Top Considerations When Choosing Wood Flooring

The choice of flooring in a home can really change the look and feel of a place. Do you go for carpet, stone, slate or wood? All of them have their advantages and disadvantages and will give a house a totally different style. Today I will concentrate on wooden flooring options for your home.

Real Wood or Laminate Flooring

If you feel wood is the choice for you, there’s the further decision of laminate or solid oak.

Solid oak is totally natural wood which has been cut and planed into planks ready to install. The solid oak flooring shows a natural grain which looks beautiful and can be enhanced by applying a number of oils and lacquers. These floor boards are available with a number of grain patterns with the contemporary friendly prime oak with minimal knots and character right through to the more traditional rustic style which keeps the knots to give a beautiful cottage effect.

Laminate flooring is effectively a printed image with a plastic coating to protect it, laminates have improved over the years to trick the eye into thinking that you are looking at real wood. This can obviously look very attractive and the price will be much lower but one thing to consider is the ‘wear layer’. Laminates can often reveal their chip board base with a minor scratch to the top surface.

Why pick solid oak floors over the others?

clear oiled prime solid oak flooringSolid Oak Flooring is a timeless material which adds warmth and luxury to most interior spaces, the natural grain gives the added reassurance of quality. It can be finished in all manner of tones and colours with many flooring oils available. Oils range from clear oil which displays the flooring in its near natural state right through to antique oils which dramatically change the colour of the wood and ebony which leaves the wood closer to black than the natural oak colour.

This versatility means that solid oak flooring matches almost any interior decoration. This is also very advantageous as your solid wood flooring is very likely to outlast your choice of wall paper or interior decoration a few times over.

This versatility and longevity can also add value and desirability if and when you finally come to selling your property. It is a well known fact that solid wood flooring can add value to your property as it is a blank canvas for the next owners. They can sand it back to its natural state or even use it as a solid base to cover it with a new alternative type of flooring.

What are the cons to solid oak flooring?

clear oiled rustic solid oak flooringThe cost of solid oak flooring is probably the only real disadvantage. Laminates are a lot easier to afford, but this flooring doesn’t last nearly as long and they start to look shabby fairly quickly. Oak can last indefinitely with proper care, and you can change the look, finish and stain of the natural wood.

The cost of solid oak flooring can be combated by selecting a thinner grade of flooring such as compromising from 20mm thick to 15mm thick. It is also a good idea to ask any flooring supplier what special offers they have on at any particular point. Flooring companies will often run large quantities of a profile and thickness to keep the price down and can often be left with a surplus.

How to maintain your oak floors.

Obviously installing solid wood flooring comes with a small amount of commitment to keep it maintained. Although your reward will be a beautiful floor that can be used and loved for decades to come.

Firstly, the wood needs time to adjust to its new environment before it’s installed. Different homes have different humidity and temperatures levels, wood expands with moisture and contacts with heat so it shouldn’t be fitted until it’s settled in. You may worry that the flooring could expand and contract to the point where it comes up but fitting techniques have improved over the years. Your fitter can glue the tongue and grooves together and lay the flooring as a floating floor which allows for the tiny bit of annual movement without suffering any problems.

To clean, the floors simply need to be swept and mopped with a wooden floor cleaner. Water is the worst enemy of wooden floors, so make sure spillages are dried up quickly by using paper towels. Areas with high traffic can show wear and which is easily maintained with wax and oil finishes, these can be freshly applied every few years to maintain the new floor feeling.


This article was written by Liam Pettinger who works for Heritage Doors and Floors LTD a Sheffield based Solid Oak Flooring company which specialises in the manufacture and retail of quality oak floors.