Timber Flooring

Integra Direct have a wide selection of premium engineered timber flooring for all homes.

These wonderful wood floors are constructed with a pre-finished layer of real timber on top.

This is bonded to a base constructed of a plantation timber or plywood.

They are usually installed as a floating floor over an acoustic underlay but can also be glued to the floor.

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More on Timber Flooring

You can choose click lock planks which are easier and quicker to install, or the traditional tongue’n’groove system.

Engineered timber flooring presents the home owner an economic, fast and non-messy option for real timber floor.

The low environmental impact of  these floors ensure that the worlds’ natural resources do not suffer.

What is Engineered Timber flooring?

This is the general term for a manufactured plank constructed with a layer of a pre-finished feature timber veneer on top of a stable base material.

The planks are joined with either a click-lock system or a conventional tongue and groove joint.

They vary in thickness from 8mm to 32mm thick and generally the thicker the plank, the thicker the timber layer.

They require the foam underlay to absorb minor irregularities in the subfloor and remove the contact sound between the plank and the subfloor.

Does size matter?

The plank thickness certainly affects price and the thicker the plank the more solid it sounds and feels underfoot.

These top veneer layers vary from 0.5mm to 6mm.

Veneers below 2mm generally cannot be mechanically sanded back but can be recoated when required.

With great care and the right equipment, thicker veneers can be sanded back and recoated a number of times. (see What does maintenance involve? Below)

How is this kind of flooring laid?

They are commonly installed over a thin foam underlay as a “floating” floor.

Self-locking planks are clicked together without the need for adhesive. Tongue and Groove planks will need to be adhered together with a thin bead of water-based latex glue.

Where there is a chance of moisture rising out of the subfloor, an impervious plastic membrane is required.

These sheets must be continuously taped and ideally run up the wall to the same height as the finished floor.

The locked “raft” of flooring will expand and contract and needs a 5 -20mm expansion gap around all walls and fittings (as per supplier’s instructions).

Mid-floor expansion joints will be required at doorways and across the width of large areas. Cutting is done by handsaw or power saws

Is there an advantage to laying as a click floor?

Yes and no. The click-lock system is quicker to install and easier for the DIYers.

The click flooring can be disconnected and relayed, and single mid-floor planks replaced with less effort.

Experienced professional installers handle both systems easily but may charge slightly more for tongue’n’groove as it does require gluing together, taking a bit more time.

Different manufactures have different joining systems such as Premium’s Uniclic® Multifit system.

How does the click lock and tongue’n’groove differ once laid?

Basically, they feel the same underfoot. Being glued together, tongue’n’groove planks are locked more solidly together so there is less joint movement.

Click-lock planks exhibit minor movement in the joints and on some occasions a slight squeak may emanate under foot, especially if the subfloor is undulating.

Why glue down your floor?

Most commercial installations will specify complete stick down and some residential owners will require this as well.

The installation cost is certainly higher, but the main advantage is that a glued down floor will sound less hollow underfoot and joint-squeak is virtually eliminated.

They can also be sanded back more easily. Expansion gaps will still be required.

How are expansion gaps and joints covered?

Fitting skirting, quads or matching scotia trims after the flooring has been completed, will usually take care of the perimeter expansion gaps.

If skirting thickness is not enough, plasterboard may be cut away to allow expansion past the skirting.

Expansion joints will require a metal “H” or “T” trim, or similar, fastened to the subfloor. This will allow movement of flooring on both sides.

How flat must the floor be before starting?

This kind of flooring is quite rigid and will need a fairly flat floor. Manufacturers all have different guidelines that must be followed, but a maximum of 3mm undulation over 1.5m is a good guide.

Ramping is only possible if extremely gradual or if separated with an expansion joint and trim.

The flatter the floor, the more consistent footsteps will sound, and the less flex will be noticed.

High points and hollows should be fixed as they create stress points that can eventually lead to failure and dislocation of the joint.

Floors may slope away but this is hard to determine and acceptable by Australian Standards and most supplier’s guidelines.

What subfloors can be laid over?

Almost every type of domestic subfloor can have this type of floor laid over.

Installers should ensure that any subfloor is smooth, dry, flat and use a straight edge to locate undulations greater than 3mm over 2m, which must be attended to.

Edges and lipping commonly found in tiled or particle-board floors may require grinding or sanding. Timber floors must be solid and secure.

Securely glued vinyl sheet, vinyl planks or cork flooring can also be installed over if floated.

Gluing Engineered Timber flooring to an intermediate layer may fail and may also void your product warranty.

Let Integra Directs’ experienced experts take the worry out of this when your home is inspected.

Integra Direct can also guide DIYers with all the information and products to give their projects a professional finish.

In what patterns and styles does it come in?

Most Australians are purchasing either Australian timbers or one of the many classic oaks from around the world.

It is worth checking the surface texture of your flooring. Smooth surfaces may be easier to wipe clean, but they may be slippery and show marks more than an oak with a natural grain texture.

These oaks seem to age gracefully and so require less maintenance than the smoother finished floors. Even herringbone oaks are available in the engineered format.

Rustic and strong naturally featured timbers can add a classic charm to your home, or you may prefer the perfection of A and B graded floors that exhibit few natural features.

Why are there shorter planks in the packs?

Most packs will contain “nested” planks which means a few ½, ¾ or ¼ length planks will be included. This should be checked with the sales team so there are no surprises.

Manufacturers find it environmentally sound to reduce wastage by using as much of the plank as they can during manufacture.

The shortest ends are used as row-starters or in wardrobes.

Larger ‘under-length’ planks are used in smaller or less important areas, but they should always be mixed with full length planks for the most natural finish.

How water-proof is this kind of floor?

This varies depending on the construction method, materials and coating systems.

Highly water-resistant plywood bases and commonly used Havea (Indonesian plantation timber) can tolerate reasonable exposure to water.

The latest technologies are combining the new water-proof Hybrid cores with real wood veneers and a high-grade cork acoustic backing.

One of these is Omniflor and it has a polyurethane wrap protecting the wood from moisture.

What causes cupping and bowing of boards?

In one word: MOISTURE! Ambient dryness may cause your flooring surface to dry and contract causing boards to bow.

Moisture under the floor can do the same. Surface moisture can cause expansion, so the planks bow upwards.

Keeping temperatures and relative humidity levels under control is important for your engineered timber floor.

Cupped or bowed boards should be immediately addressed, and the manufacturers can often assist with this.

Note that seriously buckling floors are usually caused by other factors such as insufficient expansion allowance or water damage.

What does maintenance involve?

Regular sweeping, vacuuming and damp mopping is required. Preventing scratching and gouging with grit or sharp objects is essential.

Use entry mats and leave shoes at the front door if possible, as imbedded stones and sharp heels can indent timber.

Conditioners like Bona’s Wood Floor Cleaner are great for spot cleaning and general rejuvenation of light scratches.

If the surface coating is getting scratched or worn through, it may be time to clear the room and sand the room ready for a recoat.

Hand sanding the surface layer is recommended before applying a new coating. Note that sanding the surface coating off will revert to the base timber and the original colour and texture may be lost.

Staining is an option and should first be trialled on a spare plank or in an inconspicuous part of the floor.

Mechanical sanding is only recommended if the timber layer is at least 4mm thick and the floor is glued down.

What are the advantages of Engineered Timber flooring?

Installation without adhesive allows these floors to be installed over certain subfloors where stick-down flooring would either fail or require very expensive floor preparation.

Flat tile floors can have the floor laid directly over with minimal preparation.

The fact that it is real timber gives a quality look with no pattern repeat. Timbers are warm to walk or lie on making it great for kid’s areas.

They are relatively easy to install yourself without specialist tools and tradesman’s experience.

What are the disadvantages of this kind of flooring?

All floating floors such as Laminates and Hybrids must have joints supported underneath and can lose integrity if constantly flexing, meaning that the subfloor requirements are higher than, say, Loose Lay vinyl flooring or any floor that is being glued to the floor.

These floors require expansion gaps and covers along the perimeters and expansion joints may be required in larger areas.

Vertical movement may be noticed, and creaking sounds may emanate from joint movement due to foot traffic or just thermal contraction. The clacking sound when walking over a floated floor is not for those looking for quietness under foot.

To allow normal expansion and contraction, your floor cannot be “anchored” down by heavy items like pianos, slate pool table etc.

Depending on the level of water-resistance provided by the flooring, wet-mopping, pet accidents, leaks or spillages can cause swelling, buckling or peaking.

This means that wet mopping is not an option. Replacing a damaged plank is tricky and may stand out once repaired.

Generally, the maintenance and care level is higher than any other flooring.

Talk to the guys at Integra Direct to determine if it is suitable for your home.

In what areas of my home can it be installed?

As there is no truly “water-proof” wood floor, they are not commonly installed in areas such as toilets, laundries and bathrooms.

They are more suited to bedrooms, lounge and dining rooms. Protection from moisture and dropped utensils is recommended if installing in a kitchen or any area likely to get damp.

You should limit exposure to your floor from over-watered or leaking pot plants, and leaking pipes or toilets.

It is worth considering new tech products such as Omniflor which has a water-proof base with a Polyurethane envelope protecting its timber veneer.

Omniflor can withstand excesses of moisture extremely well, so is used in wet areas as well as through entire homes.

How long will it last?

All real timbers need more effort than the synthetics to keep their amazing appearance. The better the care and maintenance, the longer the flooring will last.

Ultimately, abrasive wear, water-damage from excessive exposure to moisture and change of colour will affect the appearance.

The use of window coverings or awnings, and sanding back and recoating can take care or some of these issues.

They can last well over 25 years, but it comes back to the environment and the buyer’s expectations.

What if I damage my New floor?

Clearly, all timber floors can be damaged and dragging heavy fridges or furniture without protective pads has been known to cause surface marks, scratches and gouging.

If rejuvenation with Bona’s conditioner is not enough, sanding, re-staining and recoating may work, although this will stand out.

Optionally, one or more planks can be removed, and new planks fastened into place.

This is tricky but may be done by a handy-person or call Integra Direct for a service call by one of our professional installers.

We recommend spare material be purchased and stored completely flat to ensure matching flooring is available throughout the life span of your floor.

How much should I pay for this type of floor?

Generally, price is a great indicator of quality when buying a timber floor.

Thicker timber layers and heavier coatings will increase the price. Expect to pay a little more for click – lock technology as opposed to tongue’n’groove.

Large or bulk orders will attract better pricing.

Textured and stained surfaces and smaller parquetry planks used for herringbone are obviously dearer.

Oaks are more commonly used world-wide so these will be cheaper than Australian timbers.

Within the Australian selections the ‘Blackbutt’ and ‘Spotted Gum’ will be priced below the harder to source Jarrahs and Sydney Bluegums.

As a general guide 12mm Aussies and Oaks start around $60 – $70/sqm, Omniflor is low $70s and then there are a wide range from mid $70s right past $100.