For homeowners planning to install a new timber floor, it's vital you do your homework to ensure the right choices are made for the job.
According to Boral Timber marketing manager, Robyn Barnes, careful planning and research before spending a cent means achieving the best results and avoiding expensive surprises. Homeowners can make an informed decision and speed up the purchasing process by following sound planning advice.
"Before aesthetic considerations such as colour, timber species, grade and board width, it is important to think about the type of surface the new floor will be laid over," suggested Barnes. "Some floor surfaces, such as ceramic tiles, may require removal or levelling to ensure a structurally sound, level subfloor."
The subfloor also determines the product options homeowners can choose from. Where a structural timber flooring product is required traditional, 19mm solid strip tongue and groove boards can be laid over bearers and joists while solid overlay boards must be used when laying directly onto an existing floor covering like concrete or timber.
Block parquetry, provides the ability to create custom patterns and designs and pre-finished Australian hardwood floor avoids the mess and time associated with sanding and finishing. An ideal solution for apartments and single room renovations, the speedy installation allows occupants to walk on the floor within hours.
Sound proofing is also important for timber floors on the upper levels of a house or in apartments.
Poor subfloor ventilation should be addressed prior to installation as it can damage timber floors in the long term. To keep under-floor areas dry, the installation of air vents and site drainage may be needed.
Ahead of installation, homeowners should also factor in time for solid timber to acclimatise (the process of allowing the timber to take up the same moisture content as its surroundings) in the home before it is laid. Various conditions such as heaters, air conditioning or direct sunlight can affect the moisture content of the floor.
Decisions about the timber's strength, density, hardness, wear-ability, and colour will depend on where the floor will be laid in the house and the level of foot traffic it will experience.
"Timber colour is an aesthetic choice based on the homeowner's personal tastes and preferences. Generally, the colour will be determined by the timber species and there will be natural variations even within the one species. The true colour of a floor will only be revealed after it has been sanded and coated with a chosen finish," said Barnes.