Timber Do You Know Your Type?

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Updated: February 11, 2020

Timber flooring has many different names and styles and sometimes it can be hard to distinguish the faux from the real making us question if our floorboard choices are faux real?

There is misleading terminology when referring to timber flooring such as ‘hybrid’ or ‘hard flooring’, which is typically made up of plastic and is not as sustainable as other timber flooring options on the market.

Solid timber flooring is exactly as it sounds, ‘solid’, and can normally be identified by the end grain running throughout the entire depth of the board.

Solid timber flooring is currently trending in the market and is 19mm thick and traditionally installed direct to floor joists, which differs from overlay solid timber flooring which is typically 10mm to 14mm and installed on plywood or particleboard.

If you’re short on time and still looking for solid timber flooring then a pre-finished overlay product is what you are looking for as you will save time on sanding and finishing.

Finally, the most decorative form in the solid timber-flooring category is parquetry and allows for a myriad of patterns meaning you can change the composition and atmosphere of any room without much effort elsewhere. This form of solid timber flooring is available in both block parquetry and mosaic parquetry and is available in different thicknesses.

Similar to the other types of solid timber flooring listed, you will be able to distinguish the composition of the board by the end grain running the entire way through. Contrary to speculation, solid timber can be used in apartments with the right system of compliant acoustic underlay.

While solid timber floor products will cost a little more than other options, they are low maintenance and when cared for correctly will last a lifetime.

As the name implies, engineered timber flooring is a product that has been specifically engineered to retain an element of solid timber flooring, on a base of plywood, block core layer or other material.

When looking at the board you can see a veneer of solid timber flooring, which can vary in thickness between 0.6mm up to 6mm thick.

Naturally, the thicker the veneer of the engineered timber floor the greater the longevity of the product and a thicker veneer (the lamella) can be sanded, potentially a number of times, just like solid timber flooring.

Engineered timber flooring most often comes as a prefinished product. However, it can also be obtained in the raw and finished in-situ.

Thinner veneer products are cheaper, can be lightly sanded and resealed but will not sustain a heavy sand.

When it comes to installing engineered flooring, it can be installed on a plywood or particleboard subfloor, or in apartments ideally will need to be installed on an underlay as a floating floor, however the underlay must be an acoustic underlay compliant with the body corporate regulations or the National Construction Code (whichever is applicable to the building).

Cork is technically the bark of the cork tree and not actually timber and yes, it is the same material that wine bottle corks are traditionally made from. Cork is available in sheet or tile format and these days can be obtained in decorative formats and can be purchased pre-finished or in the raw.

Bamboo flooring is predominantly produced in China and is predominantly offered in a strand woven format that is not a timber, but instead actually grass.

Bamboo is moderately priced and can be floated or adhesive fixed and can be sanded and refinished.

Strand woven bamboo can also come in an engineered format, the price doesn’t vary much, but it is less reactive to seasonal shrinkage and swelling.

Laminate flooring is a photographic image of timber flooring in a plastic layer adhered to a substrate such as HDF – it is a faux product trying to replicate the look of timber. Laminate has a cheaper price point and is designed to be installed as a floating floor on an underlay.

If you want a floor that will last, has real warmth and the feel of timber then solid timber flooring, parquetry or engineered timber flooring are for you in comparison to cork, which has a decorative and practical function for the right space.

If you’re looking for a ‘timber look-alike’ at a cheaper price point, you have the options of bamboo, laminate or hybrid.

It is recommended to check the EPA credentials of products you are looking to purchase.

To become a member or if you require any advice please call ATFA on 1300 361693

For more information visit www.floorchoices.com.au