Timber is an all-time favourite among all flooring products across Australia, not only for its appearance but also for its performance and versatile options. Available in various species, colours, grains and finishes, there will always be a timber floor to suit any flooring project.
Installing timber floors
Solid timber flooring can be installed on top of both sheeted floors and timber joists. The plank thickness determines characteristics such as durability, sturdiness and price. While thicker planks are more durable and sturdy, they also cost considerably more to supply and install than thinner floorboards. Wider boards are considered luxurious and create an impression of space, but are more expensive. These boards are also vulnerable to cupping caused by the timber expanding and contracting in response to humidity fluctuations.
Types of timber
How do you determine what type of timber floor is most appropriate for your application? Obviously, your design preferences and budget will be the deciding factors. Timber ‘species’ relates to the hardwood variety and usually indicates the timber’s colour, whereas ‘grade’ pertains to quality as dictated by the number of organic flaws in the timber such as gum veins, loops, irregular grain patterns, and bug holes. Cheaper grade timber will have more flaws but can be used to create rustic floors in a country style. Expensive grades are commonly used in modern-style flooring because of their more consistent features.
Timber being a product of nature, it will have blemishes that lend it character. There will always be a few irregularities such as knots and/or colour variances. Obrien Timber Floors offers sizable samples in their showroom to assist clients with their selections.
Engineered timber flooring
A more recent innovation that is steadily becoming popular for its affordability, engineered timber flooring is made from layered wood, usually with plantation timber on the bottom layer and covered on top with a veneer (or lamella) of the preferred species. Engineered floors are low cost options in the flooring market, helping achieve significant cost savings over solid timber flooring; the prefinished boards are already stained and lacquered, requiring only installation without the hassle of finishing.
A popular choice among people preferring green options, this flooring is made from bamboo, an easily replenished resource that’s naturally abundant and takes seven years to mature when grown without pesticides. Bamboo flooring is available in many different finishes and colours.
Repurposed timber flooring
Repurposed timber flooring is more environment-friendly than new plantation-sourced timber, which takes nearly a full century to reach maturity. Reused planks are also effectively used in older houses, since they’re more likely to match with the original flooring. Unfortunately, they are difficult to source, which accounts for their premium pricing – repurposed timber is 20% more expensive than plantation timber boards. Repurposed timber typically needs to be ordered well ahead of time so that the desired species can be properly sourced.
Image: Spotted gum timber flooring