Where To Start With Oak Flooring?
So you've decided you want an oak floor, but with such a wide variety of options available to you it can be difficult to know where to start. With this in mind, here are the key points you should consider when deciding what sort of oak floor you need.
Where Are You Fitting The Oak Floor?
The first place to start is to take a look at where you are fitting your oak floor and what you are fitting it onto. The reasons for this, is to establish what sort of environment your floor will be in once laid. This will help you decide whether you need solid or engineered oak flooring.
The key point to look at here is whether your area is likely to succumb to changes in temperature and humidity. Bathrooms, kitchens and conservatories are examples of areas where these changes can occur. In these areas, we would recommend the use of engineered oak flooring. This is because engineered boards are much less prone to movement caused by changeable conditions.
For more standard environments, such as a living area or bedroom, solid oak flooring is often sufficient. In these areas, you are a lot less likely to experience changes which could cause excessive movement.
The subfloor of your chosen area can also help you decide whether you require solid or engineered oak flooring. When laying onto joists or a wooden subfloor, solid oak flooring is often used. When laying onto subfloors such as concrete or underfloor heating, engineered oak flooring is used.
How Are You Fitting The Oak Floor
The next step is to establish how you are fitting your oak flooring. For solid oak flooring the secret screwing or nailing method is often used. It is worth noting that for wider solid oak boards, additional surface fixing is also recommended.
The look of surface fixing can be undesirable for some, so to overcome this we would again recommend engineered boards. In addition to the screwing or nailing methods, engineered oak flooring is often fitted using the glueing method or the floating floor method.
The glueing method involves using an appropriate flexible flooring adhesive to fully bond the boards to the subfloor. This method can also be used for solid oak floors, but boards no wider than 120mm.
With the floating floor method, the tongues and grooves of each board are glued together. This leaves no direct fixing to the subfloor. This method should only be used with engineered oak flooring.
What Width Of Board?
As mentioned above, the width of board can be influenced by how you plan to fit your oak floor. When choosing a width, the main point is to ensure that your choice is proportional to your room size - aswell as suiting your own preference. Too wide of boards in a small room, or too thin of boards in a large room, will often look unsightly.
What Grade Of Board?
One of the biggest influences in how your oak flooring will look is the grade of the board. Grading essentially refers to the range of knots and character which is present throughout the boards.
The board most full of character is the Barn grade which has knots, cracks, shakes, holes and colour variation. Next up is the character grade, which has a blend of knots and cracks as well as areas of perfectly grained oak. After which, comes the select grade, which consists of mainly clean oak, but with the occasional bit of character. Finally, the prime grade offers a board which is completely free from any character, providing a very uniform look.
Further to the more standard grades, there are also more unique grades available; such as the classic or the brown oak.
What Board Finish?
The final aspect to consider is the finish of the board. The finish chosen will not only affect the colour of the board, but also how hard wearing it is. With finishes, it is very much a case of personal preference and what looks best in your environment. When choosing oak flooring you will no doubt notice that some boards are provided prefinished and some are provided unfinished.
Prefinished oak flooring has already had some form of oil, wax or lacquer applied to the boards during production. This means once they are laid, the floor is complete.
With unfinished oak flooring, the boards will need to be finished once laid. With this option you are often able to achieve whatever finish you want.
As always, if you would like to discuss any aspect of oak flooring with us further, give us a call on 01538 304584.