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    A guide to floating timber floors

    What are the different kinds available, and how to maintain them

    Hannah | Oneflare

    What are floating timber floors?

    Simply put, it’s a floor that is not attached in any way (e.g. by glue or nails) to the primary foundation. Floating timber floors have a “plug and go” quality in that they can be placed over the existing floor, concrete, tiles, plywood, particle floorboard, cork or tile in the home. Homeowners just have to ensure that the floor is even before placing the floating timber planks. Laying floating timber over existing flooring also provides an extra layer of noise insulation.

    Source: F&F Constructions Pty Ltd

    There are 2 types of floating timber floors, both of which have pros and cons:

    1. Artificial timber floors: Artificial floating timber flooring is basically a laminate veneer overlay. Laminates are constructed to look exactly like real hardwood and require lower maintenance and are generally cheaper. You aren’t able to sand or repolish them, but mots are designed to be scratch resistant.
    2. Solid timber floors: True floating timber flooring is a combination of hardwood pressed with a thicker fibreboard base. It comes finished, so adjusting for evenness is not a concern. If needed, it can be sanded down for a desired effect, but it is suggested not to do this too often due to the thinness of the natural wood on top. This option might be easier to clean and maintain – sanding and repolishing can help you remove minor damage and keep your floors looking new. However, the initial cost of the materials and installation is more expensive.

    Regardless of the choice, both real and artificial floating timber flooring will arrive ready to install.

    Benefits of floating floors

    • Easier to install. They can cover all types of flooring materials and easily create the look of timber.
    • It is available in a rich variety of colours suitable for all types of colour themes in offices as well as homes.
    • They are durable and often come with long warranties – usually 25 years or more.
    • There is no waiting period for using it after installation as there is no glue that needs to harden.
    Source: JVK Building & Design

    Can I install floating flooring myself?

    One of the benefits of using floating flooring, is the huge cost savings compared to true professionally installed timber flooring. If you are a confident DIYer, you can always try out your construction skills and install them yourself! Timber flooring can add natural beauty to every room of your home, but is best used away from wet areas. You have your pick of wood types including cedar, oak and pine.  

    Most of the time, these floors are easy to install. Instructions are often provided. You may need to purchase glue, underlay materials and trims for this product. Within just a few hours of installing it, this type of flooring is ready to be used.

    Floating timber floors also offer flexibility, meaning that they have natural “give” to the wood. Because of this, you’ll need to ensure ample space between the flooring and the floating timber flooring to withstand the expansion due to humidity variations.

    Over time, this reduces sagging and unattractive gaps that can sometimes form in other wood flooring. These floors are actually designed to have small gaps that give the wood room to expand and contract.

    How to maintain your floating timber floors

    A properly installed or finished floor can look beautiful, but it is the maintenance of the floor which may help the floor to retain its beauty. If you want to avoid your floor appearing distressed or worn out prematurely, you must consider maintenance work. It will keep the floor in tip-top condition. You can also use floor mats and protective pads to improve the looks and add to the life of the floors. Here are some important maintenance tips you can follow.

    1. Keep a check over dirt and dust

    Floating timber floor may develop dents and scratches when exposed to dust and dirt. It is important to consider a protective finish for the floors. You should keep the floors clean every time. A daily cleaning and maintenance schedule should be followed – with regular mopping, sweeping and vacuuming. This will keep the dirt, dust and grit away from the floors which means it won’t develop scratches and marks.

    Stick to your cleaning routine you establish. However, it is always advisable to clean the engineered floors with a soft cleaner and mop, as any high density and acidic cleaner will surely corrode the layer of the floor.

    2. Protect your timber floors

    A wooden floor is suitable for almost any lifestyle. Wood is a natural flooring option which is ideal for areas experiencing high traffic. It is durable and sturdy as well. A bit of maintenance will increase its life further. You may prefer placing rugs and protective pads on the surface of the floors to prevent scratches. If you are using it for hallway, living room or entryway, you must make sure to protect the floor. Proper rugs and carpets can save the floor from damage due to wear and tear and prolong the life of the floor.

    3. What type of finish is it?

    Before you even opt for any maintenance schedule, you must think about the finishing it has. Each kind of wood finishing requires different sort of care and maintenance. Choose only the best product for the floor and determine the schedule of maintenance. Your wooden floor will appear beautiful for the years to come.

    4. Bolster the finishing 

    Hardwood floors are normally polished or coated with a special type of wax or varnish to restrict spills from seeping into the grains. But, it is unfortunate to learn that even the toughest of grains might not be able to withstand heavy traffic. You may cover the floors with the area rugs. This mainly applies to living room floors and the area adjacent to the exterior door.

    Just like the other types of floors, even the hardwood floor has thermal expansion coefficient. This thermal expansion coefficient is affected by humidity. Boards of the floor can separate if there is too much humidity. To keep a check over the humidity level, you may use a dehumidifier.

    By following the maintenance tips stated above, you can maintain your floating timber floor such that it lasts for ages. Besides frequent cleaning, you may also consider expert refinishing from time to time.

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