There are things in our homes that we do not use every day and it’s quite common to spend rather lavish amounts of money and time selecting these products to ensure that they are good quality, despite the fact that they are not in constant use. But when it comes to flooring, it seems everyone is in a hurry to pick a carpet and be done with it. Sadly, this isn’t the best way to get the most from your money.
This isn’t to say there is anything intrinsically wrong with carpets, but they simply aren’t as cost effective or durable as solid wood floors. Carpets become threadbare, whilst wooden floors simply gain in character.
But with hundreds of options in timber for wooden floors available, many people either make snappy decisions without really researching their choices. And as we previously mentioned, this isn’t necessarily the best way to get the most from your flooring.
So we’re going to look at three of the most popular options for solid wooden flooring, why they’re popular and what makes them excellent choices for your homes. As ever there is a level of subjectivity surrounding the right choices to make regarding your solid wooden floorboards.
It is unlikely that the first wood to pop into your head will be maple. Maple is an unusual wood for floorboards, but particularly popular among people that do their research. It seems an even odder choice when you consider that pine, a far more common wood, with a very similar appearance, is cheaper.
Why wouldn’t you go for the cheaper wood, if they basically look the same? Quality. Pine is fine. It is a good choice for a lot of people; because it is an evergreen tree, pine grows quickly, meaning the cost is significantly less than slow growing, hard-wood trees like oak. But ultimately, maple wood offers its user a better durability. Maple is a hard-wood, very hard in fact, and that makes it an excellent choice for people who want the look of pine but with better longevity.
Another wood that has been growing in popularity since the Western influx of minimalism is bamboo. Bamboo is a funny one, because it is cheap, easily renewable and well renowned for its strength. It isn’t technically a hard wood, but it certainly has a lot of durability, if you manage to pick the right type.
You see, bamboo, much like most woods, is prone to slightly differengrades, although they aren’t called grades in bamboo. Darker bamboos tend to be softer, whilst lighter wood bamboo tends to be harder.
Bamboo is often picked because it is cheaper than most normal wood and it is praised for its ecologically friendly production. In addition, it has better water resistance and it looks simply fantastic. One of the main drawbacks of bamboo, however, is making sure it remains fantastic, because it tends to scuff quite easily despite its excellent durability.
Last, but far from being the least, oak. Oak is by far one of the most popular options for wooden flooring and it has been for centuries. Oak is durable and strong, it’s a darker, luxurious wood and if you should so desire, you can have it engineered for greater longevity.
The most obvious drawback of oak is its cost. Because oak is a slow growing tree it is much harder to come by than the other woods mentioned here, but the price is generally considered well worth the investment, because your floors, if well cared for, can easily last a lifetime.
Featured images: Image author owned
Stephen MacVicar is the Founder of one of the South East’s leading flooring specialists – Green Apple Flooring.