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Making Sense of Wood Flooring

Making Sense of Wood Flooring


by Jonathan Sapir, managing director of Real wood is a versatile flooring material, which is the perfect backdrop to many interiors. Should you decide to venture in the direction of wood flooring, you will soon come across technical and industry buzzwords that may sound confusing at first. In this visual guide we aim to explain your options.

Solid and Engineered Natural Wood Floors There are two options when it comes to the floorboard construction. One made entirely of solid wood, while an alternative that is made from solid wood and artificial materials. Your first decision is choosing one type over the other, but don’t worry it is easier than it seems.

Solid Wood – Each floorboard is made from 100% natural hardwood. Species vary from the common European Oak to the exotic African Teak. Solid wood floors are suitable in most parts of your interior, with the one exclusion of wet or humid areas.

Engineered Wood – Each floorboard is made from 3mm to 6mm layer of natural hardwood. Underneath this layer you will find MDF, Plywood and softwood. The use of hardwood externally and artificial materials internally ensures that the floorboard retains the look of real wood. The big difference is that engineered wood can be fitted across the entire project, even in humid or wet areas such as the bathroom and kitchen.

Natural Wood Floors Grade The visual appearance of the floorboard is heavily influenced by the grade. Natural wood includes features such as Sapwood, Knots, grain markings and colour fluctuations. How many of these features are visibly present in the floorboard is measured and cataloged as grade. Grade has no bearing on quality, merely a visual indication.

Prime and Select Grades – These are the two premium grades in which the floorboards benefit from a uniform look. Sapwood and knots are minimal, while colour is persistent across the entire length of the board.


Natural and Rustic Grades – These are the two basic grades where sapwood and knots are randomly visible. Furthermore, colour fluctuations are to be expected and overall the abundance of these features makes the natural and rustic grades more affordable.


Natural Wood Floors Colours  Natural hardwoods are available in shades of honey golden colour. The species of hardwood whether it is Oak, Walnut or any other hardwood will determine the precise shade. The problem is that golden honey isn’t suitable in every interior, which is why there are many colour techniques nowadays that can change the natural colour of wood. Here are a few examples.

White Wood Flooring – Perfect in making your interior appear bigger and brighter by spreading natural light around. Ideal for dark rooms that receive very little natural light.


Dark Wood Flooring – Perfect for making your floor the focal point by creating a contrast against white or off white fixtures. Can also enhance a rustic interior using bulky and chunky furniture.


Grey Wood Flooring – Perfect for creating sophisticated and modern interior and avoiding color clash against dark fixtures, which can happen in the case of dark wood flooring.


Natural Wood Floors Finish The very last consideration is your choice of finish. This refers to the clear chemical layer that is applied onto the floorboard. It is meant to offer basics protection from common causes of damage and comes in the form of oil or lacquer.

Oil Finish – Oil will often result in a matt finish. This can be enhanced by coating the floorboard in several coats of oil, or lessened by using only one coat.


Lacquered Finish - Lacquer will often result in a semi-gloss (satin) or glossy finish. Again it can be enhanced or lessened depending on the number of applications.


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