durable than others.
If looked after well they can also last a lifetime, meaning that you will potentially never have to replace them. Not only that, but you can give it multiple facelifts to make sure they always complement your current décor. Sanding and revarnishing is a good way to keep your floorboards looking fresh and offers versatility in terms of style.
In engineered wood several layers, or plies, are bonded together using pressure at a high temperature. The lower layers consist of a mixture of plywood and/or hardwood, while the top surface consists of a layer of hardwood. This gives the appearance of real wood flooring and, with good care, can last as long as solid wood floors. They are also more resistant to moisture and can be laid at any level over many different types of surfaces, such as concrete, heating systems and other woods.
Laminate flooring differs from engineered wood in that it is made of artificial materials in order to look like real wood flooring. Easier to install than other types of flooring, it is also more resistant to fading in sunlight, as well as scratches and stains due to a layer of plastic on the surface.
Why choose wood flooring?
Wooden flooring offers a variety of advantages when it comes to picking a type of surface for your space. With several types of flooring on offer, read on to take a look at why wood flooring is the way to go:
Wood flooring is a natural product, which is not only all the rage these days but also a great investment. It can add value to your property and is an eco-friendly option if you choose reclaimed or a sustainable wood.
If you want to make sure that your flooring comes from a reputable source, check for the FSC logo (Forest Stewardship Council) when buying. They monitor everyone involved the process, from farmers to retailers, to make sure that forests are replaced with the same number of trees as are cut down. They are very strict and take away certification from those who do not keep up with their requirements. So not only are you making your space look great, but you can also feel good about doing your bit for the environment.
Talking of dust and particles, wood flooring is also a great option for folks allergic to things like dust mites. Unlike with carpeting, dust mites have nowhere to go in wood flooring, so with a regular cleaning routine, as mentioned above, your space will be kept as dust-free as possible.
Wooden floors can give a space a deluxe touch, or even make a smaller look bigger depending on the finish. They create a sense of continuity when used between rooms and can bring together an open-plan space that incorporates several living spaces. For example, solid oak floorboards paired with a shag rug can give a room a cosy feel, while grey solid wood flooring in a space with Mid Century finishes will give a space an elegant, modern look.
Is wood flooring waterproof?
While engineered or laminate wood can be more resistant to moisture and liquids, no types of wood flooring are actually waterproof. If exposed to moisture and not fixed, the surface can expand, cup and become malformed. Subfloors and base layers can protect the wood from moisture below and water-resistant finishes can contain damage from spillages. These finishes should be applied every few years to ensure their maintenance.
Can wood flooring be laid over tiles?
As long as the surface is flat and in good condition, engineered wood or laminate flooring can go over tiles. Whether glued down or locked independently on top, laminate flooring, in particular, gives you lots of freedom. Things to bear in mind, however, include the raised height layering flooring will give you, meaning it the height should be measured carefully to see if it will cause problems with doors, door frames and appliances.