Air Pollution

Timber Flooring Perth

The air in our homes will contain a lot of chemicals from many sources, including cleaning supplies, plastic furniture and flooring materials. It is a good idea to reduce or minimize the extent of these chemical pollutants.

Some flooring materials, especially new carpet, will release formaldehyde into the air. This is possibly the most common home pollutant, and it is known to cause health and cognitive problems in high concentrations, and aggravate allergies even in low concentrations. It is best to reduce this chemical pollutant as much as possible.

Reduce air pollutants by;

  • Airing out all rooms when the home is new. Open windows and doors and use fans to circulate air.
  • Air out any rooms after any renovations. This included paintwork and new carpeting. The smell of new carpet is actually formaldehyde.
  • If you do have new carpet cover their surface with bi carb of soda for a few days, and then vacuum.
  • Use an air filter a few times per week.
  • Have indoor plants, these help clean the air. They work all day and night and require very little maintenance.
  • Stick to safe eco-friendly cleaners when possible. Never mix chemical cleaners because the results are unpredictable.
  • Store any chemicals in an outdoor, ventilated area.
  • Use cookware at a moderate temperature. High temperatures will break down some non-stick surfaces like Teflon and produce toxic fumes. These fumes are especially bad for household birds and other pets.
  • Install exhaust fans above stoves, and use good extraction methods for fireplaces.

Bamboo Flooring Perth

Bamboo is manufactured with some chemicals like formaldehyde, but it is largely free from this chemical once installed.

Bamboo is one of the most environmentally friendly flooring options, and once it is installed fairly safe for the indoor air.

Laminate flooring Perth

Laminate uses some chemicals in the form of glue to bind the different layers of timber together, and in any protective coatings. But by the time laminate is installed it produces virtually no chemical residue.

Timber Flooring Perth

Solid timber flooring is very low allergenic and undergoes very little chemical processing. The only source of chemicals on hardwood timber is in any stains, finishes and clear finishes applied to the wood, but even these emit negligible chemical vapour once they have dried.

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PAGE 22 Polyurethane

Timber Flooring Perth

Polyurethane is a clear protective coating applied to many products, including wooden floors. It can also be used as a substance in its own right for manufacturing other items.

The polyurethane coating for timber floors comes in two general types. There are water based coatings and solvent based coatings.

 

Water based polyurethane timber coating

Water based polyurethane is highly transparent. Timber floors will need several layers of water based polyurethane (usually 4 or more) but the results are almost invisible and the protective properties of the coating are very dependable. The fact that this water based coating dries in about 2 hours means that the floor can be given several coatings in one day, and be ready for use the day after.

 

Solvent based Polyurethane timber coating

This solvent based coating is not as transparent as the water based variety, and it will age with a pleasant amber brown hue. But many home owners quite like this look on wood.

Solvent based polyurethane is quite thick, so a floor will only need two coats. But the coats take 24 hours to dry so the process is slow, and the rooms cannot be occupied because of the fumes. Yet the finish is quite pleasing and offers solid protection against floor damage.

Many installers like to re-sand the floor between coats of polyurethane to obtain the smoothest finish possible.

Hard Floor Hacks

  • Use coasters under all furniture to prevent scratches in the floor. There are coasters available in felt, rubber, plastic and cork.

Floors with carpeting can also use a larger type of caster to prevent the heavy furniture causing flat indentations in the carpet surface.

  • Hard floors sometimes seem to retain dirt, especially tiles. This can be caused by soap scum or detergent that has dried on the floor surface, leaving a sticky residue that makes dirt hard to remove. Cleaning the hard floor with a slightly acidic solvent, sometimes just a small amount of vinegar or lemon in hot water, is enough to remove the problem. Citrus solvents (like De-Solve-It) can also clean up sticky spots on floors.
  • Matts and rugs are good on hard floors, especially during winter when we want to warm up the room. But they are prone to slipping.

Use mats with rubber backing to prevent slipping on hard floors, or add rubber to the back of the mat. Sometime it is sufficient to add rubber to the mat’s corners. 

  • Static mops pick up a lot of dust from the floor surface. This are less troublesome that vacuums of mops, and are very effective for regular cleaning.
  • Scuff marks on many hard floors can be removed with a melamine eraser (AKA as a magic eraser).
  • Many ink stains or other marks can be removed with either hand sanitizer or by rubbing with toothpaste on a wet cloth.
  • Some flooring will slowly change colour in strong sunlight. UV tinted glass windows are the best defence against this, and will protect furniture and home residents too. Else, any decent curtains or blinds will block most UV light from outside.
  • Have some slippers for all the house residents to wear indoors. This keeps feet warm on hard surfaces that tend to be cold, and prevents scratching the floor with dirt from outside.

Timber Flooring Perth

Hardwood timber is extremely long lasting. And one of its great sales points is that the surface can be re-sanded should it suffer superficial wear.

Different flooring materials can be repaired in different ways. Damaged tiles can be replaced while leaving the rest of the floor unaffected. This is very easy with vinyl tiles.

Well maintained floors last for many decades.

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Warning Signs: Floors and Moisture

The moisture level of a timber floor must be kept at a moderate balanced level if the floor is to last. Optimum moisture levels of about 7-8% gives the floor optimum strength and durability. Some humid regions do better with floors that have a 10-11% moisture content.

Wood will absorb or loose moisture to the surrounding environment. If the atmosphere is humid the wood will tend to soak up some moisture. If the atmosphere is dry the wood will lose moisture. Both of these situations can cause the timber floorboards to change shape and move in relation to each other.

The environment inside a home can change due to summer and winter seasons, long term dry and wet weather, or because of heating and air conditioning. Adding a humidifier to increase humidity levels can compensate for low humidity bought about by these conditions.

Some warning signs to look for:

Cupping – This is where the edges of the timber board rise above the middle of the board, a situation caused by the underside of the board having more moisture than the top. Occasionally this is caused by poo installation.

Crowning – This is when the centre of a timber board bulges upward. It is caused by moisture (perhaps water from a large spill) on the surface of the floor. The floor can at least partially be restored to a flat surface when the moisture levels stabilize.

Buckling – this is an extreme moisture problem where the wet timber floor boards pull up subfloor. It is the result of extreme wet conditions such as a floor or pluming accident. Fortunately it is quite rare.

Laminate Flooring Perth

Laminate flooring combines several layers of timber to optimising strength while giving an attractive surface layer. This makes laminate flooring one of the most stable flooring options. It will experience very little expansion and contraction with changing humidity and moisture. However it will suffer damage in a flood.

Timber Flooring Perth

Good timber flooring lasts for generations, but moisture can cause the floor surface to become uneven. A moisture meter, some measures to stabilize the room’s humidity, and re-sanding of the floors surface can all contribute to a stable, level long lasting floor surface

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Underfloor Heating for Timber Flooring

Heating and Timber Flooring Perth

Countries in Asia and some parts of Europe often heat their homes with underfloor heating. This heating method generally uses hot water running through pipes under the floorboards giving warmth to both the floor and the air in the room. An alternative method, the use of electrical wire heating under the floor, is also becoming popular.

Underfloor heating has some advantages over other heating methods.  It tends to be quite efficient, because there is very little heat lost through the roof. The heat rises from the floor and heats the room in a way that feels very natural. It simply seems like warmer weather. Furthermore, underfloor heating has no hot surfaces, so there is no possibility for anybody burning themselves.

Unlike air conditioning or turbo-heaters there is no moving air or noise with underfloor heating. Because there is no moving air there is very little circulation of germs should anybody be ill.

Underfloor water heating is best installed when the house is first built, or when the flooring is being replaced. It works best with bare timber or other hard flooring surfaces.

Underfloor electrical heating can be installed under carpet. It can also be installed under wood when the house is built or the floor replaced.

Heating Laminate Flooring Perth

Engineered floors are particularity good for hydronic heating because the floorboards suffer minimal expansion when the temperature changes.

Underfloor Heating and Bamboo Flooring Perth

Bamboo flooring should be give similar heating results to timber floors. Yet bamboo offers many different décor options not possible with other flooring materials.

Floors can also be heated with electrical wiring under carpets or rugs. These methods do not require any modification to the flooring material, though they must be installed before the carpet is laid.

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Wood in the Home

Wood is a good option for the environment. Growing trees absorbs Co2 from the atmosphere, which helps clear the atmsophere. After it is harvested the wood retains almost all of this absorbed Co2. New trees grown to replace the harvested ones continue to absorb more Co2. Using more wood in our lives helps the environment, as long as the wood is not burnt.

Timber Flooring Perth

Wooden flooring remains popular, being appropriate for almost any décor if given the right stain. Furthermore, wooden floors are easy to adapt from summer to winter use; add a rug in winter for warmth, or let air circulate in summer heat. Wooden floors were once the only option for domestic homes, but they remained popular even when tiles, stone, and cement became available. Wood floors are a versatile, long lasting and visually pleasing option.

Wooden furniture

Furniture made from natural products has always retailed a sense of class. Plastic has never escaped its sense of cheapness, even when the artistic merit is noteworthy. In truth, many plastics and synthetic materials emit formaldehyde and other chemicals into the air, which is harmful to human health. These chemicals are minimal with wood and bamboo.

Wooden furniture, wardrobes and utensils are ideal for indoor use. Modern methods allow fancy designs with these natural materials.

Kitchens

Wooden cutting boards and utensils have antibacterial properties that quickly kill off germs, which gives them an advantage over cheap plastic. And they don’t cause knives to go dull.

Wooden kitchen cupboards look great with a natural woodgrain finish. Colour staining can match them to the rest of the décor.

Older kitchen floors always used tiles, over a wooden base. Now we can have kitchens with good quality hardwood flooring, which is more durable than tiling. Spills are not an issue when the floor is properly prepared, and if kitchen fumes are removed with an overhead extractor.

Bamboo Flooring Perth

Bamboo is a modern alternative to timber, and becoming increasingly popular. Bamboo is a fast growing grass that can be processed to either replicate the look of wood, or be processed to have unorthodox colours. It requires a good protective finish to prevent scratching, but will last for many years.

Bamboo furnishings are also popular.

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Feature Wall

Room décor is a tricky art. There are no set rules. What works in one context might clash in another. Perhaps the meta-rule is that all the pieces must fit together.

In the past, and in some cultures, it has been fashionable to cover every part of the walls with immaculate detail. Today this is considered a cluttered and overcomplicated look. Yet a moderate amount of detail, or detail that has some sense of order, can be a very appealing in many contexts.

A feature wall is one example of this. This is where a single wall of a room is strongly decorated, with surrounding walls kept quite sparse. When done well this can achieve a pleasing balance of openness and complexity.

Tiles Perth

Tiles can be effective for a feature wall. Mosaics are one example of this. Though they require a considerable amount of pre-planning mosaics can give very artistically pleasing visuals.

Tiled feature walls are more likely to contain simple patterns or tiles with images. Patterns can be stone or woodgrain, which are fairly unobtrusive. Or they can more complex geometric patterns. Textured, three dimensional patterns are also good in many contexts.

Tile Flooring Perth

Tiles work well for flooring in many situations, especially with bathrooms or other areas that are likely to get wet. Sometimes a wall may repeat the same pattern used on the tiles floor. Else, a feature wall might work with a different pattern. Plain tiled floors can work well with a strongly patterned wall. Large mirrors can also be good in this context.

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Custom Bamboo

Bamboo Flooring Perth

Strand woven bamboo is an increasingly popular flooring material. It is an environmentally sound option that is fast growing and has proved a worth replacement for hardwood timber.

Bamboo can be processed during manufacture to change its colour. Many realistic timber colours are possible, as well as unorthodox colours for different synthetic décor options.

Early bamboo flooring had a reputation for scratching. Even as the main flooring material was very durable the very top surface would easily scratch. This issue has been rectified with latter bamboo flooring material which has been given a strong anti-scratch lacquer coating. Modern bamboos materials are durable and now also resist wear.

Custom Bamboo Flooring Perth.

The versatility of bamboo makes it ideal for customization. It can often be processed to match other flooring materials, or to match many synthetic colours.

If you have an unorthodox flooring idea, or if you want to copy an idea you admired elsewhere, then our company can copy of flooring example or even a photo and produce a bamboo with a matching colour and finish. We produce a test sample for your approval, and only start the manufacturing when you have approved. There is a minimum order size of 100 square meters.

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Wood Grain Finish

Wood grain painting has gained a certain amount of popularity. Craftsmen and DIY people of both genders will give wooden item like cabinets, Hi-Fi speakers, shelves, or musical instruments an imitation woodgrain finish with an appropriate tool because they prefer this look to plain colours.

Woodgrain finish often appears in synthetic building materials. Many laminates, floor tiles or synthetic surfaces for tabletops imitate the look of woodgrain. Wood veneer follows the same principle, with fine looking woodgrain over strong but plain looking base material.

Woodgrain appeals to two sides of our sense of aesthetic appreciation. It is a pattern, but it is not too regular or ‘perfect’. Our visual sense like to see order in what it perceives, but if that order is too regular it quickly finds this to be sterile, and tunes it out. Things that are too neat and regular are like a ticking clock that quickly becomes part of the background. Woodgrain is appealing because it combines order and randomness to give a result that is slightly regular. Our senses find this appealing.

Tiles Flooring Perth

Many floor tiles are synthetic, and either imitate the patterns of woodgrain or the similar patterns of natural stone. Sometimes this is a visual pattern under a smooth glossy surface, at other times the tile has the texture of woodgrain as well as the appearance. Talk to us about the options. There are many types of floor tile Perth has to offer.

Bamboo flooring Perth

Bamboo is a fast growing type of grass. It can be used to create flooring material that is environmentally sound. Bamboo can be processed to look like hardwood timber, which includes the woodgrain appearance.

Laminate Flooring Perth

Laminate can imitate the look of any material. Its surface is a printed image, protected by a hard transparent coating. Often laminate will imitate woodgrain or natural stone. Laminate flooring is quite inexpensive, but is lasts quite well and can look great if the colours and surrounding décor are chosen to match.

Timber Flooring Perth

Natural Hardwood timber is one of the classic flooring materials. It is highly durable, lasts for decades, and its natural woodgrain appearance is so appealing that other flooring materials imitate its look.

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Janka Hard Wood Measurement

Hardwood Timber Flooring Perth

All the timber sold for flooring is quality hardwood, capable of withstanding normal foot traffic for many years. In order to suitable for flooring the species of timber must rank high on the Janka hardness scale.

Janka Hardness Test.

Then Janka hardness test looks at the force required to press an 11.28mm Steel ball into the surface of a piece of wood. The force required to press the ball 5.6 mm (half its diameter) into the wood is the Janka rating.

In Australia the Janka rating is usually given in kilo Newtons (kN). A timber rating of 6kN to 10kN is considered quite satisfactory and reliable for timber flooring. Some less common species of timber have Janka ratings of up to 16kN.

The Janka rating does measure the hardness of wood, and is a good indication of its durability and resistance to damage. But this is different to the strength and bendability of wood. It is possible for some wood to have a hard surface yet be prone to flexing under some conditions. Timber sold for hardwood flooring will have a fairly high strength rating as well as a reasonably high Janka hardness rating.

Some harder woods are preferable for outdoor decking and other garden structures.

• Jarrah 8.5kN Janka

• Blackbutt 9.1kN

• Spotted Gum 11kN

• Merbau (Asian wood) 8.56kN

• Stringybark 8.1kN

• Sydney Blue Gum 9.0kN

• Turpentine 12.0kN

• Ironbark              14kN The hardest and most durable option.                 

The Janka test does not apply to other flooring materials like bamboo. Older style bamboo flooring had a high Janka rating but was prone to superficial surface scratching. More modern bamboo flooring is grown for longer and processed differently, given a more durable surface.

Timber Flooring Perth

All modern timber flooring will be sufficiently hard, able to withstand normal conditions in most homes. It can be re-sanded to give a new surface if required.

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Timber Floor Finishes

Clean finishes will preserve the woodgrain pattern of timber while providing a protective coating. If desired, the finish can alter the timber’s colour, turning light timber a pleasant light brown.

Water Polyurethane

This is highly transparent clean finish, preserving the natural wood colour.

It is quick drying, allowing floors to be recoated in two hours. Usually a floor will require about four coats, which can be applied in one day at two hour intervals.

These are moderately priced.

Oil Based Polyurethane

This is a clear but tinted finish, which will give the timber a slightly Amber hue. They will slowly darken over time in Sunlight

These oil based finishes are thicker than the water based varieties, so the floor will only two or three coats. The downside is that they take much longer to dry. Allow 12 hours between coats.

These are less expensive than water polyurethane.

Both types of polyurethane are fairly hard, provide good protective surfaces, and will tend to bond the timber boards together.

Tung Oil (AKA China Wood Oil)

This finish gives the classic old look of rich amber brown timber, the colour of a violin. It penetrates the timber, and gives a natural matt finish surface finish. It is ideal for waxing or burnishing, though the Tung oil floor should be left to cure for four weeks before any polishing or other treatments are applied.

Tung oil can be reapplied over timber previously treated with Tung Oil without sanding the floor. Polyurethane floors should be re-sanded.

Timber Flooring Perth

Hardwood floors remain a classic option for housing. With minimal maintenance they will last for decades. And can be re-sanded and re-finished for a new appearance.

Mixing Wood

Of course we cannot decorate a room with just one colour. Décor is about combining differences in a coherent way. This is not too difficult if we plan the final look in advance. But it can be a problem if the various elements of the room are accumulated over the course of time. Nonetheless if we plan an overall style for a room we can buy additional items in accordance with that look.

Wood tones need not be identical, but they should complement each other. Look to see if the colour of the wood is warm or cool; and see if their undertones match. Dark furniture on a light colour floor can work well.

Similar wood grains in wood can help the different wooden elements fit together. Larger grains often look quite casual; fine grain looks more formal.

If two wooden items really are dissimilar the clash can be downplayed with a buffer. A rug or carpet acts as a buffer to smooth the transition between a wooden floor and dissimilar wooden table. Experiment (at least mentally) with different colour buffers.

Having a certain style of wood appearing more than once in the room can create a natural looking pattern. Chairs can match a table, shelves match another furniture item. Best to limit this to no more than three timber types per room.

White surfaces work with many types of wood. Using white is a fairly safe bet.

Timber Flooring Perth

Good wooden flooring goes with many décor styles. And laminate, tiles and bamboo also work well with wooden furniture. There are many options to choose from.

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