Solid wood flooring is as popular as carpeting now, not just for its looks and elegance, but for its hard-wearing nature and its practicality. If you’re thinking of ripping out your old carpets and replacing them with wood then you need to make sure you’re settling on the right sort of timber
It’s not just an aesthetic choice, because you need to make sure that your floor is tough enough to withstand whatever happens in the room it’s in.
Here’s a walkthrough of the most popular woods for flooring.
Oak is as traditional as it gets. It’s been used for flooring since the 1600s and is the timber we probably imagine (whether we realise it or not) when we think of old wooden floors.
It has neutral shades, which makes it versatile for all sorts of colour schemes and styles. Oak doesn’t have a strong graining – just the occasional knot and some slight shade changes, so it blends well with anything while having its own character.
As oak is often cheaper than other hardwoods, you can’t go far wrong with it.
Walnut is darker than oak and has a more luxurious look and feel to it. However, it works well in both sumptuous and minimalist homes. You can treat it with oil for a rustic finish, or with a lacquer for a more modern high gloss appearance.
This wood works well in larger rooms as its darkness brings the walls closer in, preventing an abandoned, sparse feeling to a space. However, walnut isn’t one of the harder woods, so it’s best for light traffic areas like bedrooms and dining rooms.
A bit more adventurous than walnut or oak, acacia has high-contrast graining and lots of shading, even within the same tree. None of your boards will look alike and so you can really make an impact with this wood.
With almost 1,000 different acacia species, you can choose from lots of different shades – reds, deep browns, lighter browns and gold – to work with any palette you choose.
Although the pedants will remind you that bamboo is actually a grass, the stems of this endlessly versatile plant do everything that hardwood does and more besides.
Bamboo flooring offers greater structural stability and also water resistance, which makes it suitable for bathrooms and kitchens. This material is also brilliant for the environmentally-conscious as bamboo regrows just weeks after harvesting, completely cutting out worries about sustainability. It’s also very stylish and distinctive.