There are mainly 4 types of timber flooring available on the market today – laminate floor, engineered floor, bamboo floor and solid (hardwood) timber floor. Before installing a timber floor, it is important to know about the pros and cons of each of them to help you choose the right floor for your project.
Laminate floor is made by compressing layers of fiberboard together and placing a photographic image of wood grain, stone, or tile pattern over the fiberboard. After the image is added to the surface, a protective coating is added to help prevent damage and add a finish to the flooring.
Laminate floor is very famous for its incredible wear resistance against scratches, burns, dents and stains. It is a cost effective option that will withstand a certain amount of wear (an average of 15 years). For an easy installation, opt for click-lock. The planks will snap together and can be laid over other flooring. It is ideal for living areas and bedrooms. The laminate comes in a variety of styles to match any decor. High quality laminate may even feature images of knots and other characteristics of natural wood.
However, even the top quality laminate floor will not match the look and feel of solid timber or hardwood floors. Laminate floor is easily damaged by moisture and the areas where the planks join will wear over time. When damage sets in, it is not an easy repair. If the laminate floor is not laid properly, it will not be appealing to potential renters or buyers.
Engineered Timber Floor
Engineered timber floor is made using three to four layers of wood glued together to produce a 14mm thick plank. A real wood surface about 4 mm in thickness is applied to the top to allow it to be sanded and refinished a certain number of times to remove signs of damage, wear, and tear.
The construction of engineered timber floor makes it a more dimensional stable product compared to laminate floor and solid timber floor. It can be installed in areas with higher moisture content as its dimensional stability can resist warping from changes in temperature and humidity conditions in the room. This type of flooring is more attractive than a laminate floor, and it is also less expensive than solid timber floors. Engineered timber floors come in a variety of styles to match any decor.
Bamboo floors come from bamboo grass stalks prominent in Asia. The floors are mainly produced in China, and come in a variety of styles and finishes to suit various decor options. Since it is a tropical grass as opposed to wood for trees, it is naturally resistant to moisture.
Bamboo flooring is a tough and beautiful flooring material being widely used as an excellent alternative to traditional solid timber or hardwood flooring. It is a quality product made from the shredded fiber strands of bamboo that are pressed together with an adhesive and finished with as many as six coats of aluminum oxide, giving your already extremely hard bamboo floor even more protection against surface wear or damage.
Bamboo floor is widely considered a more environmentally friendly floor product and an optimal choice for those who are looking to build “green.” The plant grows faster and does not take as long to re-grow than a typical hardwood tree, therefore not contributing to deforestation.
Solid Timber (Hardwood) Floor
Solid timber floor planks are made from a piece of wood and made to be anywhere from 18 to 20mm thick. The boards are made with a tongue and groove to fit together for installation. Depending on the type of wood, certain floors are harder than others. The harder the floor, the less susceptible it is to dents and scratches. The floor can be sanded and refinished several times to restore its beauty, with the total number of times being determined by the depth of the tongue from the top of the plank.
Solid timber floor is an excellent way to add visual appeal to a home or business. It will also add beauty and value to a home or business in the event it is put on the market later. Solid timber floor will swell in moist conditions and contract as the area dries. Installation is a complex process, and for the best appearance must be done with great care. This is the most expensive option for those shopping for solid timber floors. Prices will vary depending on the species of wood and the cost of the raw form.