Timber floors are not only naturally beautiful, they are also hard wearing, environmentally friendly, easy to maintain, and they can add a significant amount of value to your home.
However, if you’re considering investing in a timber floor, there are a number of factors you need to consider, and they relate to both the colour and the grade of the timber you choose. Here’s our easy guide to choosing timber flooring.
The Choice of Timber Species Does Influence The Colour
There are a huge number of timber species used in timber flooring, and all of them provide a rich array of grain and colour patterns, whether they be fairly consistent throughout or a blend of a variety of tones and colours.
This is particularly evident in timbers where the sapwood (which is the outer layer of timber beneath the bark) is a much lighter colour than the heartwood. And interestingly, even within a single species and individual trees, huge colour variations in the heartwood can occur.
The age of a tree also has a significant effect on the colour of the timber. Timber from younger trees is often lighter in colour than in more mature trees, and therefore it’s important to consider a number of factors when choosing timber as a flooring option.
Colour Variations Can Occur In The Same Timber Species
If you are more concerned with the colour rather than the species of the timber, then you’ll need to also accept that colour variations can also occur within the same species. Is there another timber that has a similar colour to the one you’re looking for? Would a mixed species of timber satisfy your needs?
Another important factor when considering timber floor colour is that online photos and even photos in magazines or brochures will not give you a realistic representation of the actual species colour. Even sample flooring will only provide one representation of the colour in that species, and larger showroom panels also don’t cover the full range of colour variations found in timber flooring.
Colour Variations Differ From Supplier to Supplier
You’ve finally chosen the colours you like in a timber species, however, you’d like to shop around to get the best deal on your timber flooring. Will the colours from that species of timber be the same if you go to a different supplier? The simple answer is no.
Differences in tree age and growing region can often result in differences in colour, and no matter how many suppliers you visit or how large the showroom sample is on the floor, at the end of the day it is only indicative of the species colour and natural variation of timbers that you’re likely to come across.
But it’s important to realise that even though the end result may differ not only from your research samples and the ones you view on the showroom floor, it will be totally unique to you in its beauty. And that’s a wonderful thing.
The Choice of Grade Influences the Character of a Floor
Grading rules for timber flooring actually don’t cover either colour or variations of colour, but they do significantly influence a timber floor’s appearance. Some grades of timber floor include more of a tree’s character and history, which includes features like veins and knots. In other grades, the natural lines of the timber will dominate with smaller and fewer features actually present in the wood.
Therefore, when considering timber floor grading it’s also important to consider a number of factors.
Grading Rules and Names Can Differ Between Suppliers
The grade of a timber has no influence on a floor’s quality or ‘fitness’ in terms of its machining tolerance or manufactured moisture content range, and these aspects are basically the same for every grade.
There are grade names associated with Australian Standards Grading Rules, and flooring manufacturers may also have their own grades and grade names, which may not necessarily be the same as the Australian Standards.
All grades permit some feature elements and even though a sample may be called ‘Select Grade’, there may still be evidence of gum veins, knots and past borer activity.
Let The Features You Prefer Determine The Grade You Choose
All trees feature knots, gum veins and past borer activity and it’s these features that for many buyers add to the character and charm of a timber floor. When choosing a grade of the timber that you prefer, the most important thing is to consider is that you’re actually choosing how many features of a particular timber you desire.
It’s also important to note that different features can predominate in different timber species, so therefore two floors of exactly the same grade may appear quite different in terms of their predominating features and how dominant that feature appears in an actual timber floor.
And if you decide to choose an alternative species from the one you originally considered, not only will the colour differ, but the predominating features may also change.
Colour Depends on The Species And Features Are Determined By Grade
Still confused? It’s actually quite a simple methodology, which can be summed up in two sentences. The overall colour or blend of colour in a timber floor is dependent on the species of species mix chosen. The character of the floor and its features (like gum veins) is determined by its grade.
But there is a myriad of variables to consider, and that’s why it’s important to work closely with your supplier to determine the features and colouring of the timber flooring you’re after. Then it’s just a matter of having it professionally installed and maintained – and that’s where we come in!