Once you have decided to install timber floors in your home, you still have a number of decisions to make. As timber floors can last for decades, it is important to choose floorboards that suit both your practical needs and your decorating style. Here are a few things to consider.
When it comes to durability, the best types of wood for a timber floor are oak, cherry, and maple. These woods are all hard woods, which do not scratch or stain easily. The downside of a hardwood timber floor is that it can be relatively expensive to install.
Pine is a more affordable type of wood to use in a timber floor. Pine floors scratch more easily than hardwood floors, but you can get rid of these scratches by sanding the floor down every so often and refinishing it.
Once you have decided on the type of wood you want to use for your hardwood floor, you must decide how to finish it. You can use paint, oil or varnish. Of these options, paint offers the highest protection against scratching, but it does not allow the natural beauty of the wood to shine through. Many people paint pine floors to protect them, choosing a paint colour that matches their decorating palette.
If you prefer to cultivate a more natural style, oil is best for showing off the natural wood grain. It provides a very thin layer of protection for the wood, which means you need to take care not to drag furniture across the floor or wear spike-heeled shoes which might scratch it.
A good compromise between paint and oil is varnish, which provides a medium amount of protection while leaving the grain visible.
Choose lighter shades of timber if you want to make a small room appear lighter. Meanwhile, dark timber floors create a dramatic, formal appearance in larger rooms. Medium-toned floors are often best if you want to avoid dirt and dust showing up too prominently.
Timber floorboards come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Choose narrow floorboards for a more traditional style. Wider, shorter boards appear more modern. Parquet floors, which are composed of multiple small boards arranged at right angles to each other, are back in fashion after many years of being out of style. If you need to make a small room appear larger, opt for long floorboards over a complicated parquet style.