The process of choosing, laying and coating a timber floor without error can be confusing. If not completed correctly it can not only ruin the look of the floor but also be extremely costly, time consuming and a headache to rectify.
The beauty, and one of the many benefits of timber flooring, is that it brings the natural environment into our internal living space.
With timber flooring applications, ‘getting it right’ the first time is essential to avoiding problems later on. For instance, the weather can alter the property of your timber floor so there needs to be an allowance for possible expansion. This highlights one of the reasons there is a need for correct installation.
Also, deciding on which timber or timber related product to use is important as it changes the aesthetic of the room. There are several options, including solid strip flooring, prefinished solid strip, engineered and parquetry. You can also use a timber related product such as laminate, cork tiles or bamboo flooring. Each will give a different look and will need to be administered differently.
The Australasian Timber Flooring Association (ATFA) can help with guidance and an accredited company in your area.
Irrespective of the flooring product being installed there are three essential elements to a successful installation – know your product, know your installation environment and know the limitations of the product. Once you've worked out these things, the product can be laid appropriately and with confidence.
Another consideration is sanding and coating. Some products are designed to be sanded and coated after installation, while some products are pre-finished. Laminate for example can never be sanded. Ensuring you know the product you are dealing with will alleviate any angst about how to finish it.
Overall, the main keys to success are knowing your product and checking it prior to laying, being confident through assessment that your subfloor is right to accept the floor, and then laying the floor to suit the requirements of the product for the installation environment it is being laid in. Provision for floor movement after installation is a must and not an owner option. Recognised systems and installation methods are those that work and assist to ensure success with each and every floor installation.
ATFA has compiled a comprehensive brochure,Timber Flooring Applications – Getting it right the first time, with the support of Forest and Wood Products Australia. This brochure touches on many facets of demystifying timber floors and much more. It can be downloaded here.