There’s a wide selection of timbers that can be used for timber flooring- from native timbers to more widely used American or European Oak. Some species maintain relative consistency with their appearance; while others can be more diverse and contrasting from their variation of colours, tones or grain appearance.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Timber Species For Your Floor:
Or are you trying to achieve a look that you’ve seen online?
Keep in mind that images don’t look the same in print and online vs. in real life due to the age of filters and photo editing. To prevent any unexpected surprises, asking for samples across a few different boards of the same timber can ensure you’re happy with the variation within that flooring product before you have the timber installed.
Helpful tip: Even if you find a large showroom sample of your preferred timber selection, it’s just an indication of the species colour and the natural variation you can expect. Timbers can vary in appearance due to their age, the growing region and individual trees.
Images: Aleksander Radovanovic, Unsplash Projects Used: Solid American White Oak Flooring
According to the largest general survey of pet owners released by Companion Animals New Zealand (CANZ), New Zealand has some of the world’s greatest pet lovers. Results showing that 41% of New Zealand households having a cat and 34% of households having at least one dog.
Here are some pet-proofing tips on how to enjoy your timber floor with your furry creatures.
An excitable dog running around a house with your children is fun but can leave scratches in your timber floors. Keeping pet’s claws trimmed will minimise scratches to your floor surface.
Keeping dog bowls on a tray or limiting feeding areas to outdoors or in spaces that are easier to clean, can minimise water splashes and floor damage.
Each species of timber has a different hardness. When it comes to most household applications, timbers classed as ‘moderately hard’ is appropriate.
The table below lists some examples of species hardness ratings by the AFTA.
While a floor finish doesn’t improve the hardness of a floor surface, here’s some things to consider in what finish you choose for your home.
Polyurethanes can be slightly more stain resistant, but if your pets scratch the floor, a re-sand and coat would be needed to re-treat the floors.
Oils and Hardwax finishes can give you a little more freedom with applying oil to scratch marks. But, regardless of the floor finish, any spills and messes will stain, if they aren’t cleaned up quickly. Regular care and maintenance of your oiled floor will make it easier to keep clean.
We’ve had pets for years and still love our timber floors. If you have pets and want to discuss the best flooring options for your home, send us an email and one of our flooring specialists can help you find the best floor for your needs.
CANZ Survey: https://www.companionanimals.nz/publications
Images: Project Georgina St | Karolina Garbo | Pexels
In a previous blog post we covered what the key differences and benefits are between the two options. You can read that post here: What's the difference between engineered and solid oak flooring?
When it comes to re-sanding, there are some key similarities which affects the number of re-sands you’ll get from your flooring. Many are under the impression that solid is superior to engineered.
Solid and Engineered flooring both connect together with a tongue and groove joint. (This is often nailed down to the subfloor to secure it.)
The re-sandable part of solid flooring is measured from the top surface - to the top of the tongue and groove joint. So, whether you’re sanding solid or engineered, you can only sand down to this T&G joint and you’ll usually take off about 1-2mm per re-sand.
The re-sandable part of solid flooring is typically around 5-6mm. Engineered flooring has a 3-6mm layer of solid hardwood, which is glued to an engineered base of layered ply or birch. So the re-sandable part of both options is comparatively the same.
The thicker the hardwood layer above the T&G joint, the more re-sands you’ll get. This top layer can depend on board width and varies between brands. If you're trying to get a thicker top layer, you’ll pay for this in the cost of your flooring product.
So realistically, you can expect to get 3 - 4 resands from both solid or engineered flooring options.
If you’re thinking about getting your existing floors refinished or want to discuss a new flooring project, feel free to call us and speak to one of our flooring specialists for tailored recommendations for your project.
A common question we receive from clients: What timber flooring is best for bathrooms? 🚿 #bathroomgoals
We don't recommend timber flooring in wet areas for obvious reasons; timber is prone to absorbing moisture, which can compromise its' integrity as well as its appearance.
One important factor to consider is how much water you expect to come in contact with the floor.
If you have small children or expect to splash a lot of water on the floor, timber flooring wouldn't be the best solution for wet areas. Any surface water should be wiped up immediately and you would want to ensure that the area is well ventilated at all times to assist with the drying process.
However with diligent care and maintenance of spills or splashes, you can choose a flooring product that can work for you. Speak to our flooring experts for advice on your #BathroomGoals
Incorporating tile and wood into your bathroom design can create a unique look to your home, while meeting the needs of your family. Images: carresol_parquet, design_interior_homes, sheppardandrout
Need more expert advice about timber flooring in your home? Shoot us an email or send us a message on the gram... @timberfloornz
Please Note: Timber Floor Solutions takes no responsibility in moisture damaged or water damaged flooring. Please speak to us about your specific flooring project and ask our experts on their recommendations for your home.
🍃 Air Circulate: Not placing your plants directly on the floor and by using plant stands allow you to circulate air underneath the plant, reducing any chance of trapped condensation and easily spotting if you have overwatered a plant, so you can clean up the spill promptly.
🍃 Keep your pots secure, be mindful of gusts of wind, curious pets and children that might knock your pots over, that may leave soil and moisture unattended on your floor for long durations.
🍃 Using felt pads on the bottom of pots will protect your floor from any unwanted scratches from relocating pots. Also avoid dragging or sliding your pots along the floor.
🍃 Hydrate and water your plants with care and wipe up any spills immediately.
🍃 Regularly sweep or vacuum around pots to remove any soil or leaves to prevent any floor scratches 🍃 🍁
Images: Annie Spratt, Ceyda Çiftçiye, Fabio Hanashiro, Huy Phan, James Lindsay, Judah Guttmann, Kelly Sikkima, Daria-Shevtsova, Inga-Seliverstova, Ksenia-Chernaya, Prudence Earl
Protect Against Moisture
Wipe up spills and/or puddles from wet shoes immediately. Have a damp cloth tucked away for a quick clean-up. Remove wet shoes and make use of walk off mats in the entryways of your home.
Regular Maintenance + Clean
Regular cleaning of your floor with appropriate product (as per your flooring finish) can help to make your floor more resistant to outside elements. Oiled floors with a fresh clean, look better over time and have a fresh layer of protection.
Images: Danielle Dolson, Timothy Buck
Engineered wood flooring is becoming far more popular because of the many benefits, including stability, durability and the option to refinish the flooring colour later. Here are some of the latest trends surrounding this modern flooring option.
Some of the current trends that we note in timber flooring is a cyclical resurgence in chevron and herringbone styled floors. Long plank herringbone is the current trend setter as the modern interpretation of these parquet styles and features in a variety of new projects in both commercial and residential spaces.
We’ve especially seen an increase in the use of engineered flooring over the past five to seven years, with approximately 90 per cent of our projects now specifying engineered flooring. With New Zealand’s colder winters, underfloor heating is more commonly used, which requires an engineered product.
It’s the best of both worlds – you still get the look and feel of solid oak with the added benefit of the plywood backing. Colour wise, there’s a discernible decrease in grey shades, whereas neutrals and ‘nude’ look timbers are increasingly sought after.
Benefits of Engineered Flooring
We recognise that often clients have a preference toward solid wood flooring. However, engineered flooring offers several strong selling points. It is more sustainable and has greater stability, which allows for its use over underfloor heating. It is also less likely to be adversely affected by New Zealand’s ever-changing weather and humid climate.
Popular Flooring FInishes
Recently there has been a big shift towards oil and hard-wax finishes, which offer a very organic look and texture due to the oil penetrating and protecting the timber. We’re happy to see this transition, as most oils and hard waxes on the market are either low VOC or VOC free, compared to solvent-based products like polyurethanes, which have strong odours and aren’t as health conscious.
How Can You Be Sure Your Engineered Flooring Product is Sustainable and Healthy?
When looking for an engineered product, people should check that the product they choose is certified free of radiation, solvents and formaldehyde. Another thing to ensure is that the timber is sourced sustainably – an easy way to make sure your product is sustainable is checking if it has an FSC certificate.
New Zealanders are very aware of risks to their health and are educated around any allergies and toxins in products. They are also highly interested in reducing their impact on the environment, so we are seeing a rise in greener product choices that are safe in terms of exposure to children, pets and people with low tolerances to chemicals.
Engineered Flooring Tips
Firstly, since timber flooring is a breathing product it needs to be maintained correctly, so it’s important to be realistic about how much maintenance you are willing to do. Just like other natural products, such as leather, engineered flooring needs due care and attention.
Polyurethane and hard-wax oil finishes require a similar amount of care. Opting for an oil finish will give you a beautiful floor but does need regular cleaning to keep it looking its best. Damp mopping on a fortnightly basis with the appropriate cleaner is usually all it takes.
Secondly, consider what grade of timber you want. There are three main grades: the first is a prime grade, which is a clean board with minimal knots that features the natural grains of the timber. The second is feature or natural grade, which has a good mix of prime grade boards as well as some knotty rustic boards. Lastly, rustic or antique grades have a lot of character, and usually feature a lot of knots to create a very natural and organic timber look.
If you’d like to know more about beautiful engineered wood flooring, contact your timber flooring specialists.
VOC’s (Volatile organic compounds) are the chemical substances (including both man made and naturally occurring chemical compounds) that evaporate into the air from certain solids or liquids as they dry at room temperatures. Harmful VOC’s typically may not be acutely toxic for humans but have compounding long-term health effects.
Down here in New Zealand, we’re getting a reputation for having harsh UV rays.
A recent Houzz article mentioned that: "The combination of low ozone, distance from the sun, lack of pollution and high surface reflections (all that water!) means that our peak UV rays are some 40 per cent greater than comparable latitudes in the northern hemisphere.” – 13 Smart Ways to Minimise Sun Damage In your Interiors.
This means that our car bonnets and precious skin are not the only things we should be concerned about. Timber flooring often bears the brunt of this damage which is known as ‘aging’ or ‘weathering’. Prolonged and direct UV exposure can often result in the tone of your floor softening or accelerating the darkening of wood colours.
The combination of low ozone, distance from the sun, lack of pollution and high surface reflections (all that water!) means that our peak UV rays are some 40 per cent greater than comparable latitudes in the northern hemisphere.” – 13 Smart Ways to Minimise Sun Damage In your Interiors
However, there are some ways that you can reduce the effects of sun damage. Filtering sunlight through curtains, blinds, outdoor awnings or UV treated windows/doors are ways to slow down any colour changes and help to control the gap widths between boards.
Use Curtains + Blinds
Sheer curtains fabrics can soften the sun light that reaches your flooring and adds some extra protection especially in north facing rooms that are exposed to more sunlight. The bonus is added privacy during the day without completely blocking out the glorious daylight. Keeping blinds or curtains closed during the hottest parts of the day will make sure that sun exposure will not change your floor colour prematurely.
Consider UV Films
Some window films can substantially reduce the amount of UV rays that enter your home, without hindering your views. Make sure to check which companies promise solar protection and not just a tinted window.
Open up Your Living Space
Installing outdoor awnings not only means visibly opening up living areas in your home but helps to block those damaging rays off the windows or doorways to your beloved timber floor!
Change the Furniture Layout
Regular rotation of your furniture and rugs is not only a quick and inexpensive option but allows the floor to age more uniformly than developing patches of differing colours. This could be as simple as moving a rug or moving a sofa to the other side of the room.
You may have purchased a home with existing timber flooring or maybe you’re installing new flooring. While it is possible to minimise the suns effects and prolong the colour of your floor through the above suggestions, it is expected that all timber floors will fade over time from UV exposure.
This direct sunlight can lead to gapping or cupping of the floor boards (board edges being higher than the centre of the board). Filtering sunlight through curtains, blinds or UV treated windows and doors is an effective way to slow down any colour changes, control the gap widths between boards and reduces the direct heat from north facing rooms that are exposed to a lot of sun.
Air Temperature and Humidity
Changes in humidity is another contributor to wood floors potentially swelling, shrinking, cupping or gapping between boards. Using a dehumidifier or similar systems will assist in achieving a consistent humidity level but aim for an Average Relative Humidity of around 40-70% and an average indoor temperature between 18-25 degrees celcius. This indoor average should not exceed 35 degrees celcius.
Avoid leaving rooms with timber flooring locked up for long periods of time during warmer weather. Any wood flooring requires some air circulation to prevent boards from shrinkage. If you are out for the day or plan to be away on holiday. An easy measure to prevent this is ensuring that the house is ventilated during this time. Oven like conditions can be created when houses are closed up and this is where you may start to see signs of board shrinkage, splitting and cupping in your flooring.
Preferably, the underfloor heating should be turned on 2 weeks before the timber flooring is laid. Once the flooring is installed, the concrete SLAB temperature should never exceed 27 degrees Celsius!!
Ideally the slab temperature should sit around 24 - 25 degrees Celsius. Once the floor has been finished it is best to slowly alter the temperature, moving it either up or down by 1 degrees Celsius per day to begin. A sudden change in temperature will damage your flooring and failing to follow this recommendation, can cause the floor to expand, shrink, split or cup.
For best performance, the heating system should be operating at all times, all year round to avoid the floor cooling and taking on moisture from the environment. If the underfloor heating does not run at a constant temperature all year round, more movement should be expected in the timber flooring, with gaps appearing and closing up from season to season.
We are your expert timber flooring specialists, specialising in solid and engineered wood flooring! If you would like more expert timber flooring advice, contact us!
Flooring Advice: Choosing the Right Timber Species for Your Flooring
Flooring Advice: Caring for Timber Flooring During Winter Months
FAQ: Pet Proof Timber Flooring Choices
FAQ: How Many Re-sands Can I Get From Engineered Flooring?
FAQ: What's the Best Flooring for Bathrooms and Wet Areas?
Flooring Advice: Timber Flooring + Indoor Plants
Childsafe Flooring: What's on the Market?
HOW TO: Minimising UV Sun Damage to Your Timber Floor
FAQ: How Does Timber Flooring Respond to Heat?
HOW TO: Caring for Beachside Timber Flooring
FAQ: What is Ghosting and How to Prevent it
FAQ: What are VOC's? Are there any alternatives?