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11 May

timber flooring in living room

Engineered Timber flooring – the rules for getting it right

A wooden floor can be one of the warmest, most elegant details in a home, bringing nature into your indoor environment. Nature can be tricky though, and if you choose the wrong floor for your climate, or if it’s not installed properly, pretty soon your beautiful floorboards may be warping and twisting. Happily, with engineered timber flooring, it’s easy to get it right and enjoy years and years of wood underfoot – just follow these rules:

Buy properly constructed flooring

For a stable floor, the right construction is everything. Solid wood is prone to warping but good quality engineered timber flooring planks are laminated, often with a dense-grained wood underneath, such as rubber wood, and a durable, attractive surface layer like oak. Multiple layers avoid the dangers of warping and delamination which can be a problem with some of the lower quality options on the market. One way to tell well-engineered flooring planks is that they don’t have to acclimatise on-site before installation because the materials have been properly dried before construction.

beech timber flooring

At Coolum Tile & Stone Studio, we stock engineered timber flooring made according to a 50-year-old patented design – in other words, tried and tested!

Install a floating floor

As with all our flooring options, we recommend using a professional for installation to ensure the result is perfect. Multi-layered timber planks are designed to work best when ‘floating’ on top of an underlay laid over the subfloor. Being a natural material, the wood will expand and contract slightly as the ambient temperature changes. A floating installation allows these slight movements rather than trying to force the wood to behave unnaturally.

Beware of moisture

Moisture and damp are facts of life, especially in a tropical or subtropical climate. Use an underlay for your timber floor that includes a PVC moisture barrier. This will protect the wood from normal amounts of moisture rising from the subfloor. (That said, no underlay will protect against full-on rising damp – you need to tackle that properly before even thinking about installing a timber floor!)

As for moisture from above, normal spills won’t trouble an engineered timber floor with a UV-stabilised lacquer finish. Just mop them up and you’re done. But don’t put a wooden floor down in your bathroom or other space with an artificially high humidity.

Think about sound

If you are considering engineered timber flooring and sound may be an issue – for example, if you live in a unit block – then the solution is to lay a specialist acoustic underlay which will absorb the sound and not bounce it back around the room. Look for an underlay that combines acoustic-deadening properties with a moisture barrier, then you’re only laying one!

Keep it clean and maintained

These days, there’s no need for regular waxing or other labour-intensive maintenance. A well-constructed, multi-layer timber floor just needs vacuuming and a once-over with a damp mop. No more difficult or time-consuming than any other flooring option. Even better, years down the line, you can always have it sanded and re-finished and it will look like a brand new floor.

Ask about the warranty

It’s all very well talking about multi-layer construction, special finishes, and no-warp stability but will the manufacturer put all that talk into a guarantee? We recommend (and stock) engineered timber flooring with a 30-year warranty against delamination.

Be responsible for the environment

As we’ve said, wood is a natural material and when sourced responsibly it can be the most renewable material in the world. However, because of its popularity, the demand for oak timber flooring in particular has led to large-scale illegal logging and trading. Ask about the source of your timber flooring; both the underlying base wood and the surface layer. Is it responsibly obtained from sustainable sources? Is it from FSC-certified forests? (FSC = Forest Stewardship Council, an international, non-profit organisation to promote responsible management of the world’s forests).  

A quality timber floor adds a touch of beauty and character to your home, totally transforming any space. For more in-depth advice on buying and installing a timber floor, visit the Coolum Tile & Stone Studio showroom at Quanda Park and talk to us, or contact us on 07 5446 2433 or info@coolumtss.com.au

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