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A guide to decision making with wood flooring

Wooden floors make a fabulous addition to any Liverpool home. They enhance the aesthetic of all rooms in the house, and wood, unlike other flooring materials is cool, classy, and actually looks better as it ages.

Wood flooring might be a more expensive material than laminate, for instance, but its hardiness and timelessness make it a great investment.

Here are some things you might want to think about before you take the leap into acquiring a wooden floor:

What type of wood is it best to use?

Popular wood choices are usually what we call hardwoods. Oak, cherry, mahogany, and maple are all hardwoods that are commonly used around the house. Bamboo is another good, sustainable choice. Tropical woods such as mesquite and teak are more expensive, but come in beautiful golden orange colours.

What finish do you want on your floor?

If you choose wood flooring that has been pre-finished – that is, sanded sealed and varnished in the factory – it is quick and easy to install and there is no need to wait for hours for the floor to dry before you can move your furniture back in.

If you want to add your own touch of style, you may opt for unfinished wood. You can use a stain to enhance the colour and several layers of varnish to protect it. While this certainly takes more time than using a finished wood, varnishing wood at home once it is installed is a great way to make sure that gaps or cracks between planks are well sealed. In places like bathrooms or kitchens where water splashes are common, using unfinished wood in this way offers better long-term protection.

Do you want engineered or solid wood?

Solid wood flooring is the name given to planks of wood with a thickness of 18-20mm made from a single piece of wood.

Engineered wood, on the other hand, comprises several layers glued together at right angles with a real wood veneer. This makes individual planks more level, and easier to install. Though hardy, they are less versatile than solid wood and can only be sanded and planed a few times in their lifetime. Solid wood planks, on the other hand, can withstand a lot of treatment over the years.

Engineered wood is usually less expensive than solid wood, but solid wood can be picked up cheaply in local Liverpool salvage yards. Old wood has a lot of character. Salvaged wood also has the advantage of being more ethical than new wood.

If you do go for new wood flooring, you must make sure it is from a sustainable source. Sustainable woods come from forests where the rate of replanting is twice the rate of felling. Thanks to European Union directives about sustainability, buying your wood from Europe is usually a safer bet than buying wood from very far overseas. Look out for the Forestry Stewardship Council certificate to be certain that your wood is from a recognisably sustainable source.

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