Flooring has the most design impact in any interior space. Pick the right floor, everything else will fall perfectly into place. We believe floors should always be the first thing you add to your blank canvas because it will immediately set the feel and tone you want to achieve for your design. But with so many options, what do you look for when buying wood floors? What makes a floor good quality? Should you buy engineered wood floors or solid wood floors?
These days we are spoilt with choices more so than we did a decade ago. The use of fuming techniques and reactive chemicals has allowed mankind to experiment with colours and textures. The general rule of thumb is that light floors will make a room look spacious. In contrast, dark wood floors, the cosier it makes a room. Grey wood flooring works well with many interiors as the grey colour can compliment most other colours.
You will be surprised how easy it is for colours to clash. Create a mood board by ordering samples of your floor, worktop, kitchen units, paint and fabrics, once you see them together they will start to tell you if its working or not. If you are the more digital kind Pinterest is a good place to start compiling your favourite products. Visit our Pinterest page for inspiration.
Non-patterned floors will make a room look more open. The wider the floor, the less busy it will look and hence the more spacious a room will feel. On the other hand, patterned floors are interesting as they will add a layer of depth to the space. Certain patterns, chevron for example can still create a space with clean lines without compromising on the illusion of space.
Finally use the same wood floors to create uniformity throughout the house. You could use the same colours and different patterns to break up rooms creatively whilst letting the rooms flow more freely and generously.
Tip: Parquet may be in vogue now but you can still have an interesting floor with mixed width planks or try very narrow long strips.
Learn more about Planks & Parquet Patterns
This is often asked in our London wood floor showrooms and often the answer is engineered. As wood flooring specialists we love working with timber in its simplest form, however there are 2 main disadvantages with solid oak, firstly solid wood floors are not suitable for underfloor heating.
Secondly the choice available in solid oak is very limited from grade, sizes and colours. A huge advantage with engineered is stability as the multiple layers of wood are used to counteract movements in the timber.
A good quality finished floor is one that has been treated multiple of times with layers of treatments so the wood is well protected for years to come. A well treated floors will ensure that your floors look better for longer. For example, a quality lacquer can have as many as 7-8 coats to provide a hard wearing finish.
There are pros and cons to both lacquer or oil finish. The key difference is that oiled floors require regular applications of maintenance oil to be applied approximately every 2 years depending on the traffic, maybe more for busy areas like kitchens and hallways. The plus side to an oiled floor is that they can keep going for a very long time if the oil in the floor is maintained. A lacquer floor requires less maintenance but when you do want to refinish the floor, a complete sand and seal is required. However, if you choose a high quality floor it should last decades before sanding is required.
At Urbane Living our emphasis is to provide products that are built to last. Old and slow growth timbers will provide harder and more stable timber.
A high quality floor usually has good widths and average lengths of over 2 meters. This shows the floor has come from matured wood as opposed to younger trees. The thicker the wear layer is, the longer lasting the floor will be. A 4mm wear layer for example can be sanded down 2-3 times and will last for decades if not generations, if looked after carefully.
Illegal deforestation is a major global issue and pose serious threats to our planet. It is important to ensure that the wood floors you choose has come from a sustainable forest that are well managed. There are certifications you can look out for such as FSC and PEFC with stringent monitoring process that allows the wood to be traced all the way back to the forests.
Carbon footprint is important too. The farther the wood floors have travelled from, the greater the carbon footprint it has created in the process of getting the wood floors to you. We all have the means to minimise the environmental impact in our choices. Buy sustainably so collectively we can make a difference.