Timber flooring is available in many colours of single or mixed species and the floor that you are installing will be unique in character and appearance because there are no two trees the same. Although others may have similar floors, no one else will have a floor with the same natural beauty and atmosphere that is created by your timber floor. For this reason, timber floors are so valued and the feature of many homes. Another charm of timber floors is that they are totally natural and with this comes variability. When you walk down the street, do you see anybody who looks and acts exactly like you? No! Well it is the same with a timber floor.
The four aspects that you need to consider are: colour, grade, board width and the finish to be applied. You also need to keep in mind that photos of timber floors.
Grade is the amount of ‘feature’ that appears in the floor. Grading rules do not cover either colour or colour variation, but do significantly influence the appearance, with some grades including the character of the trees history with larger gum veins, knots and other features present. This more rusticated appearance, full of character is prized by many owners. In other grades the cleaner natural lines and figure of the timber will dominant with fewer and smaller features present and with a subdued finish you can almost see inside the board. You can learn more about grades here.
Your timber floor may be installed over a concrete slab, on joists or over a structural sheet floor of particleboard or plywood. You may live in a drier location, on farmland or up in the moist tropics. You may have air-conditioning, heating systems or large expanses of glass with a lot of direct sunlight. Well, to accommodate all these variables different methods of installation are going to be appropriate to different homes and therefore practices will differ with your installation, compared to others you may
know. An installer most appropriate for your home and how the desired flooring product is likely to perform in your house.
The following needs to be checked before the floor is installed”
- Pack labels size grade and size
- Packs assessed for damage during transit
- The moisture content of the boards
- Board widths are close to their manufactured width and are a snug fit and not too loose
Next the site and installation environment is considered. Are we in a moist location where the flooring is likely to swell after installation or is it a dry location where some shrinkage after installation can be expected? What is the condition of the sub-floor, be it particleboard, plywood or a concrete slab? Is the sub-floor space beneath the floor
dry and appropriate for laying the floor?
Boards also need to to go through a pre-condition called acclimatisation, allowing them to adjust to their new environment. The fixing method that is most suited and appropriateness of particular finish systems can be determined.
You now have another important roll to play. Although your floor can be walked on, full curing and hardening will occur over the next few weeks after finishing and it is recommended that rugs are not laid until this time. Similarly, it should be ensured that the feet of chairs and tables etc have felt pads or protectors applied. Heavy items of furniture need to be carefully positioned without dragging them. Curtains or similar should be used to protect floor areas from intense sunlight and mats both inside and out are an effective means of trapping grit which can scratch floor surfaces. It should also be noted that over time, both the floor finish and the timber that is exposed to light will darken and therefore floors will often be of a lighter tone under rugs. You should also consider a regular cleaning program to ensure that your floor remains in pristine condition. Antistatic mops are effective for collecting dust and grit, and vacuum cleaners, provided the brushes are not worn, are also effective. Damp mopping on say a monthly basis provides and effective deep clean and when carried out with mild cleaners as recommended by the coating manufacturers, it will not harm the floor. Well that’s it, enjoy the beauty of your natural timber floor.