There are specific things that you will need to consider when Buying a Wooden Floor. This page does not necessarily provide the answers, but is rather a checklist of the desicions you need to make and discuss with your floor fitter or supplier.
Lets take a look at them:
1. The look you are trying to achieve. Essentially you are either after a contemporary or a traditional look. The variety of woods available today is mind boggling. Different grains, patterns and colors each have their own distinctive look and feel. It is important to match these qualities with what you trying to accomplish. You will also want to take into consideration what decor and furnishings will be in the room.
2. The traffic level of the room. This includes any pets, children or people with disabilities who will be using or travelling through the room. You will want to choose the flooring option that is most compatible with these factors.
3. Where you will be putting the flooring. Whether you re going to be installing solid wood flooring in your living room, dining room, bedroom, hallway, bathroom, or even your kitchen, you will want to make sure that you choose the appropriate flooring. Flooring for a kitchen or bathroom needs to be of a different structure to that fitted in a living, dining or bedroom. If you are putting flooring in more than one room, you’ll want to make sure that you strike a balance between what is appropriate for each room.
4. Your Sub base. What is the surface that you are going to be fitting your new floor too? Is it concrete, wooden batons, existing wooden floor, carpet. All these options affect which floor you can fit and how it is fitted. It is essential to know about this to avoid costly mistakes.
5. Height variations. Wooden Floors are available in a variety of thicknesses. Different fitting methods affect the overall height of the finished floor. Depending on your situation you will need to make allowance for this especially if you are fitting floors through several rooms. It is possibly best to discuss this with you chosen fitter.
6. Your budget. Having a budget in mind is essential, as there are so many products on the market designed to suit all budgets. Unless your fitter / supplier knows your budget they are most likely going to be offering you the wrong products for your price range. Too often, when I have asked people their budget they say they do not know, let’s be honest everybody has a rough idea of how much money they are wanting to spend.
Please do not be cagey in revealing to your fitter / supplier your budget, if they are a reputable firm they will not up the price because you have more to spend, they will simply be able to offer you the correct products for your price range. There are many other factors that add to the overall cost, like skirting, the preparation of your sub base, post fitting decoration etc. Making the right choices and being well informed by your fitter will reduce your overall costs.
7. Product grade (visible defects, knots, color variation) All Flooring is graded by its manufacturer and each manufacturer has a different grading system. This unfortunately makes it quite confusing for the man in the street. An example of this is one manufacturer will call it Character grade while another manufacturer will call the same grade Rustic. The grade of the timber affects the cost enormously. So for instance you might want oak flooring but have seen it priced at £70 per sqm. This is likely to be prime grade oak whereas rustic oak is available at half or even a third of the cost.
8. Quality of Timber. Apart from the grade discussed in point 7, quality of the timber varies dramatically from one manufacturer to the next. Where it’s grown, how it’s felled, how it’s cut, how it’s dried and how it’s finished all contribute to the timber quality. Going for the cheapest is in my opinion not always the best option, I understand that sometimes it is necessary because of budget constraints, but you pay for what you get. If you buy the cheapest product available please don’t be surprised when in a few months you have problems with the floor buckling or splitting. Buying cheap is invariably an expensive option in the long run. A guarantee will often indicate the quality of the flooring timber.
9. Type of finish (varnish, lacquer, acrylic, wax). Floor finishes are also abundant and add to the confusion when making your decision. Check whether the floor boards you are buying are pre finished or unfinished. The cost between the types of finishes does not vary dramatically but if you buy an unfinished floor and have to finish it on site this potentially adds to your costs enormously. The difference between wax and lacquer finishes for instance will determine your maintenance, the longevity and the look of you floor. An important decision for you to make.
10. FSC certified. This indicates whether the timber has been grown from renewable sources. Generally these timbers are more expensive. This might be an important consideration for you. My feeling is that the way the world is currently heading we all have to be mind full of our environment and can no longer leave it to every one else.
11. Beveled or square edged. The top edge of boards can either be square or have a slight bevel to them. Beveled edges are generally there to allow for the slight height difference between boards and are normally associated with pre finished floors which don’t require sanding after fitting. Your final look will be affected though as with beveled edges each board is defined whereas squared edged boards have a uniform appearance.
Keeping these points in mind will allow you to streamline the purchase process and avoid some of the headaches and expensive errors that can be associate with buying a wooden floor.