If you are looking to renovate and inject life into your interior by replacing your current floors, you are truly spoiled for choice. In this guide we focus on your options should you decide to venture in the direction of natural wood, Oak in particular (being the most commonly fitted). Of the many flooring solutions out there, natural wood is often seen as ‘complicated’ to choose, although as you will read here, it doesn’t have to be. Types of Natural Oak Fooring There are two types of Oak flooring, One type, which most home owners are familiar with, and other type that in most cases only industry professionals (architects, interior designers etc.) will know.
Oak Flooring of Solid Build – Solid Oak flooring are the floorboards that most homeowners will instinctively associate with natural wood. Each floorboard is made from 100% natural Oak wood. These floorboards are particularly strong with an expected service life of 50 to 75 years. This lengthy service lift is due in part to your ability to sand the floorboards and reply finish when needed. Solid Oak flooring are suitable in most areas of the interior, with the exception for wet, damp or humid areas such as the kitchen, bathroom, basement and attic areas.
Oak Flooring of Engineered Build – Engineered Oak flooring are newer to the game. Each floorboard is made from layer upon layer of natural and manmade material, hence the use of the term ‘engineered’ to describe the floor. The first external layer is made from 2mm to 6mm planks of Oak wood. The layers below it, between 3 to 5 layers, are made from MDF and ply. Engineered Oak flooring are suitable in all areas of the interior, even in the wet, damp and humid areas. This is thanks to the manmade core of MDF and ply which is immune to expansion and contraction. The side effect of this engineered build is a slightly shorter service life, often around 25 years. You can of course fit the solid type in certain areas and the engineered type in others.
Oak Flooring Finish Oak flooring whether of the solid or engineered type is best covered in a finish to extend its service life. The finish acts as a barrier between anything that goes on the floor and the natural wood. Options revolve around Oil or Lacquered liquids. Oil Finish – A modern day successor of ‘wax’ finish, the Oil liquid is fine enough to penetrate into the heart of the wood. In doing so, it provides surface and core protection to the floorboard. If you are looking to retain the natural look of the floorboard than Oil, particularly matt-brushed oil finish is recommended.
Lacquer Finish – This is a varnish like liquid that sits on the surface of the natural wood floorboard. Thicker than Oil, the Lacquer liquid remains on the surface. The end result is strong, smooth and slightly shiny look. This finish is recommended in areas that have higher foot traffic, areas that might experience wet conditions such as the bathroom and kitchen areas and if you want to give the floor a slight glossy look.
Oak Flooring Grade The final decision in a typical Oak flooring purchase process is deciding on the grade. In the world of natural wood, grade isn’t an indication of quality, but of how refine the wood is. There are four common grades of Oak flooring. Prime and Select Grades – These two are at the high end of the grading table. It means that the floorboard enjoys a particularly uniform look. This comes to fruition in small knots and limited ratio of sapwood vs. complete wood.
Country and Rustic Grades – These two are positioned at the other end of the scaling table. Floorboards of the country and rustic grades will display knots of changing sizes, higher sapwood content and color variation between the floorboards is almost certain.
If you decided to design and decorate your home, and Oak flooring seems like an attractive option, you need to consider type, grade and finish. To discuss your home improvement project, whether it’s a loft conversion or a conservatory, contact our friendly team at 020 8302 4415 to request a quotation on your home improvement project.