Whether in a full-on renovation or new construction, when it comes time to choose materials, the first is always the floor finish. This flooring has priority over the rest since it not only visually affects the entire house, as would the finish of the walls or ceilings, but it also has an additional sensory component, since we constantly step on it.
The sensation we have when stepping on one material or another varies drastically, from the warmth of the material to the touch, to the noise it makes when stepping on it, each material offers us a different sensation.
The variety of materials with which we can cover the floor of our home is immense, the most common ones are:
- Natural wood
- Laminates and vinyl
- Natural stone
Apart from these 5 materials mentioned, we can also find concrete floors, rubber-rubber, cork, textiles, and technical floors. But these finishes are rarely used in home interiors, so we will leave them for another future post.
Today, we’ll look in more detail at natural wood flooring.
To analyze the pros and cons of it, we are going to use 4 criteria: variety, functionality, installation, and maintenance.
Natural Wood Floors
Although there are hundreds of woods in the world, the woods used in flooring are somewhat more limited. Usually, we choose between pine, beech, oak, maple, ash, chestnut, walnut, cherry, ash, eucalyptus, elondo, jatoba or wenge.
The wood we choose will give us a type of grain and a base tone. If we want even more variety, we can use stains and varnishes to alter the colour, tone and shine of the wood. The thickness of these woods is usually between 1.5 and 2.5 cm.
When people think of nice material to step on barefoot, wood always comes to mind. The naturalness, comfort and warmth of this material make it very pleasant to walk on. But, although it stands out in tactile terms, it does not do so well in the acoustic aspect. Sound insulation experts from thebuildingcomplianceteam.com explain that wood, even if highly treated, will always be a natural material and as such undergoes great expansion and contraction, which increases the chances of causing noise when stepping on it.
Also, as it is an insulating material, its use is highly inadvisable if we have underfloor heating in our home, as it hinders the passage of heat, making the heating installation less efficient. Finally, wood is a very absorbent material and it is not recommended to use it in humid areas, such as bathrooms and kitchens.
There are mainly two types of wooden floors, wooden floors and parquet. The difference is that the parquet is made up of small slats making geometric tiles, while the floorboards are executed with larger boards and, although they can also be used to make shapes and drawings, they usually have only one direction.
The installation is quite simple, being able to choose between three different systems. We can use woods with click joints and place them on a 1-2 mm thick sheet or film that serves as a vapour barrier and acoustic insulator. Or, if we prefer, we can opt for the more classic solutions, stick the wood directly with an adhesive or glue, or nail it to a system of battens.
This is probably the most negative point of natural wood. A wooden floor requires a lot of care and if we want to keep it in an optimal state we will have to be aware that wood and water do not get along, so we will avoid using mops or damp rags to clean and we will limit ourselves to the use of vacuum cleaners or mops.
The good part is that, if our wooden floor wears or is scratched, we can sand and varnish and it remains as new (although we must bear in mind that this process can only be done 2 or 3 times).
So, in short, natural wood flooring is a lifetime investment which will add elegance and durability to your home.