Five questions to ask when choosing timber flooring

FLAWLESS: Wide boards (pictured in Spotted Gum) are ideal for uniting open spaces.

FLAWLESS: Wide boards (pictured in Spotted Gum) are ideal for uniting open spaces.

Whether renovating or building a new home, timber floors add a warmth and authenticity to an interior that is quite often hard to replicate.

Flooring is an important investment, and homeowners benefit from doing their research to better understand the options when shopping for timber flooring.

Along with considering the type of wood, colour and price, there are other factors to consider before buying timber flooring.

To help with the selection process, Boral Timber recommends you ask the following questions:

What colour and style would best suit the home?

In general, timber is a neutral palette that can be used in harmony with a variety of other materials, finishes and textures to create a desired look, from a Federation cottage to a beachy Hamptons-style home.

Lighter timbers, such as Blackbutt, are a popular choice, as they provide a fresh, neutral canvas for interior designs and can help make a smaller area feel more spacious.

Wide boards are also trending, ideal for making an impact in larger rooms, and connecting open plan spaces. Darker shades will make a space feel more cosy and comfortable, ideal for homes in cooler climates.

How much maintenance do timber floors need?

With proper care and maintenance, a timber floor should continue to look good and wear well for many years. Regularly vacuum it with a soft bristle head or an electrostatic attachment, or sweep with an electrostatic mop.

Too much moisture can cause timber flooring to swell and cup, so dry floors with a clean cotton towel immediately after mopping and avoid cleaning with steam.

Fit protective pads to the base of chairs and tables to avoid scuff marks. Solid hardwood flooring can generally be sanded up to three times without impact on the grain and colour. However be aware that when a textured or coloured board needs to be refinished, these surface features will generally diminish.

What are the main types of flooring and how are they different?

Engineered timber boards have a timber veneer of three to six millimetres applied over a composite material, usually plywood or rubberwood. The boards are typically 14-millimetres thick and come pre-finished in several different widths to help create an instant floor makeover.

Solid timber floorboards are made entirely of wood and available in two options to suit different types of sub-floors:

Overlay 14 millimetres is thick and non-structural, which means it can be laid over existing sub-floor surfaces, including tiles and concrete; and solid 19-millimetre timber boards, which are structural, meaning they can be installed either directly over bearers and joists, or on top of particleboard or plywood sheeting. The type of flooring homeowners choose will be largely guided by how their home is constructed.

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Where does the timber come from and was it sustainably sourced?

As a building material, timber is a good choice because it is a natural and renewable resource, with Australian hardwoods a particularly durable flooring solution.

To ensure forests are conserved and managed responsibly, it's important to look for Chain of Custody certification, which provides assurances that wood contained in a product originates from certified Australian forests, and requires all companies along the supply chain to be Responsible Wood Chain of Custody certified.

As long as this is the case, products can carry the Responsible Wood mark. All Boral timbers are Responsible Wood Chain of Custody certified, giving buyers peace of mind that the timber is sourced from sustainably-managed and legal forestry.

Why is it important to seek out Australian timber flooring?

As this year has presented enormous challenges to the community, the shop local movement has gained significant momentum.

Choosing Australian timber species, such as Blackbutt and Spotted Gum, supports Australian companies, regional communities and local employment.