Types of Wood Flooring Demystified

Of the many flooring choices in the market today, without a shadow of a doubt, wood is the more tricky to choose. Options, industry buzzwords and practical considerations often make the process awkward. In this guide we aim to explain your latest options.

 Types Of Wood Flooring Construction

 Many individuals are unaware that wood flooring despite looking the same is made out of solid construction or machined construction. Your first task when evaluating your options is to determine which type is more suitable for your project.

 Solid Wood Flooring – Each floorboard is made from 100% whole hardwood such as Pine, Oak, Walnut and other hardwood species. It is the stronger type of the two (measured in service life) thereby making it a prize solution in commercial interiors where footfall is high. As you might expect, the solid type would also lend itself nicely in residential interiors.

Engineered Wood Flooring – In contrast, the engineered floorboard is machine made using layer of solid wood and synthetics. The top layer is made from 3mm to 6mm of solid wood, while the remainder features MDF, Ply and even softwood. The dominance of synthetics over complete use of hardwood means that service life isn’t as long as in the case of solid wood, though you can safely fit engineered wood flooring across the entire interior. Areas that traditionally ruin solid wood such as the bathroom, kitchen and other wet or humid places are perfectly suitable for wood flooring of the engineered type.

 Features Of Wood Flooring

 Natural wood contains features such as color imbalance, sapwood, wood knots and mineral streaks. In some interiors these features are welcomed and encouraged, in others, a more uniform look might be called for. Therefore there are four grades of natural wood flooring that differ in the volume of these features, so you are very likely to find that right balance.

 Rustic Grade – The rustic grade is found on the feature rich side of the scale. Color difference between the floorboards will dominate and so will the existence of large knots.

Country Grade – This grade is also rich in natural features. Small surface knots, flags, wormholes (occur naturally in the forest), and some mineral streaks are allowed. Color variation between the floorboards is present, but toned down.

 Select Grade – From here on the floorboards feature a constantly uniform look. The color of the floorboards appears even and sapwood and knots are very limited.

 Prime Grade – Prime is the highest grade, meaning that the floorboards will match in color and texture. Sapwood and knots appear random and often not at all.  

Color Of Wood Flooring

 Most individuals associate wood flooring with light brown, gold and honey colors. Nowadays it is possible to alter the natural color of wood to match a greater number of interiors. Techniques such as thermo treating the wood results in deep dark wood, while whitewashing results in white wood. Don’t limit yourself to a small number of shades, talk to your interior designer about your choices. We hope this guide to wood flooring has made your decision process easier.

Written by Jonathan Sapir MD of Wood and Beyond for the Panoply Interior Design & Consulting blog. Wood and Beyond are ethical vendors of engineered and solid wood flooring (Oak and Walnut). Panoply Interior Design combines over 55 years of design experience in both residential and commercial interior design.

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