As you may know, last week was National Self Build Week and I got the chance to speak with Rachel, Manager at Facit Homes. The architectural company offers bespoke home design packages, ranging from a “turn-key” complete design and implementation service to a “self built” option – providing the design service and materials but passing the management responsibility and hiring of tradespeople on to the client.
My visit wasn’t just to pore over photos of the finished builds (no matter how impressive they were!) but also to find the answer to a pressing question – “what are we asking for right now in our new home designs?” According to Rachel, every home is different because we’ve all got different styles, but there was one thing that she’s seen requested time and time again of late – timber flooring.
There used to be a time when carpeting was the thing to have. Soft under your feet, warm in the winter and available in a range of colours – its popularity is understandable and it’s still a popular choice to date. So what benefits of timber flooring are so great they’ve propelled it to must-have status?
Benefits of timber flooring
Well first of all, although timber can be hardwood or softwood, it’s hardwood that we’re all opting for. Softwoods like teak and mahogany are expensive and difficult to get hold of and pine is prone to splintering. Hardwoods like oak and beech are much easier to source and are longer lasting. Products with at least a 4mm layer of oak can last indefinitely with the right care but the thinner you go, the quicker your flooring will need replacing.
Maybe it’s a result of our growing eco mentality that’s causing us to lean towards timber? After all, it’s completely renewable. Or more than likely, it’s the fact that it’s a natural insulator and it’s easy to keep fresh. As practical as we may be, we’ve got to admit that we all prioritise visual appearance when it comes to fitting out our homes! While your nan’s old floral carpet will look dated today, wooden flooring can be decorated with ever-changing rugs and mats to give it a new lease of life.
It’s also a very good choice thanks to its no-fuss cleaning requirements. A regular go-over with the hoover or dry mopping will be enough to maintain the look, as long as it’s been protected from moisture before installation in a dry area with a protective finish. It gets harder as it ages too so the cleaning will only get easier over time – helped by the fact that it won’t collect dust anyway as it can’t get trapped in any fibres.
With all the advantages, you might be tempted to opt for mass solid hardwood flooring at around £28 per square metre but it’s actually not advisable. Anything wider than 150mm is likely to distort as it tries to move and soak up moisture. So it’s a much better idea to select engineered hardwood at around £16 per square metre. It looks exactly the same and according to oak floor specialist, Oak Floors Online, a 21mm engineered oak board will last just as long as a 18mm solid oak. The engineered option has a top hardwood layer, sealing off multiple layers of softwood. You can also install underfloor heating unlike with the solid variety, if you’re after maximum heat underneath your feet, engineered is the way forward.
Now, it’s just a question of which type?
To find a flooring specialist to help you fit your flooring, post your job in our flooring category. Up to three local tradesmen will get in touch. Simply choose the right one for you.