What Does Type Mean?
Wood flooring is available in two construction types. One type is made from whole wood, while a close variant is made from wood together with supplementary material. The two may look the same, but react differently in certain circumstances.
Solid Wood Flooring
Where To Fit Solid – In area of high foot traffic such as commercial properties OR if you anticipate wanting to sand and recoat the floor down the line.
Engineered Wood Flooring
Where To Fit Engineered – It is more versatile than the previous type and can be fitted across the entire property. In particular engineered wood flooring are popular as wood flooring in the bathroom and kitchen areas as well over underfloor heating. Solid wood flooring will quickly damage in these conditions from expansion and contraction.
What Does Grade Mean?
Natural wood displays visual characteristics such as sapwood, knots and mineral streaks. How many or how few are present in the wood is defined based on grade. Therefore ‘grade’ should never be confused with ‘quality’ it is merely a visual indication. There are four common grades and the decision whether to prefer one over the other is completely down to your taste and suitability in the interior.
Rustic Grade – The basic grade is the rustic or country style grade as you may come across it. Each plank features plenty of sapwood, knots and mineral streaks contributing to a rural look. Rustic is also the most affordable grade of the four.
Each floorboard, whether solid or engineered and regardless of grade is coated in a clear chemical designed to protect the floor from misuse and wear. In the past Wax was commonly used, however it attracted dust and was quicker to wear. Nowadays options and combination are based on oil or lacquer finish.
Lacquered Finish – This finish is popular in areas where the floor is exposed to UV light or wet conditions (kitchen and bathroom for example). It does not flow into the wood, but remains on the top thereby creating a strong barrier between the wood and the exterior. The lacquer finish will often result in a slight glossy look.
Consumers are encouraged to source natural products such as wood from sustainable sources. In the case of wood (for flooring, furniture and other uses), an organisation called the FSC accredits vendors who prove ethical and responsible sourcing. Their woods originate from managed forests in which new trees are planted to replace these that have been used. When buying FSC certified wood, you are protecting habitats and the environment.
We hope this information helps.
Written by Jonathan Sapir who is the MD of Wood and Beyond. London based FSC certified timber seller offering wood flooring, decking and solid wood worktops.