A few friends have asked me to expand on the finding a timber floor adventure so some thoughts follow...
I have already waxed lyrical about Tongue n Groove - Sydney in a previous post, however another discovery is a beautiful supplier in Melbourne - Royal Oak Floors by Harper & Sandilands (pic above). I particularly love their smoked floors and they have gorgeous stair nosing (if stair nosings are your thing?!).
Another incredibly helpful supplier is Havwoods, they have a comprehensive website and can deliver direct. They have a huge range from pale to dark and their Europlank collection is a more affordable option.
Of course already familiar to most is Porter's Paints who also have a range of wide boards in lots of new colours from white, through natural and grey to black. Always beautiful.
Things I've discovered that should be considered with engineered boards include:
- Colour Bring the sample home and pile your furniture up around it, the colour might be beautiful in isolation but really needs to suit all the objects that surround it.
- Width of board Wider for big rooms, however the really wide ones seem to be susceptible to bowing and bending more, so check the quality. The wide expensive boards are great but I'd probably go for the slightly narrower (less than 190mm) for the cheaper ones. Or at least leave a sample out in the sun for a while and see what happens.
- Length of board I found that the shorter boards tend to look a bit more like the laminates with more joins across the floor but they are cheaper than the longer ones.
- Timber substrate They are all veneered timber (that's the engineered board bit) but some of the ply substrates are really cheap and knotty and apparently make the boards more likely to bow and twist. Other's are oak offcuts (more expensive boards) and therefore more stable.
- Thickness of the veneer They range from about 3mm to 6mm. The thicker they are the more times you can sand them back in the future. The thinner ones probably only have one sand in them, the thicker ones are more like solid timber boards and you can sand them back closer to the tongue and groove.
- Coating/Sealer Same issues as solid boards... gloss, satin lacquer, matt, oiled etc... it's a taste thing.
- To groove or not to groove Some are square edged, some have a big bevel and others are 'micro' bevelled, hard to see in photos and sample pieces so try and see a big area to see how this varies.
- Good luck - I have certainly devoted far more angst to it all than is appropriate.
photo from Royal Oak Floors