Timber floors

I'm thinking of replacing our (near-new but disappointing) carpet with timber floors (on a concrete slab in most of the house, and over "not exposed timber floor quality" timber upstairs).

Any advice/experience re:

* merits of solid timber as opposed to laminates - worth the extra expense?
* If laminates are OK, what should I be looking for? eg minimum laminate thickness, different installation methods etc.
* I kind of like the eco benefits of bamboo - any experience with bamboo floors? Are bamboo laminates available?
* Anything else I should know?

Thanks in anticipation, you smart people!
 
I am happy with the bamboo flooring I have in the place I live in.

Laminates? Driving through a suburb due for council clean up I spied, amongst the suburban refuse, kitchen units with fake wood laminate doors. I thought to myself "Fake wood panelling on walls and cupboards was the laminate flooring of the 70s".

Other than for commercial use I would not go for laminate.

If you put laminate flooring into a place with period features I am going to cry.
 
I was looking at laminate not so long ago

There are some new laminates out that look and feel really good

Dont cross it off your list but instead go out to a flooring shop and take a look.
 
If you put laminate flooring into a place with period features I am going to cry.

Tee hee - I feel your pain! I used to own a QLDer and it pained me to see people put aluminium windows in them :eek:

Nah, not a period home, an early 70s brick and tile. But it was extensively extended in the 1980s (6 beds), so we have over 300m2 of carpet to replace... I'm guessing at least $100/m2 for "real" timber, which means over $30K :eek:

Actually I'm thinking again as I speak - it's currently valued > $600K, therefore this represents a < 5% investment, and it would make a lot more than a 5% improvement... hmmm.... food for thought.
 
If you're going to go down the "floating floor" option, look for a laminate that has a wood veneer on top, so it at least appears as a timber floor.

Check out places like Harvey Norman and Carpet Court for ideas and costings and go for something as timberlike as possible, within the budget :)

Best of luck.
 
ozperp...
all flooring has its advantages and disadvantages...

Real solid timber - looks good, feels great, its expensive, takes a long time to install needs to be sanded and coated which creates dust. you can expect to pay anywhere between $90 to $160 per square meter installed, depending on the species used. If there is damage or wear, it can be reasanded and recoated ( approx $25 per sqm ). I have Tasmanian Oak in my house, it looks great but I wouldnt use it again because its too soft and dents easy. (Toddlers!!)

Floating Engineered Boards - these look just as good as the solids but are usually cheaper and quicker to install. approx 2 to 3 days for 80 sqm. Prices for these are very varied and can range from $40 to $100 supply only. Quite easy to install yourself, but if you cant be bothered, you should allow approx $25 to $30 per sqm to get someone to do it. these floors dent just as easy as solids. You can tell if the floors are floating by the drumminess when you walk on it.

Laminates - these floors are bullet proof...very hard wearing and wont dent very easilty at all. I would use a laminate floor if; it was a rental, you have big dogs, or you have destructive kids (show me a kid that isnt destructive!)
The trade off is that they dont look very realistic in my opinion and all planks are basically the same looking, if you know what I mean...
Laminates are quite cheap, usually between $20 to $35 for the product only...same as engineered flooring in regards to installation.

Bamboo - Looks good, feels good, just like solid timber. Bamboo can be directly stuck to substrate or can be floated like engineered and laminates. Tha bamboo itself is very hard, however, the problem lies in its coating. Bamboo is finished using up to 7 coats of polyurethane coating (sometimes with an aluminium oxide coating, also) It is finished in a pressure controlled factory (somewhere in china) which gives it a flawless finish. This caoting is very hard, but also can be quite brittle, so if a heavy blunt object is dropped on th e floor, the coating can sometimes chip, which stands out like dogs bo**ocks...

By the way, you can get bamboo laminates, there basically a photo of bamboo laminated to an HDF board...just like normal timber laminates.

Hope this helps, and let me know if I missed anything!:)

Boods
 
Thanks, boods, for your comprehensive reply! Are you in the business?

Sorry, I should clarify: I'm not considering laminates in the way that most of you thought I meant, ie a photo of timber! Not for my PPR, thanks!

I meant timber veneered "click panels" - I think what boods is calling "floating engineered boards" (FEB from here on for simplicity!). boods, is there a minimum thickness of the timber veneer that you'd recommend? What species are the most hard-wearing? Do the FEBs have essentially the same wear properties as the timber from which the veneer was taken? Are there particular types of "click mechanism" that are better, more hard-wearing, or easier to put together than others?

We actually got 300m2 of new carpet just 3 years ago :rolleyes: but we're very unhappy with it - it looks like rubbish already, despite being a high-grade solution dyed nylon and - we were told - "virtually indestructible". But we paid extra for the highest quality rubber underlay, which was worth every cent. Is underlay used under the FEBs? Maybe we can at least re-use that...
 
ozperp...

I used to own a timber flooring business around 6 years ago, and have been working in the industry since then, on and off, in between uni and other employment (diesel fitter by trade:))

There are a whole heap of new species coming in from asia, some of them look quite nice, and they are quite cheap too. if you like the darker timber, kempas is quite popular. light timber, there are a whole heap on the market and most shops call them different names. Good hard wearing aussie species include Blackbutt, Eastern States Blackbutt (lighter the normal BB), Jarrah, Sydeny blue gum...

Aussie FEB's are exceptionally expensive because they are either made here under our labor rates, or the raw material is sent to asia, manufactured, and then sent back to us - double handling - $$$
FEB are best in my opinion without the click system, rather a glue system. Its personal preference only.
A good FEB should have at least a 4mm veneer of real timber. there are some on the market that are less than 1mm (yuk)

You are correct to assume that the species will wear the same (or very similar) than the same timber in solid form. The only difference is the coating used and the process in which it is applied.

FEB's are able to be resanded and recoated also...although you will never get the perfect finish as they were when they were brand new...this is because when you recoat a floor in-situ, there is always dust in the air that will settle into the wet coating causing imperfections...sometimes bugs decide to commit suicide in the coating too!

The underlay used for carpet is a lot thicker than underlay for floating timber floors. unfortunately, it can't be used:(

Hope this helps, dont be afraid to ask if you have any more questions!:)

Boods
 
We had jarrah floors installed through out our place...
I would nt do that agian.. for some reason it appears to be nowt very hard wearing...
I dropped a AAA battery from below hip hieght and it dente dthe floor...
I cant believe how easily it dents... indents..
the look and colour is great.. but not hard wearing for my liking..

I was under the impression it was tough as.. but its delicate.. if i had my time again I'd go for tile instead..

Ive been told the pre finished and laminates are supposed to be better wearing... wish some one told me that before..
 
hubby and I bought and installed click laminates to two of our new IP's..about 150sqm and it took us about a week. at that time i thought never again...

but now 3 yrs later, the floors still look excellent, easy to keep clean and very hard wearing. It's rented to famillies with young kids.

I would go laminates or tiles. Real timber does look nice but it's not hard wearing enough and it's expensive.
 
hubby and I bought and installed click laminates to two of our new IP's..about 150sqm .... 3 yrs later, the floors still look excellent....very hard wearing. It's rented to famillies with young kids.

Agree click laminates great option for rentals. Even if tenants are careful, rotation of tenants moving furniture/whitegoods in/out causes wear and tear.

Own home is a different matter and each household knows the sort of punishment (and play-doh) will be meted out.

Actually, play-doh is soft...think of something else... an outside toy or trike brought indoors....:D How about cleats on jnr's sports shoes...that'll do it good n' proper.
 
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We laid cypress pine boards on our concrete floor and then sanded and used water based varnish on the floor. 16 years later it is still in great condition. We were told not to glue directly onto concrete and not to use water based varnish but we've never regretted it and all this before wooden floorboards became trendy!
 
Cypress pine...very soft
Water based coating...very hard wearing.

Did you use gloss, semi gloss or satin finish coating?
the glossier the coating, the more inperfections show up...
Cypress pine still looks good thought...heaps of "charactor"

Boods
 
I'm thinking of replacing our (near-new but disappointing) carpet with timber floors (on a concrete slab in most of the house, and over "not exposed timber floor quality" timber upstairs).

Any advice/experience re:

* merits of solid timber as opposed to laminates - worth the extra expense?
* If laminates are OK, what should I be looking for? eg minimum laminate thickness, different installation methods etc.
* I kind of like the eco benefits of bamboo - any experience with bamboo floors? Are bamboo laminates available?
* Anything else I should know?

Thanks in anticipation, you smart people!

Solid timber flooring (19mm) is not something that can always be retrofitted depending on doorways and cabinetry get some advice from a carpenter before looking at traditional floorboards. Make sure you factor in the thickness of your flooring/underlay OR the thickness of solid timber when deciding if possible. If you are running the flooring under doors and robes then you need to ensure that there is adequate clearance. Different species of timber are rated for their hardness. These ratings are easy to find on the internet. Ironbox for memory had one of the highest ratings for wear and tear and was classed as commercial grade flooring. Stay away from softwoods unless you like the distressed look.
 
JFisher, the rating you are talking about is the Janka rating. The higher the number, the more force needed to cause a steel ball to make a certain sized impression in the timber (100mm2 area, i think...it's been a while:)) all done under other special conditions etc...

Some of the highest Janka rated, readily available Australian timbers are, Karri, Spotted Gum and Brushbox(my personal favorite!:)) Jarrah is in there somewhere too. Also, there are a heap of new species being imported from Asia that are quite hard wearing with good rating, and quite cheap also.

BTW I think you may have meant Ironbark instead of Ironbox??

Most of the time, the higher the Janka rating, the more expensive the timber is as they take a lot longer to grow and the replenishment is slow.

Boods
 
Stay away from softwoods unless you like the distressed look.

Also, just to be a pain in the rear...

the term softwoods does not directly have a reference to how hard the wood is, but rather relates to how the tree reproduces.Softwoods are conifers.
Hardwoods have seeds enclosed in fruit such as acorns.
It's an interesting coincidence that most softwoods are "soft" ie low Janka rating, however, there are some very "hard" softwoods. (confused yet?:D)

Interesting piece of information...Balsa wood is a hardwood...it's true:)

Boods
 
Interesting thread. Im also considering wooden floors for my PPOR however I have a 15 month old and know that wooden floors would get destroyed in no time. Im considering getting Vinyl (wood look) floors. They look good (no as good as real wood ) but are hard wearing and apparently better than laminate boards.
 
Any further thoughts on bamboo floors?

boods - or anybody else - any further info on bamboo as flooring? We got flooded this week and all that carpet that I hated is now in a skip. :D I'm thinking of an engineered bamboo product, which would be glued rather than floating. I would appreciate feedback from anybody as to water resistance (would you put it in a kitchen?), how good does it look after usual rough treatment of kids, and noise. Or anything else pro/con that you think is worth knowing.

Thanks a million!
 
Not intentionally wanting to hijack your thread Ozperp but my question relates to the subject matter.

How noisy are floating floors on concrete base? I currently have a standoff situation (1/4 house now concrete floor) with the boss where she wants to tile the whole PPOR (guess which poor bugger will get the job) and I want tiles in Kitchen/wet areas and floating floors in rest of house. My argument - tiles too cold and clinical. I've already heard the rug argument.

If they are noisy is there any way to quieten them down or is there a quieter alternative?

Project 1080

The project: 10 IPs in 80 mths.
 
I replaced my carpet with top of the line timber flooring and am thrilled with it. Its not noisy but does shows the crumbs etc., however its easily cleaned with a sweep and a magnetic mop. It was expensive to purchase the timber and have it installed, especially as I had to have skirting boards added. I left carpet in two of the bedrooms and am sorry now, wish I had put it through the whole house.

I stayed at an expensive holiday home at Lorne last year where they had installed laminate flooring which had worn and was very scratched, no doubt due to people coming in from the beach. It dragged the whole place down.

Chris
 
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