Traditional solid floorboards that need sanding and polishing once installed definitely has a terrific look, is liked by almost everyone and will never go out of style. Although solid floorboards can be installed directly over a cement surface I would definitely recommend having the flooring installed over 15mm plywood sub flooring or a batten system to ensure the best results. Traditional solid floorboards can come in a variety of thicknesses from 13mm to 25mm although 19mm thick x 80mm wide is the most commonly stable size used.
Remove the carpet from your concrete or plywood staircase and make it a stunning feature of your home by installing beautifully polished timber to the treads and risers. Other materials we specialise in can also be used to clad staircase so to match the adjoining floors, such as: cork tiles, laminate panels, prefinished engineered flooring, parquetry, traditional solid floorboards and solid pieces of sculpted timber planks to clad an existing staircase.
Engineered pre-finished flooring has improved a lot since the concept first came onto the Australian market in the 80’s and it’s definitely worth serious consideration. I have found the Big River and Readyflor range of products (Both trusted Australian Companies) to be priced well while also being the most stable products on the market at the moment.
One of the great things about pre-finished flooring is that there are no secrets to what the final result will look like, they are affordable to most peoples budget and there are no delays with acclimatisation, subfloor installations, height issues and sanding and finishing. However, like all products there are differences that should be considered such as the timber used for the veneered base, ease of installation or repairs, quality of surface finish and market feedback concerning problems and warrantees issues.
Pre-finished flooring is available in tongue and grooved panels with one, two or three rows of flooring glued onto them in various widths. Personally I would not recommend the three rows per panel style unless you’re after a parquetry brick-bond pattern look or your budget is really tight. The flooring pieces come in various lengths with a veneered base that is not made of a soft pine species, so it is more stable and they look terrific.
This style of flooring can be safely installed directly to a moisture proofed cement or existing tiled surface or timber sub flooring without the use of nails using a special expanding adhesive so the floor sounds solid to walk on. Another method of installation suitable for some flooring products that is quicker and less expensive is to glue the tongue and grooves together with a PVA adhesive (or click together if designed to do so) and “float” the timber flooring over a foam underlay to cushion the impact when being walked on. The “floating” method relies on the weight of the timber product to keep in place.
Laminate flooring is a printed artist’s impression of a timber floor. Laminate flooring will give you the feel of having the “Rolls Royce” of flooring at a fraction of the price… but beware… YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!
Personally if I was purchasing a laminated flooring product I would ensure it had a raised grain effect and have only one row of timber plank printed on each panel so to make the floor look as realistic as possible.
As with any engineered flooring product there are differences that should be considered such as the locking system on the ends and edges, ease of installation, quality of surface finish, availability to source the product colour and pattern in years to come in case repairs are required or other rooms are to be done.
The advantages of laminated timber flooring is that there are no secrets to what the final result will look like, they are cheap and no delays with acclimatisation, subfloor installations, height issues and sanding and finishing.
Bamboo is not actually timber as it is actually a species of grass. All bamboo flooring comes from Asia and is basically just a resin panel containing strips of grass (Bamboo Stalks). The stalks are striped, glued and squished together into a rock hard resin plank. Personally I would never choose to have bamboo flooring unless I was attempting to have an oriental interior design look, as it would then be more suitable than timber. The lighter golden coloured bamboo planks with more stalk joins being more popular with most architects and designers. Bamboo flooring looks unique and looks very beautiful with the right combination of colour and authentic Asian furniture.
Keep in mind that bamboo flooring should NEVER be glued directly to cement without a moisture barrier even is the moisture readings are below 5.5%. It should also be known that bamboo flooring is more difficult to sand and polish, so it will cost more to fix if you need to down the track.
Boarders in any timber or cork floor look awesome and deserve serious consideration when choosing your floor design. Boarder designs can be a subtle effect if the same species of timber is used, so to blend in with the rest of the floor a bit more.
One of my favourite floor designs is to lay the flooring on a forty-five degree angle with a 12mm black pin stripe cork inlay then a one floorboard wide border around the perimeter in the same species as the middle of the floor. This design is not over the top and really gives off the WOW factor. It is definitely a floor people will comment on and to be proud of having chosen.
With floorboards a one or two plank wide boarder using the same timber as the rest of the floor is my first choice and recommendation.
With parquetry floors the options I would consider really depend on the floor pattern in the middle of the floor body. There are many fancy laser cut options available if you can afford it. However, most of the time I think a simple two or three brick bond border or a short soldier border looks best in two different coloured species.
With cork flooring a different shade or style of cork tile cut to 30 percent width looks smart. The other option that looks great for cork is to use a coloured timber species 20mm wide as an inlayed boarder strip “pin stripe” once the cork has been laid.
Inlays can be used as a main feature in the entrance of a home or corporate building. One project I did in a large home in Sanctuary Cove used inlay designs positioned under tables and couches to give a Persian Carpet look. It turned out looking like a masterpiece!
Some inlays are pre fabricated and can look very fancy being cut with lasers to get the intricate patterns and optical elusions perfect.
Parquetry instantly gives a room a royalty vibe, makes the flooring a talking point and looks very classy. Parquetry can be found in many castles, mansions and manors around Europe. Parquetry flooring comes in boxes containing individual blocks cut to the same size. Block parquetry is normally only available in 14mm and 19mm thicknesses, with the most common dimensions for a piece of block parquetry being 260mm x 65mm x 19mm thick. Sometimes manufactures will market “Mini” and “Jumbo” block parquetry to meet trends and the market demand.
The most common patterns that are installed tend to be “Staggered Brick Bond”, “Double Herringbone” and “Square on Square”. However, there are many more patterns to consider using such as…
• Haddon Hall
• Random Brick Bond
• Single Herringbone
• Triple Herringbone
• Basket Weave
Mosaic parquetry was big in the 70’s and early 80’s as a cheaper alternative to the regal looking block and plank parquetry flooring seen in castles and manors around Europe. Mosaic parquetry is only available in a 9mm thick “fingers” in a sheet held together by string or more commonly tape or wax paper these days. Mosaic parquetry used to be available in a variety of patterns but due to its decline in popularity it’s only available in a basic “Square on Square” pattern these days.
Cork flooring is very underrated and most people are unaware of the colourful trendy options possible due to the lack of experienced installers around. Cork is the perfect choice of flooring for any wet area you may consider using normal hard ceramic tiles. Although cork is mostly used in Kitchens and Meals Areas it also looks fantastic in all the other areas of a home. Cork is cool in summer, warm in winter and very comfortable to stand on while spending hours on your feet cooking, cleaning and entertaining. Cork flooring is very durable, so that favourite plate or glass will normally survive the impact and even bounce up if dropped leaving the floor undamaged.
If you are considering having kids or already have little ones crawl around the house, then cork flooring is definitely the best flooring option for your family as it soft, impact proof, reduces noise, breakages and vibration. Cork flooring like timber and laminate is also much healthier than carpets and is very durable.
It’s also worth acknowledging that cork is the only tree that after every harvest regenerates itself. Cork oak has a protective, thin layer of inner bark that gives it the ability to regenerate, thus it can survive the debarking process making it a great environmental choice.
SKIRTING BOARDS & TRIMS
Timber and laminated flooring requires expansion joins and expansion gaps that can be covered with timber trims or skirting boards. For laminated flooring and staircases metal trims made of aluminium are normally used. These metal trims can come in a “timber look wrap” or the cheaper ones are available in gold, silver or bronze.
Sometimes the new flooring height will not match the existing floor so customised reducer strips can be made out of timber and polished with a floor to ramp down or up to the existing floor level. These timber ramps look great and are a nice carpentry feature. Laminated flooring ramps are normally made of aluminium. These ramps come in a “timber look wrap” or the cheaper ones are available in gold, silver or bronze.