The following guest blog was kindly provided by Wood and Beyond Ltd, www.woodandbeyond.com

Building extensions and conversions are a wonderful addition to residential and commercial properties as they turn all sorts of areas around the property to usable areas and all for a competitive budget. If you are considering wood flooring in your new extension or conversion project, there are several aspects to take into account before ordering the first plank of wood floor you come across.

Types Of Wood Flooring

 There are two types of wood flooring that differ in how they are built. One is called solid wood flooring and is made from complete wood, while the second is called engineered wood flooring and is made from wood and various syntactic materials. Fitting the incorrect type in your project could end up proving a costly mistake.

 Solid Wood Flooring – Each board is made from 100% solid wood. When fitted correctly and in the right area of the property, service life is equal to none and can exceed over 100 years of service. Furthermore, every few years when the boards look ‘worn-out’ you can sand and recoat the wood making it look new again. However, solid wood flooring does not fit every property or more to the point does not fit every room. Solid woods react to changes in temperature by contracting in cold temperatures or expanding in hot temperatures. It means that you should not fit solid boards over under floor heating or in areas that experience sharp changes in temperature, as the wood will eventually fracture. Furthermore, all natural woods dislike wet conditions so you should avoid fitting solid wood in the bathroom or even in the kitchen areas. Otherwise you can safely fit this type around the property.

Engineered Wood Flooring – Each board is made from a layer of solid wood (varies between 3mm to 6mm layer) and three to four layers of MDF, Plywood and Softwood. When fitted, an engineered board looks identical to a solid board, however unlike solid wood it won’t react to changes in temperature and can be fitted over under floor heating. It does come with a few drawbacks that you must be aware of. Service life will not match that of solid wood and while sanding is possible, it will be limited in the number of times as every time the board is sanded a layer of 1mm wood is removed. If you are fitting wood flooring in an area that experience sharp changes in conditions, wet conditions or enjoys under floor heating, consider an engineered wood flooring solution first.

When underfloor heating is used, extreme fluctuations in temperature are to be expected and only an engineered board such as engineered oak flooring can withstand the heat without damage. UFH system (under floor heating) uses either hot water or electricity to create the warmth you feel above the planks. A board made of solid wood will expand as a result of this heat and contract when the UFH is switched off. After a while and as a result of expanding and contracting, the board will damage beyond repair. Not the case when an engineered board is fitted over underfloor heating due to the varied construction of some solid wood and syntactic materials.

Wood Plank Finish

Regardless of the construction type, each plank should be coated in a layer of finish that acts to seal the wood and offer some level of protection. Without such protection, you can expect a much shorter service life. The finish of choice is often a compromise between the decorative side and the practical side.

Decorative finish – In recent years, dark woods have grown in popularity. The dark shade is archives using techniques such as thermo heating or wood colouring, as there are no dark trees of course.

Practical finish – There are a number of coatings that serve a purpose. Lacquered for example sits on the top surface of the wood and acts to repel water so would often be used on wood flooring that is fitted in the bathroom or kitchen area. Oil finish is the easiest to maintain so would often be used in commercial properties where long downtime or closure for maintenance is not an option.

Wood flooring in your new extension or conversion is a serious consideration. Talk to Alexander Baxter Ltd to discuss your various options.

Written by Wood Flooring seller Wood and Beyond. London FSC sellers of hardwoods from solid wood worktops to decking and many more timber and hardwood products.