Timber Flooring Perth

Prevent Damage to Timber Floors

Timber Flooring Perth

Timber floors are very long lasting, the basic structure remaining sound for decades. But the surface of the timber floor, like almost any floor, is prone to superficial damage like scratching and denting.

Any damage suffered by these floors is often repairable. Timber floors can have their surface re-sanded to look like new. But of course it is better to prevent the damage from occurring in the first place.

This tends to be overemphasized, by children’s toys, crayons, permanent markers, dirty shoes and other objects will damage wooden floors. But parents can be vigilant about keeping these things outside the room. Keep toys confined to a child’s room, and protect the floor in that room with a large rug or other soft covering.

Tracking dirt into the home will always damage floors, carpets included. If we leave shoes at the door, a practice quite common in some cultures, then we keep the floors cleaner. the prevents damage, and it is more hygienic.

Exposure to moisture for any length of time will cause timber to change shape. A timber floor that has a protective coating has some resilience to this, but no timber floors is completely immune to water damage.

Timber floors should swept or vacuumed clean every few days. They can also be cleaned with a damp mop on a weekly basis. Make sure the floor is immediately dried.

Never use steam mops of timber.

The moisture in the air can slowly cause timber floors to change shape. Monitor the humidity levels. Use of air conditioning will keep humidity lower.

This is a real problem. Dogs and cats have claws that can damage the timber surface.

Have the pet’s claws trimmed.

Some extremely hard timbers are far more resilient to damage. Look for timber with a high Janka rating.

This is probably the first thing we should look at when the floor is installed. The legs of furniture will easily scratch and dent timber floors. Use coasters under the legs of all furniture, or put the furniture on a rug.

Timber Flooring Perth

With some basic precautions a timber floor will last for decades. Timber floors are suitable for any room that is not exposed to water.

Engineered Timber Flooring Perth

Gaps in Timber Floors

Gaps in Engineered Timber Flooring Perth

Engineered floors are designed to minimize gaps, but no material will eliminate gaps entirely.

Engineered timber planks are comprised of several layers of different timber. The top layer is chosen entirely for an attractive appearance. The sub-layers are used for stability and strength. These multiple sub-layers are arranged in a criss-cross pattern. The grain of one layer is set 90 degree to the grain in the next layer. This helps improve stability as any expansion in the floor material will not be one direction.

An ordinary piece of timber will expand when exposed to moisture and heat. This expansion will be across the grain. So if the grain runs north to south the expansion will be east and west. A timber floor should be installed to accommodate this inevitable expansion in changing conditions. gaps are left between boards and at the edge of the room to allow some expansion.

The engineered floorboards have much less expansion than solid timber. This is because the expansion inherent in one layer pulls in a different direction to the expansion in the next layer, because the grain run in a different direction. Nonetheless a small amount of expansion will occur.

Reducing expansion problems.

Many installers will insist on leaving the timber to acclimatize in the room for a few days before installing. This means the timber will expand or contract slightly according to the conditions of that particular room. If the room stays roughly under the same conditions the timber boards in the floor should stay roughly the same.

Of course thee will be at least some changes in weather conditions, so the floor will expand and contract slightly. Engineered floors will only suffer slight changes compared to solid timber, but we must still make allowances for this.

We should leave a gap around the edge of the floor to allow expansion. This gap is covered by the skirting board. A 2 cm gap is usually fine.

Individuals floor boards are fairly straight, but never perfectly straight. So the installer should try and match each board so that it fits with the neighboring board; the sides should be neatly parallel. Installers should also leave some slight gap between boards to accommodate expansion. The tongue-and-groove edges on the boards that lock the floor together means the gap will not be deep, not decend to underneath the floor.

Engineered Timber Flooring Perth

Whether floating or fixed to the sub-floor the engineered timber floor will be relatively stable if installed correctly. Using air-conditioning and humidity control will allow the conditions in the house, the temperature and humidity of the air, to be stable, which greatly helps the floor to stay neat and flat.

Engineered Timber Flooring Perth

Engineered Timber Flooring Perth

Engineered Timber Flooring Perth

Solid timber was once the definitive flooring material. And while it remains popular there are other way to achieve a similar look to hardwood flooring, at a much lower cost. Laminate is one option, probably the cheapest. This uses a facsimile image of a wooden surface on a synthetic background. A better option is engineered flooring. This uses real timber, keeping the appearance of more expensive hardwood.

Engineered timber uses a thin veneer of attractive, expensive wood over a plain timber board. This means the floor surface is legitimate hardwood. But as the underlying wood is a cheaper (yet stable) material, so the total cost is significantly reduced.

The top veneer layer of timber is pre-finished; it is sanded, and often stained and sealed. This makes it both ready for installation, and usable immediately after installation. You can walk on the floor as soon as it has been installed, unlike hardwood which needs sanding, staining and sealing. (Some modern hardwood is now also pre-finished).

Advantages of Engineered Timber Flooring Perth

If there is a hardwood floor style that you like, then there is probably an equivalent engineered floor, with a veneer of the same timber on top.

The underlying material of engineered floors are usually high quality plywood. This is several layers of timber joined so that the grain in different layers runs at 90 degree angles. This provides exceptionally high stability and dimensional strength, one of the few things that solid hardwood lacks. So engineered flooring will tolerate any reasonable humidity, water and temperature conditions.

Because Engineered timber boards are pre-cut with tongue and groove edges they are a good option for DIY projects. they easily lock together.

Because of their stability they are a good option for underfloor heating. They are fine as a floating floor.


Engineered wooden floors cannot be repeatedly sanded, or the veneers will be sanded away. They might be sanded one of twice. This is different to solid timber that can be re-sanded a dozen times.

Timber Flooring Perth

Engineered floors offer the best of both worlds – real timber finish at a moderate cost. Consider this in any situation where real timber is the decor style you are looking for.

Questions on Hardwood Floors

Questions on Hardwood Floors

Timber Floors have many advantages over most other flooring materials. timber, along with stone and tile, has been in use for centuries as a flooring materials. Other materials have come and gone, but timber remains popular because it is durable, attractive, and has other advantages.

Durability of Hardwood

Not all types of wood are long lasting, but hardwood manages to last very well. It is fairly resistant to superficial damage (like scratching), and the main structure lasts for decades, if not centuries. Timber flooring will easily last as long as the house does. And if there is superficial damage it can be sanded away. Even a floor that is re-sanded every 10 years will still last for a hundred years.
Look at the Janka hardness ranking of any timber used for flooring. the higher the Janka number the harder the wood. A Janka number of 10 is considered very hard. Even 7 is quite good for a long lasting floor.

Should I replace timber floors?

Unless there is bad flood damage a timber floor should not need replacing. It should last for decades. Have the floor sanded if there is superficial damage.
Some soft timber floors, like pine, might need replacing after a few decades. But as this is inexpensive material so the investment and replacement cost are moderate. And it should still last several decades.

What about pets?

Pets have claws that can scratch most floor materials. But hardwood is largely immune to this. Where pets claws will quickly ruin carpet, or vinyl, hardwood suffered little, if any damage.
Pets can be declawed, or trained to scratch a post. This prevents damage to any floor.


where carpets will harbor allergens, dust mites and other contaminants, hardwood has virtually no problems. If a hardwood floor is swept or vacuumed weekly there will be no allergen problems.

How long does timber floor re-sanding and polishing take?

re-sanding only takes a day or two, even for a large house.
adding a polyurethane coating can take a few days. the coating takes time to dry, and several layers are needed. Water based polyurethane can have several coats applied in a day, if the weather/humidity is mild. And it will be ready to walk on a day or two later.
Polishing can be done is a single day.

Laminate Flooring Perth

Laminate combines the best properties of several materials to produce attractive and durable flooring.

Laminate has a great advantage in imitating the appearance of wood, stone or almost any other material.

Structure of laminate flooring Perth


The appearance of laminate comes from the photorealistic layer beneath the top surface. It is this layer that imitates the appearance of wooden timber flooring, but it can imitate tiles, stone, or other material if required. The only disadvantage to the photorealistic appearance is that it cannot be changed – you cannot stain or colour the laminate.

Top protection.

The top surface of laminate is a hard protective coating. This is fairly durable, protecting the appearance of the floor. But it is not indestructible, so furniture needs to be separated from the floor with coasters of felt pads. This precaution should also be taken on timber and other floors.

Main layer

The main structure of laminate is either fibreboard or melamine resin. These are fairly ridged and stable materials. They are unlikely to warp or bend unless that are on an unstable surface.

Use of Laminate

Laminate is a type of flooring that can be put over a subfloor like cement. If the cement subfloor is stable and flat the laminate can be installed with minimal trouble.

Laminate has tongue and groove edges that neatly lock together. This makes installation quite simple, ideal for DIY projects.

Because laminate is quite stable there is no need to provide gaps between the planks. Gaps are needed in some other flooring materials to accommodate expansion and contraction. But laminates is almost completely free from this.

Laminate often has antimicrobial additives to prevent microbe infections.

Laminate is great for a DIY subfloor project.


Cuts of Wood

Wood can be cut from a tree in many different way. Different means of cutting the tree will alter the strength of the timber planks produced and give different grain patterns. The different cutting methods will produce different amounts of wasted wood.
Flat Saw.
Timber can be cut from a log in parallel planks.
Little wastage of timber.
The quality of the timber varies. A plank cut through the centre of the tree will have good quality grain and near optimal strength. Planks from the top and bottom of the log will tend to have poor grain, minimal strength and be a less width.

Quarter Saw
Timber is cut from the outside of the tree (the bark) towards the centre.
The grain pattern and strength of the timber planks is consistently good for all the planks
There is a moderate amount of wastage, which might be used to make chipboard (particle board)

The best quality timber planks can be used for polish wooden furniture and flooring. The lower quality timber, which may simply have unattractive grain patterns, can be painted and used for furnishings, window sill, doors. Or left unpainted and used for internal framework

Timber Flooring Perth
Timber floors use good quality hardwood. This has attractive grain patterns, and can last for decades under reasonable conditions.



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.



Wooden Tile Flooring Perth

Even if the name is unfamiliar most of us have seen parquet flooring. Parquet consists of wooden floor tiles arranged in geometric patterns. This is an elegant style of flooring seen in classic churches, hotel lobbies, fine reception halls and ballrooms.

The patterns in parquet flooring range from simple rectangles tiles to complex geometric patterns. The simple floor tiles can easily be ordered and installed, though they require more skill than timber planks. Complex patterns are usually custom made for a particular floor. These complex patterns may even be a mosaic picture with a theme appropriate to the specific church or building.

Simple parquet patterns include checker board, herringbone, and basket weave. These are usually one type of wood, with maple, walnut, wenge, cherry, teak, and beech being popular. A few high end Basketball courts use hard maple parquet.

Complex parquet floor use a variety of a variety of different woods to form their pattern.

Timber Flooring Perth

Parquet floors are as robust as most quality timber floors. But even the best woods are not immune to all damage. Parquet floors that are heavily worn can be re-sanded to restore their original timber appearance.

An advantage of parquet floors, as with any tiled surface, is that an individual tile can be replaced if damaged. This prevents the need of renovating the entire floor.


Cleaning Engineered laminate

Laminate Flooring Perth

Engineered, laminated floors are different to more traditional hardwood floors. The individual floorboards are made of several layers of wood. This multilayer design produces floorboards that are very stable and fairly strong; it also allows a thin top layer of fine wood chosen for an attractive appearance.

The top veneer of an engineered floor provides the attractive finish. As long as this is not compromised the floor will last for decades. Avoid anything that will cause wear to this top veneers, such as abrasive cleaning methods.

Laminate cannot be re-sanded, the top veneer is too thin and will wear away.

Engineered Timber Flooring Perth

Floors made of engineered floorboards lock together neatly with the ‘tongue and groove’ edges. This makes the floor reasonably easy to install, and the tight connections produce a fairly watertight seal. Of course no timber is completely waterproof.

Engineered floorboards are unlikely to warp or bend under normal conditions. If warping or bending does occur there is an extreme moisture problem. All timber flooring will be damaged by long term flooding.

Cleaning Timber Flooring Perth

  • Floors can be swept with a light broom
  • Occasional mopping is recommended. Use hot water and a damp mop. Add some mild detergent if the floor is especially dirty.
  • Spot clean any stains with vinegar or window cleaner, then immediately clean this with hot water.
  • Vacuuming with a brush attachment is a good cleaning option.
  • Avoid steam cleaners and steam mops. They might cause damage to the wood.
  • If the floor seems to retain dirt and grime then there may be soap scum on the surface. This causes dirt to stick to the floor. Try removing this soap scum by mopping with diluted vinegar in hot water.


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.

7118 Jarrah look

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.


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