Hardwood flooring is fantastic. As well as being beautiful and versatile, cleaning hardwood floors takes mere minutes and, if installed correctly, the floor will last decades. It is no wonder so many of our clients opt for hardwood when choosing new flooring. Here is what you need to think about if you are considering getting hardwood floors.
Solid Hardwood or Engineered Hardwood?
There are two main types of hardwood floor: solid and engineered. Solid, as the name implies, is a single-layer plank of wood cut from a tree. When you think of “traditional” wooden floors you’re thinking of solid hardwood floors. Normally 2cm thick, each board is installed by nailing it to a wooden subfloor. It is good for heavy footfall areas as it can be sanded back and refinished many times over its lifetime without suffering any adverse effects, and in houses with low moisture content as moisture causes wood to expand and warp.
Engineered hardwood is a clever sandwich of MDF and plywood finished with a top layer of hardwood. It is not laminate. Because the top layer is thinner than solid wood it can only withstand being sanded back and refinished once or twice, however it is not susceptible to warping and can be used in bathrooms and kitchens. It is more versatile than solid floors as it can be laid over a floating floor, and can be used in units.
How Hard is “Hard”?
The resistance of wood is determined by the Janka hardness test, where the force required to embed a ballbearing into a piece of wood is measured. The higher the number, the harder the wood. At the top end of the scale are woods like Ironbark, Greybox, strand-woven bamboo, Brazilian walnut, and Turpentine. In the middle is spotted gum, Sydney blue gum, Blackbutt, and Jarrah; while the softest wood used for flooring includes Tasmanian Oak, Victorian Ash, and Cypress pine.
The durability of your floor will also be determined by the type and quality of the finish. Polyurethane finish gives a high shine which can make scratches and dings more obvious. Oil finishes are incresingly popular as their matt appearance camouflages imperfections. You can find both solid and engineered wood floors to suit all budgets.
How to Care for Your Hardwood Floor
Once it is in and installed caring for your hardwood floor is easy. Sweep or vacuum regularly to prevent small pieces of grit scratching, use felt pads under furniture, and have a good doormat to help prevent dirt getting brought in. Avoid walking on your floors in high-heeled shoes, make sure the kids leave their footy boots outside, and keep pets’ claws trimmed. Wipe up any spills immediately as moisture can dull the finish of the floor, and don’t use water or standard floor cleaner to clean them.