For many decades, wood flooring has been an unbeatable choice for house flooring. Customers are drawn to the idea of installing wooden flooring because it provides warmth and beauty that is probably unrivalled by other flooring options.
Wooden flooring comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, styles, types, costs and flooring materials while the pros and cons can differ widely. Let us put a word of caution, it is generally not that cheap. That is not, however, a hindrance to upgrading the overall mood of your property if you want to refurbish your house with lavish-looking interiors, which are conceivable with wooden flooring.
In this article, we aim to provide a comprehensive guidelines to assist you as you prepare for the purchase.
Types of Wood Flooring
As the name suggests, hardwood flooring is purely made of 100 percent solid wood which comes in different types:- nyatoh, balau, merbau, belian, kempas, chengal and Burmese Teak, to name a few.
Solid wood flooring or hardwood flooring is a common preference for many users who are captivated by the natural tone it radiates. Traditional hardwood flooring pairs well with a wide variety of decorative objects in your home because of its neutral colour.
The hardwood flooring is available for installation in two ways: unfinished or prefinished. In terms of pricing, unfinished hardwood is comparatively cheaper but the subsequent processes of mild sanding or staining followed by post-installation sealing can significantly increase your cost.
Though the price range can be slightly expensive, prefinished hardwood flooring is ready to be installed and for immediate use. You can walk, jump or even dance on a newly installed prefinished hardwood flooring.
This may not be the case for unfinished hardwood floors, as the sealant for this choice of flooring must dry for at least 48 hours. Unfinished hardwood flooring typically needs additional coatings. An advantage of unfinished hardwood flooring is that they are flexible for staining or sealing to our own taste.
Please keep in mind that hardwood must be nailed on wooden floors, surfaces or subfloors since hardwood is not designed to come into direct contact with concrete or anything other than wood at the top of your floor.
Re-sanding extends the lifespan and overall appearance of the hardwood flooring. But sadly, as the problem with any other flooring, it’s not recommended in wet floor types or wet surroundings like bathrooms. If you insist, then the popular option would be anti-termite wood species such as merbau, kempas, Burmese teak or thebalau.
The average price range for hardwood flooring can be RM30 per sqft, excluding labour charges.
Engineered Wood Flooring
The popularity of engineered wood flooring is far higher, viewed as an alternative to hardwood flooring and often preferred by most consumers.
Although the layers of plywood (nearly 75%) make up the bottom layers of engineered wood, the topmost layer is made up of a layer of wood that provides real wood-like comfort. This is also what differentiates solid hardwood from engineered wood. This method replaces the traditional laminated wood which allows the engineered wood flooring durable and resistant to minor damages like scratches.
With an average price range of RM20 per sqft, the engineered wood is an affordable flooring material and the installation process is considered user-friendly and faster. Due to different variations, the engineered wood adapts to different installation methods as well. One of the biggest advantages of engineered wood is that it can be either nailed or act as floating floors, eliminating the need for screws and nails. Installing a floating floor will be easier if the surface is levelled and strong enough to sustain the weight.
It is advised that light sanding is performed once or twice a year.
Laminate flooring is quite distinctive from how hardwood or engineered wood is manufactured but it is a common type of flooring on the market. It may contain, or be an exact simulation of, wood. Benefits of laminate flooring include scratch-resistant, cost-effective and ease of installation, the laminate wood flooring displays the image of a wood which can usually be seen in several layers of long planks.
The downside of laminate wood flooring is that they are prone to moisture-related defects, which typically renders them an unattractive choice due to their inability to maintain durability. In case of any damages, the entire flooring needs to be changed since repairing, patching or sanding would not suffice. However, if the damage is minimal like a slight dent, they are replaceable. In addition, it can be slippery too. The average price range of laminate flooring is RM8 per sqft.
Bamboo flooring belongs to the family of hardwood and is a highly preferred type of flooring material as a substitute for hardwood, primarily due to environmental reasons.
With an average price of RM 20 per sqft, the bamboo flooring oozes a tenderness akin to real wood. The easy-installation process and its extended lifespan make it all the more attractive. What’s more, if you are ever planning to sell your house, bamboo flooring can be a value-increasing selling point.
The gentle textures of bamboo flooring make it an excellent choice for children’s flooring.
Wood-Look Ceramic Tile
Wood-look ceramic tiles are great faux-wood flooring if you ever want to consider some alternatives with a limited budget.
Variations in sizes, ranging from 4 to 16-inch square, give you the liberty to design according to your preferences and likings. This also allows you to simulate an authentic appearance of wood. Unlike real wood, ceramic tiles are totally waterproof although the simulation is not exactly accurate as it is with laminate flooring.
Luxury Vinyl Plank flooring
Also known as LVP, it closely resembles natural wood. Normally, the preferred installation method is as a floating floor which comes in long planks. Compatibility in damp areas, durability and resistance to damage are some of the benefits of vinyl flooring. Advantages of vinyl flooring include ease of installation and variety of styles, unlimited designs and a wide range of colour variations.
Solid Timber Flooring
Among the most popular choices for wood flooring today is solid timber flooring, which gives consumers a similar wood-like impression and blends nicely in family homes.
Solid timber flooring is sound-resistant and the maintenance is comparatively easier than many other flooring types but not necessarily cheaper. The only way to overcome the recurring maintenance cost is by placing them in areas with less foot traffic. Per sqft of solid timber flooring can cost around RM20.
Parquet wood flooring
A common and popular type of flooring amongst Malaysians. Its typical arrangement of installing the wood blocks to a specific pattern, design or style creates a retro feel and drives you down a memory lane with its nostalgic designs.
As a modern-embracing individual, you can always detach from the classic style and try to mix and match. The price stands at an average of RM15 per sqft.
Maintaining Wood Flooring
We can categorise the care and maintenance procedures based on the type of flooring.
For natural wood floors and engineered wood, the care and maintenance process is rather straightforward. The cleaning requires a weekly mopping using a soft and dry mop. Soap and high-chemical liquids are to be avoided as corrosions might happen and affect the intensity of the finishing of your wood flooring.
A constant sanding of natural wood and engineered wood floorings, at least once a year, may keep the wood looking pristine. For traditional solid wood floors, it is recommended to get advice from experts about how often they should be oiled.
On the other hand, laminate flooring is convenient to clean, and maintain with a lifespan that is suggestively longer. To increase the durability of laminate flooring, one can resort to antimicrobial resin applied on the surface.
Benefits of Wooden Flooring
Compared to tiled or stoned floors, wooden flooring’s colour rarely changes or dissipates. Wooden flooring is expected to have a lifespan of more than a century given the conditions are followed to the letter.
Their qualities are certainly inclusive of impact-resistant whereas stains, cracks or damages can be easily attended to since most of them are replaceable. The money that you spend is compensated for by the product’s longevity.
Variety of Choices
Not pejoratively, but the choices for wood-flooring are elaborated and extensive. You can literally immerse yourself in the available choices to select a type that really reflects your inner self’s desire and of course, not leave a hole in your pocket. Wood flooring also gives you the choice to experiment with staining and other creative ideas such as finding harmony in contrasting designs or styles.
Grace & Durability
With proper and consistent maintenance, wooden flooring is capable of outliving generations.
In terms of graceful styling, where do even begin? For instance, Maple and White Oak provide brightness to your home while Cherry and Walnut can give it a deeper vibe. The list goes on.
If boredom strikes because of the unchanged look of your flooring, refinishing or repainting can give an upliftment to their overall look. Your distinctive personality may speak in those colours.
In most cases, wooden flooring is children-friendly. First of all, they are completely non-toxic. Additionally, they keep the kids’ feet warm and cosy. Furthermore, its anti-slip property makes it safer for crawling babies as well as elderlies, reducing unintended injuries or accidents.
The floor can get messy when children are around, as we all know. It ranges from using the floor as a drawing board to spilling drinks all over it. But worry not, with the right tools, cleaning wood flooring can be as easy as a breeze.
Increasing the monetary value of your house
As mentioned earlier, the monetary value of a house can be increased with the existence of wooden floors as it reflects luxury and extended durability. Installing wooden flooring indirectly indicates the potential buyers or tenants of the quality of your house may offer. You can always kow-tim for more!
Challenges with Wooden Flooring
Installing wooden flooring is definitely not cheap. Most of them cost a fortune and are usually more expensive than tiles. But if you are willing to compromise, faux-wooden flooring gives a parallel impression for a cheaper price but probably not the quality you might have most likely imagined.
A living hell, if you ask me! Termites’ favourite diet is none other than the wood itself. You’ll never be able to guess the point of its origin, and booom, suddenly your wooden flooring shows signs of defects.
Thus, you are advised to do a thorough inspection underneath the floor or walls by yourself or with the presence of an expert before installing the wooden flooring. Remember, the cost to repair the damages or replacing can be quite severe.
Water and moisture-based damages
Though earlier it was mentioned that some types of wooden flooring can sustain moisture, they must be immediately cleaned with a dry mop or a vacuum cleaner. This is because not all types of wood floorings are impenetrable to water or constant wetness.
In the cases of seepage, most probably the wood will be extraordinarily damaged as soon as it starts rotting.
Do I need to do occasional refinishing?
As time passes, signs of scratches or wear and tear might be visible on the wood floorings. To minimise the visibilities, occasional maintenance must be carried out through refinishing works, especially in places with higher foot traffic.
When refinishing work is set to begin, it will be lengthy and a temporary relocation is ideal as the refinishing location can get very dusty and noisy.
Wood can be noisy
This is not the case for all types of wood. A proper high-quality solid wooden flooring can prevent this from happening but in general, most of the woods are unable to absorb sound, hence the noise.
Wooden flooring is a wonderful addition to the overall appearance of your house. The investment is not particularly a luxury statement, but home is where one has to feel they belong. With wooden flooring, some might be able to achieve that kind of relaxing ambience.
If you are currently looking to refurbish your house, wooden flooring can be a perfect choice!