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!
Opening up your windows and doors is all part of the joy of living by the beach. Salt air, the sun and sea often mean more damage to your home than ones that are nestled in a normal suburbia. But how can you prevent damage to your beautiful timber flooring?
Here are some important tips to prevent damage to your flooring and to prolong the life of your timber floor.
We all know that sand gets everywhere when we’re at the beach. Having mats leading into the home, where everyone can dust off sand is a simple and effective way of significantly reducing sand, dirt and grit from entering the house.
Use a Shoe Basket
Keep your shoes, sandals and jandals outside in a bin or basket near your home’s entrances and perhaps this is a good place for children’s toys like shovels and buckets- instead of ending up on your timber floor.
Ensure All are Dry
If your beach home has an outdoor shower, ask your guests to rinse off and dry before they enter your home. This will help to keep salt water off your floors.
Prevent Sun Damage
With warmer months, we love to have the beach breeze flow through the home to keep things cool, however, prolonged and direct UV exposure can have a detrimental effect on your floor. This can often result in the tone of your floor softening or accelerating the darkening of wood colours. This is known as ‘aging’ or ‘weathering’.
Filtering sunlight through curtains, blinds, outdoor awnings or UV treated windows/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.
Small particles like sand and grit can act like sandpaper which can scratch and dull your floor’s finish. Regularly vacuuming with a soft broom attachment or sweeping with a slightly damp cloth will remove these particles from your floor and reduce the likelihood of unnecessary scratches.
Just like most purchases today that have specific cleaning recommendations; timber flooring is no different. It is vital to clean your wood floor with the recommended flooring cleaner.
There are so many different types of flooring finishes that you need to make sure that you are cleaning with the right product. We ensure to send our clients their first cleaner free, so they are familiar with the brand and products that they should be using to care for their floor.
These are just a few tips to help prevent damage to your flooring, check out our other blog article about choosing the best flooring for coastal homes to see how your floor choice can make beach side living a little more breezy...
Need to repair the timber flooring in your beachside home? Speak to us about your options by emailing us at office @ timberfloor dot nz
Living in New Zealand, we are surrounded by an abundance of some of the most beautiful beaches in the world! While living by the beach has many joys, your selection of timber flooring can either add to your joy or start to diminish it.
Here are some tips on choosing the best floor for your coastal home, to ensure the longevity and durability of your stunning wooden floor.
We love to hear what ideas our clients have, so speak to us about your home’s design and see what kind of stunning floor suits you best! We are Auckland's flooring experts and timber and wood are our forte!
Email or call us today!
Although not a common problem, this is a problem that affects polyurethane finishes and can occur soon after a timber floor is finished. And with long term effects! The only way to remove ghosting is a total re-sand and finish!! 😲😱👎
Here are some images that we have pulled from the web, that demonstrate the damage of "Ghosting" on timber flooring.
How can you prevent this issue?
It is very important that you do not walk on the floor with wet feet or get water on the floor for 7 days. Also, do NOT walk on the floor with shoes for a minimum of 24 hours up to 48 hours after. The floor can be walked on ONLY in socks.
Over time as the coating darkens with UV, these marks show up as a lighter cloudy appearance. Sometimes imprints only become obvious after one year or more!
So, taking precautionary care and following maintenance instructions for your new floor, will ensure you have a great floor now and into the distant future!
We are Auckland based flooring experts, speak to us about your wood flooring enquiries!
Solid American Oak Flooring with a Custom Stain in 'Antique Brown', with Waterborne Polyurethane
1. Added Warmth
Wood is a wonderful insulator and can play a vital role in maintaining the temperature of a room. Not only does it look warm and have a homely aesthetic, it provides a warmer floor option than other materials such as tiles or concrete, so no more shockingly cold feet when you’re on your coffee mission to the kitchen on cold winter mornings.
2. Added Comfort
Wood flooring is more comfortable to walk on as it’s softer that other flooring materials. This reduces painful issues related to the feet, which comes from prolonged exposure to hard unyielding floors like concrete and tiles.
3. Health Conscious
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has identified indoor air quality as one of the top five environmental hazards for the Western world. Although New Zealand is lagging with its indoor-air quality research, the home environment is an important and vital contributor in peoples’ health because we spend the greatest amount of our time in our homes. (BRANZ Ltd. 2017) Hardwood floors help to achieve an improved air quality in the home, by being less likely to trap fungi, bacteria and dust mites, which in turn, reduces unwanted allergens in your home.
4. Add Value to Your Home
With its timeless appeal, timber flooring has been used as a core material for building homes over the years. Timber flooring is the preferred flooring choice for consumers because of its natural character, environmental sustainability, reputable quality and aesthetics. All of these factors add long term value to your property.
Resources: (BRANZ Ltd. 2017) - Indoor Air Quality in New Zealand Homes and Schools.
Many products are claiming low or 0% VOC’s but what does all this mean? Should you be concerned about 'VOC exposure'?
What are VOC’s?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.
‘Organic’ refers to the chemical make up of the ingredients/ components and ‘Volatile’ refers to its evaporation into the air, making them easy to inhale.
Where are these VOC’s?These organic chemicals are used in many household products. This includes products such as paints, varnishes, cleaning products and many other household consumables.
All of these products can release VOC’s while you are using them, and, to some degree, even when they are stored. Exposure to many VOC’s are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors.
How are we exposed to these VOC’s?Chemicals can enter our bodies through either breathing, touching or swallowing. This is known as exposure. Differences in age, health conditions, gender and level of exposure to other chemicals all affect potential effects of exposure to VOC’s. When it comes to VOC’s, effects to one’s health depends on the level of chemical toxicity, the amount of chemicals present in the air and how long the air is inhaled.
Why are they hazardous?Products that contain VOC’s, release hazardous vapours that not only affect humans and animals but also the environment. These VOC’s have varying health effects, some being short term and long term. Excessive exposure can cause allergic reactions, breathing and eye issues. Harmful VOC’s typically may not be acutely toxic for humans but have compounding long-term health effects.
Additionally, the gasses emitted affect the atmosphere, contributing to our current greenhouse gases issues.
So then, What is safe? Are There Any Alternatives?Thankfully, there are many legislative bodies that are intervening to reduce the dangers of VOC’s. The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has issued a maximum criteria of 140g/L for coatings, and 100g/L for adhesives which has been in place since 2010, with this maximum criteria tightening more so since then.
Timber flooring is a stunning way of beautifying your home, and now there are a range of products that are either low in VOC's or completely VOC free and safe to use in your home. Choosing to opt for VOC free products, is one way you can contribute making a difference to the environment and to your long term health.
Talk your flooring experts to discuss what VOC free options you can use for your dream flooring!
Solid timber flooring is 100% hardwood from the top to the base, meaning that the plank is solid wood all the way through.
On the other hand, engineered timber flooring is made up of a 3-6mm top layer of solid hardwood, which is glued to an engineered base of layered ply or birch. The mm's top layer is dependent on the board width and can vary between brands.
What Are The Benefits of Engineered Flooring?
Will I Get More Sands From Solid or Engineered Flooring?
The tongue and groove joint connects together when the flooring is laid. The re-sandable part of solid flooring is measured from the top surface of the flooring to the top of the tongue and groove. This is the same with engineered flooring.
Whether you are sanding solid or engineered flooring, you can only sand down to the tongue and groove joint. The thicker the hardwood layer on your engineered board, the more re-sands you will get. However, bear in mind that the thicker your top layer, the higher the cost.
Can Anyone Install My Engineered Flooring?
We recommend that a qualified flooring installer lay your flooring for you.
What's The Difference Between European Oak and French Oak Flooring?
This refers to the source of the timber as well as where the engineered flooring has been produced.
French Oak flooring is 100% Made in Italy from French Oak. The engineered core is made from marine grade Russian Birch which is sourced from sustainable forests. This flooring product is formaldehyde and solvent free, and has been cultivated from Radiation free zones, making it a very healthy choice for flooring in your home.
Have more questions? Visit our showroom in Rosedale, Auckland or send us an email!
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